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: December 10, 2017

Character update on break this week.

Jana: This week's FanLit reading was yet again complicated by homeowner stress, and I did a lot more me-reading in an effort to keep myself sane. So that meant books like Murder at the Vicarage and Legends and Tales of the American West, and I leisurely made my way through Philip Pullman's  Read More

Sunday Status Update: December 3, 2017

This week, Batman struggles through a Thanksgiving dinner (a week late).

Batman: Field report for November: Always a lull in November before the spate of holiday-themed crime in December. As result, was prevailed upon by various Robins and ex-Robins to attend Wonder Woman's Apaturia, which -- as I had to inform all Robins and one Batgirl -- is an ancient Greek festival that she has somehow worked around to function like a businesslike Thanksgiving. Instantly regretted my decision. Superman dressed in flannel and became appallingly chipper, while Wonder Woman refused to talk business before the food was served. No one seemed to want to discuss the existential horror of the Joker's unknowable true identity, so I was left at loose ends. As dinner was served, everyone was obligated to list one thing they were thankful for. I said I was thankful for the 482 criminal scum whose jaws I shattered this year, at least tem... Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 26, 2017

Character update on break this week.


Bill: This week I read Ken Schole’s Hymn, the solid if underwhelming conclusion to his PSALMS OF ISAAK series; and Andy Weir’s Artemis, which didn’t do much for me.  I also finished The Telescope in the Ice by Mark Bowen, a fascinating look at the construction of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole. In Audible books, I completed listening to From Here To Eternity:  Traveling the World To Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty, a mortician’s travelogue of funeral rites that had some great moments.   Media-wise, I watched and mostly enjoyed the first three episodes of Runaways on Hulu.
... Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 19, 2017

This week, Supergirl and the thing that would totally happen if superheroes existed. Come on, you know it would.

Supergirl: The other day, I grabbed a young woman out of the air as she plummeted from a building. That seems to be happening a lot lately, but at least it's an easy save. I told her it was all right, I had her. The usual stuff. Then I decelerated so she wouldn't get bugs up her nose and started floating toward the street nice and leisurely.

"Oh crap, it's you," she said.

"What?" I said.

"I mean, I'm sorry, I just totally thought you were Superman. I was kind of holding out for him."

"Yeah, well, uh... " I realized that she looked familiar. "Hey, didn't I save you last week?"

"Yeah. You know, you should really think about getting a different cape, because from a distance, it's really hard to tell you're not Superman. Like, w... Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 12, 2017

Character update will return next week.

Bill: Just one book finished this week thanks to the 1200-page tome that is Brandon Sanderson’s Oathbringer. Media-wise, my son and I took in Thor: Ragnarok, which was quite funny, visually rich, and reveled in joyful self-deprecation, but I did feel the humor came at the expense of character a bit too much.  I also introduced my son to the glory that is The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonsai Across the 8th Dimension.
Jana: This week I made progress in Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 5, 2017

This week, Frodo gives Rivendell a 3 out of 5 on TripAdvisor. Minor spoilers for Lord of the Rings.

Frodo: This week, I tired of Hobbiton and took the long journey back to Rivendell. It has grown quieter there since the end of the war, as more and more elves take the ships away from Middle Earth to the Undying Lands. Consequently, there were fewer people to talk to and rather less to do in the empty halls of the Last Homely House. There was little singing, and none scheduled for the night I was there. Eventually, I and a young elf named Glindir just settled down to a game of cards. Elrond himself joined us later, apparently having nothing better to do, and got rather fussy when Glindir took a few hands. Also, the soup was stone cold. I left with the terrible presentiment that all good things pass away, and even the seemingly eternal cannot flourish when winter com... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 29, 2017

This week, in honor of Halloween, Michael Myers.

Michael: Finally, the time is almost here. Soon, I'll set out on my bloody task. I will put such fear into these people that they will always remember the day I came home. The only snag is my crippling head cold, which makes it hard for me to breathe (I make ghastly rasping noises all the time), and makes it very difficult for me to run or even jog without an awful coughing fit. But I am undaunted! I shall simply have to walk after my victims. Yes. I'll just stroll after them in a leisurely fashion. Provided they all end up hiding somewhere private and alone rather than running to the police station, everything should be fine.

Marion: I read Ghostland; An American History in Haunted Places by journalist Colin Dickey. In spite of the name, it is... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 22, 2017

This week, Robin Hood and the Long Lead-Up to the Corny Joke.

