Status Update

Every Sunday Tim compiles a report about what we read the week before. For most of the books we mention, you can expect a review soon.

Sunday Status Update: August 12, 2016

This week, Drizzt reflects on living in a Dungeons and Dragons universe.

Drizzt: This week, I set out on a quest again. Ah, I am reminded of the simple pleasures of the campaigning life! The many pleasant hours spent in travel with boon companions! The conversations with the stout-hearted but bluffly parochial villagers! The countless philosophical debates over the nature of a short rest versus a long one. The inevitable band of goblins that's lying in wait at the start of every new journey. The way the paladin keeps doing things that might seem manifestly stupid only to claim that he is only remaining true to his "alignment." The irritating way trained warriors occasionally fail a basic attack for absolutely no reason, and neither height nor weight seems to have any bearing on one's ability to wield an enormous two-handed sword. Ah, friends, is there anything better?

... Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 14, 2016

This week, Conan suffers an accusation that hits him right where he lives.

Conan: I am a Cimmerian. I hail from a land of rain and storm, of shadow and deep night. My boyhood beds were of pine boughs, and my boyhood toys the keen sword and good ash spear. I have scant interest in the niceties of the civilized world, weak and timorous as it so often is. It is nigh impossible to offend me. But this week, I have encountered something which I cannot bear, which strikes at the very heart of my pride. This week, I was accused of taking certain magical chemicals and powders whereby to artificially enhance my strength and athletic prowess. At first, I tried to laugh these rumors off, but it has become a scandal -- I cannot say how -- and I have found myself a pariah in my own court. Folk say that no man could be as strong as I am without "doping." And admittedly, it may seem unlikely for any man, h... Read More

Sunday Status Updates: August 7, 2016

This week, Peter Pan continues his journey through the modern era.

Peter: Stopped into someplace called the Disney store this week. I don't know why, but it turns out Tinker Bell is more popular than me. She's got about a gazillion movies, and she's on all these shirts and things. I don't understand it, but I'll bet this is Tink's doing somehow. If she wasn't dead, I'd get her back for this. So anyway, I asked one of the people working there, and he said it was because I was a "Disney prince" and "literally no one cares about the Disney princes." He said I was lucky I even got named onscreen, because half of them never were. So I chopped the head off the weird demon mouse statue, and crowed, and flew off. Doing things like that used to make me feel better, didn't they?

Brad: This week I finished, and loved, ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 31, 2016

This week, Ron.

Ron: This week, I got accidentally fried by a spell four times, tripped over fourteen separate things, and received eighteen condescending tongue-lashings from professors. If Hermione did so much as one of those things, she'd be devastated, but I just keep on trucking. Then Luna Lovegood came along and told me that I was obviously the butt-monkey of the group. I have no idea what she's talking about, but she seemed to find it amusing. Is that what I am? Is that my purpose in life? I'm just the buffoon? The guy who lightens the mood so Harry can keep brooding and Hermione can keep winning everything? It's really... [the rest of the diary entry is unreadable, as Ron at this point upset the ink jar with his elbow, to general amusement in the Gryffindor common room].

Jana: This past week I wr... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 24, 2016

This week, Kvothe, with minor spoilers from The Wise Man's Fear.

Kvothe: This week, I brought all that money from the bandits back to Maer Alveron. Quite a triumphant return, except for the part where I was clapped in irons and jailed. It turns out that when I basically fled the country for a month with the tax revenue for a large part of Vintas, the Maer assumed the worst. Which is... uh... yeah, okay, even I have to admit that in retrospect that's not an unreasonable reaction. I tried to explain how I had to go off and learn martial arts, but nobody seemed particularly impressed for some reason.

Brad: This week I've enjoyed some great books recently recommended to me by Sandy, Marion, and Bill. I'm halfway through Witch World by Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 10, 2016

Character update on break this week.

Marion: I finished Icon by Genevieve Valentine, the second book in her FACES trilogy. I think she has invented a new subgenre. It got off to a slower start for than the first book, Persona, did, but I definitely liked it.  I also read an ARC of Robert Brockway’s horror thriller The Empty Ones. That was a white-knuckle thrill ride! Still making my way through The Body Keeps the Score, about PTSD, by Bessel van de Kolk, and starting to read various sort stories in manuscript for my writers conference the first week of August. I also read How to Talk to Girls at Parties, the graphic novel based on Neil Gaiman’s short story, illustrated by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba. It is stunning.

Ryan: This wee... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 3, 2016

This week, Captain America, in honor of it being almost Independence Day in the USA.

