Tim Scheidler

TIM SCHEIDLER, who's been with us since June 2011, holds a Master's Degree in Popular Literature from Trinity College Dublin. Tim enjoys many authors, but particularly loves J.R.R. Tolkien, Robin Hobb, George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Susanna Clarke. When he’s not reading, Tim enjoys traveling, playing music, writing in any shape or form, and pretending he's an athlete.

Sunday Status Update: July 14, 2019

Lots more fun books this week!

Jana: This coming week I’ll be starting Mercedes Lackey’s The Hills Have Spies, the first volume in the FAMILY SPIES trilogy within the larger VALDEMAR universe, so that I can understand what’s going on in Eye Spy, the just-published second volume. I haven’t read any of Lackey’s work before, but I’m well aware that she’s widely considered to be a cornerstone of the fantasy genre, so I’m curious to see how I respond to her style. Reviews of other books are forthcoming, albeit more slowly than I would prefer. Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 7, 2019

A belated happy Independence Day to our American readers, and a great collection of summer reads!

KatNow that my freshmen are getting the hang of things, I was able to consume a few books this week: Bewitched and Betrothed is the newest book in Juliet Blackwell’s WITCHCRAFT MYSTERIES. These are so good in audio format. In The Shadow of Spindrift House was a creepy little Lovecraftian work by Mira Grant. Also ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 30, 2019

Another week, more fun books!


JanaThis week I waited for new glasses to arrive; I finally admitted to myself that experiencing constant eyestrain-related headaches and just scooting my monitor closer are not long-term solutions to everything becoming increasingly blurry. So while I can still read books in short spurts if I hold them just so, and I can get reviews written by hand, I’m spending less time at the computer than I would like. It is...frustrating, to say the least. I finished Mira Grant’s In the Shadow of Spindrift House and read
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Sunday Status Update: June 23, 2019

Plenty more fun books this week!

Bill: This week my one full book was an excellent look at the use of remote sensing in science, Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past  by Sarah Parcak.  I made a second attempt at Tide of Stone by Kaaron Warren, but only got a bit more than a third of the way in before giving it up once more.  In shorter works, I took a look at several Hugo retro works: short stories by Asimov, Bradbury, and C.L. Moore, as well as a novella by Moore and husband Henry Kuttner, Clash by Night.  Finally,  I’ve almost finished This is How You Lose the Time War by Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar. In video, ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 16, 2019

As summer goes on, we're reading some new books.

Bill: This week I read a solid alien contact novel — The Lesson by Cadwell Turnbull, an absolutely captivating look at the explorations and ramifications of the Greenland ice sheet — The Ice at the End of the World by Jon Gertner, and an interesting but at times too detailed look at the impact of discovering carbon 14 — Hot Carbon: Carbon 14 and a Revolution in Science by John F. Marra. In video, I watched the last few episodes of season four of The Magicians, and the finale absolutely broke me (in a good way).  I’m not only still thinking of it days later; I’m still watching it (my son walked in last night and asked, “how many times have you watched that scene now?”)

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Sunday Status Update: June 9, 2019

Another week, and we're still reading plenty of fun books!

Bill: This week I continued through some Locus nominees, reading The Quantum Magician by Derek Künsken, If Tomorrow Comes by Nancy Kress, and my personal favorite among them, the historical fiction The Hunger by Alma Katsu about the Donner Party. I started Tide of Stone by Kaaron Warren, but only gave it about 60 pages before stopping (the voice just didn’t do it for me), though I’ll probably give it one more shot. I also read Oliver Morton’s mostly excellent non-fiction work, The Moon: A History for the Future, which offers up fascinating details on the Moon itself but also explores future missions, both near-term (landers) an... Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 2, 2019

Another week, more books!

Bill: This week I read several Locus nominees:  The Red-Stained Wings by Elizabeth Bear, Ahab’s Return by Jeffrey Ford, and In the Night Wood by Dale Bailey. In TV, my son and I are still enjoying The Magicians season four, and I’ ambout three-quarters of the way through Cloak and Dagger season two, which is a bit more uneven in the latter half but I’m still mostly impressed by.