Robin: This week, after many offenses given me, my patience reached its end. As the Sheriff of Nottingham fled from Sherwood Forest after his latest attempt to drag me to the gallows, I drew back my bow and sent a gray-goose shaft speeding right into his black heart. Or rather, I would have done, but he was on the back of a galloping horse at the time, and the bit of him that I could see most clearly was his rump. So I sent a gray-goose shaft speeding right into that instead. He didn't half howl. Most of the men laughed along with me, but Stutely simply would not have done with the joke. Even far later in the night, he was on about it.

"Master," quoth he, "what wouldst thou say that thou didst today?"

"Eh?" quoth I, a bit the worse for drink by this point. "I shot the Sheriff."

"Ah, ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 15, 2017

Character update will return next week.

Bill: Not much reading this week between a sprint to finish the first draft of a new play by Friday’s rehearsal and finally grading the 45 essays I’d put off in order to do so. Though that didn’t stop me from binging the first season of Fortitude all the way through. So nothing completed, though I’m about halfway through Peter Brett’s The Core, the concluding volume of his THE DEMON CYCLE.

Marion: I’m writing this on Thursday morning. This hasn’t been a great week for me. Half of my home county is in flames, and three friends lost their houses – they evacuated safely with themselves and their pets, but family photos, antiques, original art, books, wedding dresses safely stowed in ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 8, 2017

This week, Dracula reflects on his big plans for the upcoming solstice.

Dracula: Ah, the solstice approaches! That night when the powers of the dead are greatest upon the earth, and the mortal man shall quake for fear of that which he knows not! This year, I have planned... I have... very well, I shall admit it, I have no plans. Four hundred years I have been doing this, and ah, such a headache. Every year, the lesser vampires come to me and they say "Master, surely this samhain shall be a bountiful harvest for our kind! What is your diabolical plan?" Four hundred years of diabolical plans. Four hundred years of bloody fountains and impaled corpses and plagues of wolves and innocents prostrated by iron nails upon unholy ground for the despair of mankind, and I am done. I am sick of it. I keep coming up with these things, year after year after year, and there is only so many times the shriek of a young mothe... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 1, 2017

This week, Batman confronts his most terrifying foe yet: the specter of a slow month.

Batman: Field report for September: I dislike Septembers. I understand that this is selfish of me, because the reason is that there is statistically less crime in September. There is a detectable lull each year in between the warm weather of August and whatever horrors my enemies wish to unleash in Halloween season, and so September is just... sort of there. A few minor heists prevented, a handful of small-scale criminals brought to justice, a firm but brief explanation to Poison Ivy on the subject of the park's official borders. I must not be disappointed. I cannot be. I prefer to think of it as trepidation for what my enemies may unleash when the other shoe inevitably falls. Trepidation. Yes.

...thank God it's October.

Brad: Thi... Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 24, 2017

This week, Legolas and Gimli reach Randland.

Legolas: Journal Entry 4858307: This week, we arrived in another new country. I'm beginning to think we are the fools of fate in this one particular way, and we're doomed never to reach the Undying Lands. Nevertheless, Gimli and I dutifully got ashore at the harbor to resupply. The locals were Men, ordinary enough, save that they did not seem to know what their continent was called. "This is Andor!" said one, but as it turned out, that was only the name of the country. The word "Randland" was tossed around, but honestly nobody seemed to really know, which was most strange. Then somebody called the Dragon Reborn came down to see us, with a lot of pomp and melodrama. I can only assume they were speaking figuratively in regard to his name, because he didn't look a single thing like a dragon, or act much like one either. Most of the dragons I've he... Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 17, 2017

Character update will return next week.

Bill: This week I read two disappointing works: Horizon, the conclusion to Fran Wilde’s BONE CITY trilogy; and Cast No Shadow, a muddled graphic novel by Nik Tapalansky and Anissa Espinosa.  More enjoyable was Reed Tucker’s Slugfest: Inside the Epic, 50-year Battle between Marvel and DC, a generally entertaining look at the two major superhero comic companies’ interactions with one another.

Marion: I finished  Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 10, 2017

This week, Legolas and Gimli's misadventures continue, as they reach Cair Paravel on the shores of Narnia.

Legolas: Journal Entry 4858306: Still searching for the Undying Lands. Still trying not to let recriminations begin with too much force. This week, however, I truly believed that at last we had come to the end of our travails. I looked out the prow of a ship and beheld a green country and pale sands, and upon a high place before the sea there was a white palace with banners dancing in the gusts. This, it seemed to me, might be the fabled isle of Tol Eressea that stands as welcome to the elves. It was with glad hearts, then, that Gimli and I made for harbor. When we landed, however, we were greeted by a strange and motley assortment of peoples. There was a woman whose lower body was that of a horse, a man whose lower body was that of a goat, and a whole mess of others equally bizarre.... Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 3, 2017

Character update will return next week.