Captain America: Despite what you all may be expecting, I would like to take this time, this year, to honor not only Americans but also our esteemed adversaries in the Revolutionary War. We've had our differences over the years, but at the end of the day we share a bond. And that bond means that you still have our backs, even today. So I just wanted to thank the United Kingdom, on behalf of America, for taking all scrutiny off of our general political silliness for a few weeks. We appreciate it, and don't worry... we'll return the favor and take the heat off you in short order. The conventions are coming up. No, don't thank us. That's what friends are for.

Bill: This was mostly a rough week for reading enjoyment:

I started ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 26, 2016

This week, She-who-must-not-be-named attends a party, because sometimes waiting eternally for your lost love gets tedious.

Ayesha: Week 148,345. A few days back, some of the tribe had some kind of feast day in my honor. I honestly can't keep track of what I'm supposed to be blessing this time, but I sampled some of the wine, and it was surprisingly decent, so I had some more. The night gets a little hazy after that, but I seem to recall giving an impromptu lecture on the philosophy of religious expression in agrarian communities (which I'm going to assume no one understood, judging by the fact that I am still apparently being worshiped). Ended up falling asleep on my throne. Woke up the next day with a colossal hangover and a taste in my mouth like something died at the back of my throat. I'd apparently slopped a lot of wine on myself, my hair was a mess, and all in all I looked like ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 19, 2016

On this Father's Day, Batman reflects on his dearly departed dad.

Batman: Sometimes, at this time of year, I imagine what it would be like if my own father was still alive. He was a pillar of the community, a model of upstanding decorum. A physician who dedicated his life to making people well and a pacifist who abhorred violence. By day, I pretend to be an obnoxious cad. By night, I dress up as a giant bat and beat people to a bloody pulp. I like to think Dad would be proud. But sometimes I worry that I'm just fooling myself. I look back over what I've written, and it seems to me there's an obvious problem, an insurmountable obstacle that would stand between us were he with me today.

And that is, of course, that my father was never a big fan of bats. Not that he hated them or anything. He just thought of them as tiny, pretty-much-harmless nocturnal creatures that never real... Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 12, 2016

Sparse week this time, so a few extra characters have taken the opportunity to slip in.

Ayesha: Week 148,343. Still no Kallikrates. Some tribeswoman came by earlier and prostrated herself as per usual, so I made her scoot back and forth on her face for a while, just to be a bitch. She looked hilarious flopping around with her face on the floor and her rear stuck up in the air, but even so I eventually felt guilty about it. She seemed pleased, though. Seemed to think it had some kind of ritual significance and now she was favored or whatever. Or maybe she'd just spotted that I felt guilty and knew I planned on giving her what she wanted. My subjects can be surprisingly wily now and then.

Bors: This week things seemed to be going pretty well for the family. Lionel managed to actually win something at latest tourney, ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 5, 2016

Character update on break this week.

Bill:This week I read Saint’s Blood, the third book in the GREATCOATS series by Sebastien de Castell, which I’d call one of the most out and out fun fantasy series going (though with its many emotionally wrenching moments). I also read The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley, the concluding book in his UNHEWN THRONE series, which took a nice jump up from book one to two and is brought to a satisfying conclusion here.

Jana: This week my reading pace is slow thanks to the fantastic weather I've been having; there may be a few potting-soil smudges on my review copies, but it's all in the name of creating a comfortable reading space outside. I've made progress with Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 29, 2016

This week, Supergirl with another instance of Alien World Problems.

Supergirl: I sleepwalk occasionally. I don't like to mention it too often, because people seem to get a little concerned when they hear me say so. And I get it. I do. When most people sleepwalk, they just kind of do what they'd do anyway in their day-to-day lives. Sort of roam around, turn lights on and off. I knew someone once who made sandwiches when she sleepwalked. Aside from a bit of spoiled mayonnaise, there's rarely any real harm done. But then there's me. I spend my days flying around at mach 3 and punching things really hard. So I am both a lot more mobile and a lot more damaging than your average somnambulist. I woke up outside an Arby's in Kentucky once. Apparently everything was closed but the drivethrough, but I tried the door anyway. Apart from the door being off its hinges, there wasn't any real problem -- they tickled me awa... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 22, 2016

This week, Sir Bors gets just a touch sarcastic.

Bors: Sir Tristan toppled out a window the other day, or so the gossip-mongers tell me. The fall was evidently quite spectacular, and he ended it by landing in a grocer's cart, quite displacing the turnips. The event would have been amusing but ultimately inconsequential had not the grocer then looked up and calculated that Sir Tristan could only have fallen out of one particular window in the keep -- that window belonging to the bedroom of Queen Isolde. Naturally, King Mark had to pay a certain degree of attention to the scurrilous rumors that began to be whispered upon this revelation, and he questioned Sir Tristan most closely. Tristan admitted that he had indeed entered the queen's bedchamber, but had only done so at her chaste request, in order to kill a spider. Upon entering and being confronted by the arachnid menace, however, he was stricken by abhorrence... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 15, 2016

This week, Frodo.

