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: October 16, 2016

This week, Legolas finds the after-victory parties of the Fellowship of the Ring somewhat less enjoyable than expected.

Legolas: Journal Entry 3450867: The dark lord is defeated, the land flourishes under its king, and the world is freed from wickedness. See? I'm trying to stay positive. I really am. But see, all the Fellowship is staying in this big house together, and by now the fun is starting to wear a little thin. The first couple of nights? Sure, great, we'll have fun. Big party. But do you know what a halfling's drinking capacity is? It is not high. Not high at all. So that's the four of them taken care of before eleven. Mithrandir is apparently far too important to hang around with us (he's gotten damn snobby since his fashion update), and Aragorn spends all his time with Arwen, so by midnight it's always just me and Gimli. I have now heard pretty much every embarrassi... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 9, 2016

Character update is on break this week, but things will return to normal next week.

Kelly: Last weekend I attended Archon in Collinsville, IL, and had a great time. I learned a lot from the panel on fantastical elements in Shakespeare's works -- did you know actors were trained in huge, set gestures so that people could follow the plot even when they couldn't hear the dialogue? Or that costumers essentially dumpster-dived for nobles' clothing scraps, because you needed certain colors to indicate nobility on stage but weren't allowed to actually buy such fabrics by the sumptuary laws? All kinds of stuff that makes total sense, but that you just don't really think about... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 2, 2016

This week, the Beast from Beauty and the Beast.

The Beast: Do you know what's the worst thing about my predicament? You might say it's the way everyone from the nearby villagers to the royal court appears to have forgotten completely that I ever existed, and I have no idea why. That stings, I'll grant you, but it's not the worst. You might say it's that all of this happened to me (and my subjects) because when I was eleven years old I wouldn't let some sketchy old woman into my house in the middle of the night. That is also rather aggravating, but it's still not the worst. No, the worst is that I have this portrait of myself as a full-grown man, and I have no idea how or when it was done. I've been a beast for ten years. There's literally no way. But there it is. Right there on the wall. I mean, what the... what? I can only assume this is some trick of the enchantress', meant to mo... Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 25, 2016

Something of a slow week, which means... it's time for the characters to take over again.

Ayesha: Week 148,394. Still no Kallikrates. I did have a rather bizarre visit, though. Some pale little man showed up from nowhere in particular with a lot of pamphlets and started telling me about how I should accept Jesus Christ as my personal lord and savior. Jesus is either on his way to me, or has already been here and left, or maybe he's just spying on me from somewhere? Honestly, I was getting very little of it, because the interpreter was dreadful. In the end, I promised that if I saw Jesus, I would welcome him. That seemed to satisfy the funny little man, and off he went. I don't know why he thought it was such a momentous decision. It's not like I charge admission to this place. If a dancing elephant came by wanting to visit, I'd probably let him in too. I lead a boring life.
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Sunday Status Update: September 18, 2016

This week, Legolas begins to wonder where his wartime career is going.

Legolas: Journal Entry 3450333: At the court of Rohan. Iluvatar's beard, what a dump. Whole place smells like horse, and it kind of soaks into whatever you're wearing, so now smell like horse. The king was apparently under some kind of enchantment that Mithrandir had to fix for him. I don't know, I wasn't really paying attention. Aragorn was still in a big snit over having to give up his sword at the door, and so I had to keep nodding and uh-huh-ing him while he muttered on under his breath. Losing track of why I'm even on this quest at this point. I thought I was guiding a halfling to a volcano, but then I became an orc hunter, which was all right, and now I'm sort of the assistant to the King of Rohan's court wizard? What am I even doing? What would father say?

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Sunday Status Update: September 11, 2016

This week, Sir Bors, with another tale from the actual, not-intentionally-comedic Arthurian legends.

Bors: This week, Sir Tristram regaled us with the story of how he met Queen Isolde. Apparently, he got into a fight with a dishonorable sort of Irish knight with a poisoned sword. Tristram won but was poisoned, and only the Irish royal family had the cure (you'd have thought the dishonorable knight would have carried a vial of the antidote on him, just in case he had a bit of a whoopsie while applying the poison, but apparently that would just be too sensible). So Tristram knew that, having just killed this renowned Irish fellow, he wouldn't be terribly welcome in the Irish court. So he came up with a brilliant solution. He'd go incognito as some other harp-playing Cornish knight called "Sir Tramtris." Somehow or other this actually worked. So I suppose the rumors about the Irish court's general drunkenn... Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 4, 2016

This week, Ayesha is still waiting for her lost love Kallikrates.  It's been a couple thousand years. But I'm sure it'll be any day now. Right... ?

Ayesha: Week 148,387. Still no Kallikrates. Caught a few of my handmaidens disturbing the peace the other day. They'd turned one of the ancient passage tombs of dead Kor into a bowling alley and were making enthusiastic bets on the outcome. This last point came as something of a surprise to me, as I don't remember ever instituting a monetary system. Apparently one just sprang into being fully formed, disappointing all my vague ideas about socialist experimentation in agrarian communities. Damn, but I wish I could correspond with... literally any learned person... on this. Then again, since I apparently have an economy now, maybe I should set up a postal service too. Or some bloody universities, why not? But then the people would actua... Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 28, 2016

This week, Red Sonja explains the name of her sword.

Red Sonja: People keep asking me the name of my sword. They seem to think it should have some very heroic-sounding name. And I keep telling them that no, it doesn't have a name. What, do woodsmen have to name their axes now? Do farmers have to name their sickles? Maybe the nobility can start naming their favorite goblets? But no, my situation is different for some reason, or so I have to judge by the fact that when I returned from the latest job (covered in slime and griffin blood, I might add) I found that the whole village had taken it upon themselves to name my mighty, griffin-slaying sword. Oh, there were plenty of contenders. There was the artsy contingent that wanted Whisper or Sorrow, and there were the bombastic sorts that wanted Corpsemaker or Hellsbane. Then you had that extremely dotty young woman who ... Read More

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