Kat: My mom broke her foot so I was out of town helping her this week and only got one book read: Paul Tremblay's The Cabin at the End of the World, which is a Locus finalist for Best Horror Novel. I'm not much of a horror reader, so keep that in mind when I say that I didn't love the book. The audio version was especially disappointing. Te... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 26, 2019

Plenty of books this week!

Bill: This week I read several of the Locus short fiction nominees as well as a pair of nominated YA novels: The Gone Away Place by Christopher Barzak and Half-Witch by John Schoffstall. I’m also half-way through The Red-Stained Wings by Elizabeth Bear, book two of her LOTUS KINGDOMS series.  Not much genre viewing save for an episode of The Magicians, as I’m binging Deadwood (just as great the second time around) in preparation for the upcoming movie.

Jana: This week I didn't really have time to read or write, which was a bummer. I planted some teeny-teeny-tiny saplings in my backyard, helped my neighbors clean up fallen branches after an early-week sn... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 19, 2019

We read some fun books this week!

Bill: This week I read Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Moon, which had some good ideas but overall was disappointing; read a good if not great collection of essays, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, by  Rebecca Solnit; and my son and I listened to Isaac Asimov’s classic Foundation and Empire on our way to a college visit.  We’ll finish with Second Foundation on another visit in two weeks. In other media, we’re working our way through The Magicians Season Four  and continuing to love it. On the other side of the spectrum, we keep ranting about the penultimate episode of GoT and how we, um, didn't love it. Finally, we're also slowly but happily continuing with The X-Files and are no... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 12, 2019

Happy Mother's Day!

Bill: No genre books this week. Instead, I read The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair — a quick tour of the histories of individual colors that I wish had slowed down a bit more.  I also read Atlas of a Lost World by Craig Childs, which explores how the first people may have arrived in the New World during the Paleolithic. It’s also an engaging travelogue as Childs himself hikes across a portion of the Harding Icefield, canoes up the Yukon, or flees a pair of wolves in Siberia near the Bering Land Bridge. And I continue to listen to The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years by Robert M. Hazen.

Jana: This week was another good, productive week. (I could get used to this! I won't, but I could.) I rea... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 5, 2019

Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone!

Bill: This week I read The Seventh Decimate and The War Within by Stephen R. Donaldson, with book one sorely disappointing and book two a bit better; the informative if a bit flat The American Museum of Natural History and How it Got That Way by Colin Davey; and an entertaining history/memoir of the family road trip by Richard Ratay entitled appropriately enough Don’t Make Me Pull Over.  In audio The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years by Robert M. Hazen has picked up stylistically, with a great chapter on the formation of the moon and the Hadean Age of Earth. In video we’re all still lingering over the joy of Avengers: Endgame (trip two this week), and my son and I finally started Ma... Read More

Sunday Status Update: April 28, 2019

Lots of great books this week!

Bill: This week I read Guy Gavriel Kay’s fantastic A Brightness Long Ago, which was just as compelling and moving as when I read it the first time two weeks ago.  I also read Tad Williams’ Empire of Grass, an excellent if overlong continuation of his OSTEN ARD series.  In media, what a weekend.  The family and I saw Avengers: Endgame and despite some quibbles, I would have happily stayed straight through the following showing. And GoT’s night battle we all thought wonderfully tense, though the issues were more substantial in this one. I also watched The Magicians season 3 finale, which had a great ending, and I’m looking forward to watching Season 4 after postponing doing so to watch with my son. In audio, I finished Mark Miodownik... Read More

Sunday Status Update: April 21, 2019

Happy Easter from FanLit!