Frodo: Still in the Mines of Moria. Legolas is becoming deeply annoying. He keeps rambling on about the beauty of the open woods and tragedy that led the races of Middle Earth to build in stone rather than gambol in the open glades, or something like that. Doesn't he live in a giant rock cave? Isn't that what Bilbo's book says? Anyway, every time Legolas starts in with his rhapsodizing about the trees and the stars, Gimli gets all defensive and starts pointing out the marvels of Moria craftsmanship. Oh wait, no, sorry. Craftsdwarfship. I am almost certain that is not actually a word, but Gimli is insisting we all use it, because otherwise we're appropriating his heritage. Every time he says it, Legolas starts going on about the thin skins of dwarves. I'm pretty sure one of them is going to be a murderer before long. If we're lucky, they'll do each ot... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 8, 2016

This week, Robin Hood. I got rather carried away. I really geek out over Robin Hood.

Robin: 'Twas a fine, fresh morning in our merry England, and the warm wind came riding through the eaves of Sherwood. And so I said to Little John and Allan-a-Dale and Will Stutely, "ah, marry, why sit we idle on so fine a day as this? Hie thee hence, my jolly blades, and fetch us back a guest for this evening's entertainment!" This they did with a good will, and ere long returned with a Norman knight caught on the King's road, for it is our custom to host a right jolly inn beneath the leaves of Sherwood, though perhaps the guest likes not the fee when it comes time to pay his due. This particular knight, however, tried a trick that even I've not heard before. "What is thy name, sweet chuck?" said I.

"Sir, I am Robin Hood."

"That is a merry trick, sir, seeing as ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 1, 2016

This week, Red Sonja addresses the subject of dragon-slaying.

Red Sonja: Why is it that you never run into a little dragon? I mean, they used to be fairly common, didn't they? Little terrier-sized and horse-sized dragons? Seems like it would be sensible to kill them at that age, before they can grow into monstrous barn-sized death machines that can carry off a cow in each claw and devastate the local economy just by being around. But no one ever seems to figure this out. They never go on dragon hunts to keep the population in check. No, they wait until it's so big its wings can shadow an entire castle, and it's got the royal riches for its horde and devoured or torched most of the villagers except for those omnipresent hollow-eyed minstrels plunking out gloomy dirges about claws like spears and wings of terror. Then, then, you come to me. You butter me up and you tell me what great thing... Read More

Sunday Status Update: April 24, 2016

This week, Legolas is back.

Legolas: Journal Entry 3450347: So apparently we're now going to take the roads of the dead and attack the enemy fleet with a ghost army. Sounds fantastic, but it occurs to me to wonder why the enormous ghost army under the sole beck and call of Aragorn hasn't come up before now. It seems like the sort of thing one might mention. Or not. Who knows? No one ever gave me a ghost army. We don't pamper our royalty in Mirkwood. It's just grit and nerve and a good honest yew bow in the hand, and... damn it, I really want a ghost army.

Brad: This week I’ve been re-reading volume 9 of The Sandman, The Kindly Ones. I also read and finished volumes one and two of Roche Limit. Volume two was good, but it didn’t blow me away like volu... Read More

Sunday Status Update: April 17, 2016

This week, Supergirl contemplates whether or not Kryptonians are dangerous to humanity.

Supergirl: This week everyone in the League was making a big deal about how Kal and Batman both had a mom named Martha. Seems like kind of a forced connection to me, but whatever floats your boat, guys. They also kept arguing about whether or not Kal was dangerous to humanity. He totally is, by the way. So am I. If either of us ever threw a punch at full speed and force, it would go off like a bomb and probably level the city. Remember that stretch of beach that mysteriously turned to glass a while back? Yeah, I got a spider on me. Honestly, why we live in an urban center, I have no idea.

Brad: This week, I re-read the first 20 issues of Gotham Ce... Read More

Sunday Status Update: April 10, 2016

This week, we check in again with Ayesha, She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, as she settles a dispute between her peoples in true Ayesha fashion.

Ayesha: Week 148,388. Still no Kallikrates. Wish he'd get a goddamned move on. I have no objection to a husband younger than myself, but... well. Granted, it seems that our life experience might end by being more or less commensurate. Nothing happened this week. Oh, except that rainstorm incident. One tribe came by, wanted rain for the crops. Whatever. Who cares. I dredged up a thunderstorm. Then another tribe came by and complained that the sacred hunt or what-have-you had been ruined by a colossal thunderstorm. I had no idea what a sacred hunt was. They apparently couldn't fathom this. We were just getting to the most tedious part of their whining when the first tribe showed up again to thank me, and there was a brawl right there in the throne roo... Read More

Sunday Status Update: April 3, 2016

Character update on break this week, but we kept reading!