Bill: Into the grading silly season this week and next, but I did read Guy Gavriel Kay’s newest, A Brightness Long Ago. Review to come shortly but c’mon, it’s Kay—could it be anything but full of grace, craft, and beauty?  I also finished Human Errors by Nathan H. Lents, a quick (even slight at times) look at all the ways the human body could have been designed better. In audio,  I’ve neared the end, sadly,  of Mark Miodownik’s  excellent Liquid Rules: The Delightful and Dangerous Substances That Flow Through Our Lives. On video, my son and I reached the wonderful “Under Pressure” rendition of The Magicians, Season Three and wrapped up season two of The X-Files. I also finished Sabrina’s second ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: April 14, 2019

Plenty more fun books on the docket this week!

Bill: This week I read the quietly engaging A Boy and His Dog at the end of the World by C.A. Fletcher; Scott Westerfeld’s Imposters (actually read last week), a solid but more YA and less satisfying return to the world of Uglies; and I’m currently in the midst of Human Errors by Nathan H. Lents, a light but interesting look at all the design flaws in our bodies (though he has yet to get to the one that prevents me from eating all the ice cream I want.). On audio, I continue to listen to the ever-entertaining and informative Liquid Rules: The Delightful and Dangerous Substances That Flow Through Our Lives, by Mark Miodownik. In media my son and I added one more episode each to our watch/rewatch of The Ma... Read More

Sunday Status Update: April 7, 2019

We're reading some great books this week!

Bill: This week I took advantage of a momentary lull between papers to read the eighth EXPANSE book, Tiamat’s Wrath, by James S.A. Corey (keeps this great series humming along) as well as Philip Reeve’s Station Zero, the strong conclusion to his excellent YA trilogy that began with Railhead. Outside the genre  I read (or reread since many were familiar) Seamus Heaney’s 100 Poems. On audio I’m currently listening to the engagingly informative Liquid Rules: The Delightful and Dangerous Substances That Flow Through Our Lives (the book itself is delightful). In media my son and I are into the third season of The Magicians, a show that impresses even more on a rewatch. And I confess to s... Read More

Slayer: It slays, more or less (I’m sorry)

Slayer by Kiersten White

According to whom you ask, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is either a campy, inexplicably popular teen drama from the 90s, or it's some of the best television ever made. Not to say that the show can't be both, because in fact it is. The karate kicks and monster makeup one step up from Halloween masks were corny even for the time, and I for one would never have expected a show with such a — let's face it — silly premise to acquire a fan following so strong that it has persisted for over twenty years.

But Buffy was also great television, and that made all the difference. Some of it looks dated today, certainly, when we're spoiled for well-written prestige shows, but even so there remains something unique and special in the story of a peppy girl and her friends saving the world after school hours. The writing is sharp and the schlocky horror is fun, but where Buffy really shines is in... Read More

Sunday Status Update: March 31, 2019

As March draws to a close, we have plenty more books on the docket!

Kat: The worst part of my semester is behind me and now I am making myself get off the computer and relax by 8:00pm every night, so I'm getting more reading done. I've joined a jigsaw puzzle swap club, so each night, if there's nothing else going on, I work on a puzzle and listen to an audiobook. This week I read these books: The Face in the Frost by John Bellairs (an amusing fantasy classic), In the Vanisher's Palace by  Read More

Sunday Status Update: March 24, 2019

We have some more books in the pipeline this week. Check them out!

Bill: This week I read the quite good A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine and continue to listen the fantastic Heart: A History by Sandeep Jauhar. In media, I rewatched the last  Avengers movie because I can only watch the trailers for Endgameso many times, and I’ve been watching a few episodes a night of Netflix’s new anthology series, Love, Death, & Robots, which is (typical of anthologies) a mixed bag so far, with I’d say only one or two stellar ones that combine story and art at a high level, though most aren’t “bad,” just sort of “meh.”

Marion: I finished Arabella of Mars b... Read More

Sunday Status Update: March 17, 2019

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Bill: This week I read Seth Fried’s The Municipalists (a disappointing debut) and the brief but always interesting non-fiction book Around the World in 80 Trees by Jonathan Drori and illustrated (in truly lovely fashion) by Lucille Clerc. In media, I wholly enjoyed Captain Marvel, even if one of its iconic moments was right out of Buffy (maybe it was an homage . . .). Great rapport between Larson and Jackson, good action and humor, some nicely intimate scenes — Marvel keeps rolling. And yes, I got choked up at the opening roll. Currently, I’m reading A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (so far so good) and rereading some Merwin in gratitude and sadness.

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Sunday Status Update: March 10, 2019

We're reading some brand new books this week. Take a peek!

Bill: Not a lot of reading lately thanks to piles ‘o papers and sundry deadlines. But I did finish Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James, with mixed feelings as the end result. I also read a genial novella, The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djeli Clark.  And I’m currently listening to Heart: A History by Sandeep Jauhar, a fascinating mix of memoir and scientific/medical history. In media, I’ve been rewatching The Magicianand confirming just why I love it (look for some upcoming commentary from Marion and me on the show).  Meanwhile, The Gifted, which has been mostly disappointing this second season, redeemed itself a b... Read More

Sunday Status Update: March 3, 2019

We're reading lots of fun books this week!

Kat: I'm reading Tad WilliamsOVERLAND quartet which has been on my TBR list for years. I've read the first two books, City of Golden Shadow and River of Blue Fire, and am about halfway through the third book, Mountain of Black Glass. I love the premise and the characters. The plot is super cool. However, it moves sooooo slowly. The story doesn't need to be this long. Reviews are coming soon.

Marion: I'm two-thirds o... Read More

Sunday Status Update: February 24, 2019

Plenty more books on the docket this week!

Jana: This week I'm reading Ann Leckie's upcoming fantasy novel, The Raven Tower, which pairs an intriguing story (a young highborn man returns home to find his father has mysteriously vanished and his uncle has taken the seat of power for himself, but there's so much more to it than what I just described) with the insightful ruminations on society, language, and culture/ritual that I've come to expect from Leckie. There are some unexpected stylistic choices framing the story itself, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all comes... Read More

Sunday Status Update: February 17, 2019

Looking for something to read? Here's what we're looking at...

Marion: I read Robin Sloan’s delightful Sourdough this week. Kat reviewed it here, but I may add a few comments. The book was even more fun for me because I’ve been to some of the locations used, like the Ferry Terminal’s farmers market or the island of Alameda. I loved the “Lois Club,” and it’s pretty clear that one particular character was inspired by Alice Waters of Berkeley’s Chez Panisse fame. I also finished another dark, atmospheric and weird  Read More

Sunday Status Update: February 10, 2019

Plenty of fun new books on the docket this week!

Bill: This week I read two solid middle-of-the-road fantasies: Gates of Stone by Angus Macallan and Early Riser by Jasper Fforde.  On audio I finally finished Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Our Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky, which I’m putting on my best of 2018 list retroactively — so good I bought the Kindle version in addition to the Audible version so I can reread it and take/save notes.

Brad: This week I read The Last Day in Vietnam by Will Eisner and an excellent crime comic collection called Murder Book by Ed Brisson. I also reread E... Read More

Companions on the Road: One is good, one is great

Companions on the Road by Tanith Lee

I'm a big fan of Tanith Lee. Like many great fantasy writers, Lee understood that to truly transport a reader, it's not enough to talk about dragons or swords or magic systems. Readers are transported just as much or more by the way these things are talked about. Lee's work has that eerie, otherworldly feel that characterizes the best works of this genre. She could make a story about a squirrel looking for nuts feel like something dredged from a forgotten and more romantic epoch. And sometimes, that's… well, more or less what she did. Lee's writing has sparked life into many prosaic ideas. But where she really showed her mettle was when she settled onto an idea worthy of her.

With that said, Companions on the Road (at least as it presently exists) is a compilation work ... Read More

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