Jana: This week I read (and really enjoyed) Philip Reeve's latest YA science fiction novel, Railhead: it's full of fun Easter eggs and features sentient trains! Review to come shortly. I re-read "The Cage," by A.M. Dellamonica, which I'll review for SFM, and I started Daughters of Ruin, by K.D. Castner, a YA fantasy novel which follows four princesses who have been raised together though their home nations are at war. It'll be interesting to see what Castner does with the characters and their internal/external conflicts, especially since "YA princesses" is undeniably over-used as a trope and a genre.
Read More

Sunday Status Update: March 27, 2016

Happy Easter from FanLit!

Basil Stag Hare: Well cheerio, and a Merry Easter to you! Basil Stag Hare, sirs, at your service! Ladies, doubly at yours, wot wot! I've a most beastly headache, but not all the trifling ailments on earth (or alements, as it were, ho ho!) could keep Basil Stag Hare abed today. I'm off to the old barn across the meadow, and thence by horse cart to Redwall Abbey, which has simply the best nosebag on a Sunday. Funny thing, but I do believe that horse and cart and that barn might just be the only examples of the kinds in all terra firma, as the learned chappies say. Certainly I've got a dashed funny feeling that no one will ever mention horses or barns again, even if the history of the world goes on long enough to fill another, oh, twenty books or so. But enough lollygagging, eh? It's to the abbey for me and every gentlebeast who's anybeast! Perhaps I'll see y... Read More

Sunday Status Update: March 20, 2016

This week, Ron's back. This is happening right now, so what about Harry Potter and other countries, anyway?

Ron: Remember that time You-Know-Who took over Britain? Twice? I do. I just sometimes wonder if the rest of the world does. I mean, they certainly didn't seem to notice at the time. If you do the math, there should be about a million wizards worldwide. You-Know-Who had like two dozen blokes in masks. I mean, sure, he was scary, no doubts about that, but that's a pretty heavy weight of numbers. And since all the adults can apparate out of Britain if they like, it should've been impossible to keep his take-over a secret. Which means that all the wizards in the Americas, mainland Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Pa... Read More

Sunday Status Update: March 13, 2016

This week, philosophical ruminations from Ayesha, She-Who-Must-be-Obeyed, as she waits eternally for her lost love Kallikrates.

Ayesha: Week 148,386. More or less the same as week 148,385. Still no sign of Kallikrates. I believe I finally puzzled out the meaning behind human existence the other day. I've already forgotten what it was, though, so it mustn't have been very important. Taking as a given the presumptions that firstly I did indeed uncover an objective meaning for it all and secondly that it was in fact unimpressive, it follows that only in subjective experience can satisfaction be found. No external validation shall ever be accorded, and only by achievement of one's own purposes can one attain happiness. My purpose is to wait for Kallikrates. At least in the abstract. In the particular -- as regards this day, this week, this year -- my purpo... Read More

Sunday Status Update: March 6, 2016

This week, Ron ponders the mystery of Hogwarts teachers.

Ron: Hermione said a funny thing the other day. I was complaining about the unholy length of McGonagall's essay assignment (as any sane person would), and Hermione was defending her as per usual. Anyway, this time she was trying to make out like McGonagall was doing us a favor asking for a long essay. "The teachers have lives too, you know," she said. "They don't have to grade long papers." And that sounds good and all, but... do they? I hadn't heard about it. They all seem to live at the school, and I don't ever hear of them having spouses or kids or anything. And it's not like you can just apparate out to London for a pint with your mates whenever you like, because there's no apparition on castle grounds and half the time we seem to locked in here by dementors or whatever. So they're basically stuck here with us and their onl... Read More

Sunday Status Update: February 28, 2016

This week, Sir Lancelot gets involved in someone else's love life. Apparently not having enough on his own romantic plate. As always, his long-suffering cousin Sir Bors chronicles.

Bors: It's been a big week for Sir Tristan. After all the years of interventions and histrionics, he finally married someone who wasn't Isolde. Well, actually, she was an Isolde, just not "toxic ex-girlfriend married to your uncle but still keeps dropping by" Isolde. Yes, admittedly it looks a little creepy that his wife has the same name as his ex. But if you knew him as I do, you'd say any change is good change. Everyone was happy for him. Even the king took an interest. It was one of the few truly positive things to have happened of late.

So, obviously, my cousin couldn't let that stand. We'd made sure he wouldn't be around for the event, but when he got wind of it he apparently went mad with rage... Read More