Bill:This week I read House of Names, Colm Toibin’s retelling of the Atreus myth and A Brief History of Everone Whoever Lived by Adam Rutherford, a look at what the genome can tell us about human history

Kat: I finished the audiobook version of Mark Lawrence’s Red Sister which I didn't like quite as well as Tim did, but that may be due to the narrator. Review coming soon. Now I'm back to MAGE WINDS tri... Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 27, 2017

This week, Legolas and Gimli continue their misadventure-filled journey to the Undying Lands, after a storm blew them off-course last time.

Legolas: Journal Entry 4858304: We finally spotted land earlier today. It wasn't a particularly prepossessing sight, but at that point we were ready to try anywhere that might have fresh water. Besides, it was that or keep playing Gimli's asinine dwarven dice games. When we made land, I went ashore with some barrels while Gimli remained behind to watch the ship. I found a stream readily enough and filled the barrels, but when I returned to the beach I found that two things had occurred, one predictable and the other totally outlandish. First, Gimli had fallen asleep in the shade of a rocky outcropping. Second, hundreds of tiny people had attempted to tie him down with miniature ropes while he slept. They were industrious little folk, but they were hav... Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 20, 2017

This week, Legolas and Gimli run into a snag on their way to the Havens (spoilers).

Legolas: Journal Entry 4858299: This week, I at long last set off for the Grey Havens, accompanied by Gimli. It was an auspicious moment, many tearful farewells. Still, I was eager to take to the seas, for ever since I heard the sound of waves on shore, there has dwelt in my heart a terrible desire for the shining land beyond the waters. Gimli just wants to hit on Galadriel again. Anyway, our journey went smoothly the first few days, but last night, a terrible storm blew in. We were both of us up all night struggling with sails and tiller, and by the time the tempest blew itself out, we had no actual idea where we were. Now here we are floating along beneath a featureless sky, and for all I know we're headed right back toward Middle Earth. Also, waterlogged dwarf smells awful.

Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 13, 2017

This week, Supergirl again. Yeah, I dunno.

Supergirl: I spent this week in super speed. Did you know the super speed is something I can turn on and off? Bet you didn't. It is, though. You know that feeling where you focus in really hard on something, and time seems to slow down as you study it? It's like that, except, you know, actually happening. I did it for the whole week. Weirdest thing I've ever done. Do you know how creepy people look in slow motion? Do you know how hard it is to pay attention to what people are saying when they're taking like an hour to say it and their words sound like discordant whale song? How the Flash hasn't gone completely insane and murdered us all by now, I have no idea.

Brad: This week I've been enjoying on audio the newest collection of short stories by Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 6, 2017

This week, Galadriel puts up with a visit from a peer.

Galadriel: This week, I hosted Thranduil of Mirkwood in Caras Galadhon, which was just as painful as ever. We all know that Lothlorien is far prettier than anything Thranduil has, but of course it would be rude to say so, and so we spend the entire week dancing around the issue as Thranduil makes awkward, bitter jokes about how his forest would probably look pretty good too if he had a super special magic ring (if I ever find out who told him I have one of the Three, I'll... well, let's be honest here, I'll probably do nothing, as it was almost certainly Celeborn, another born whiner on the subject). Finally sent him packing this morning, after an extremely awkward final feast during which he got drunk and started sobbing about how all the other woodland peoples tease him because a hobbit stole a bunch of his barrels once or so... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 30, 2017

This week, Batman (and apologies for the lateness this week).

Batman: Field report for July: Broke Penguin's nose last Thursday. First time I have ever done so. Must admit to odd feeling of satisfaction. Have now broken the nose of every major supercriminal in Gotham city. Experiencing a sort of completionist's pride. Not sure what this implies about my psychological state. Alfred keeps suggesting I return to therapy, but I am unconvinced. Find myself talking about bats every time I see a Rorschach ink blot, which is clearly problematic.

Bill:This week I read James Morrow’s funny if a bit over long The Asylum of Dr. Caligari, Ben Loory’s  disappointing collection Tales of Falling and Flying, and the informative but flawed The P... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 23, 2017

This week, Peter Pan goes to Oz.

Peter: This week, I flew to a place called Kansas, and there was a lot of wind in a sort of funnel shape. Never saw one of those in England (or Neverland), but it looked like fun, so I flew into it. It wasn't a very good idea, as it turns out, and I ended up somewhere called Oz. I apparently killed a witch on the way in, but she was wicked, so that was all right. Her sister got mad at me about it, but she was another wicked witch, so I killed her too, and crowed. Then some good witch got annoyed with me and said I oughtn't to just fly around stabbing people like that and I'd better follow the yellow brick road and stop being naughty. So asked her why she didn't want me killing wicked witches, and she got all huffy and said of course I could kill wicked witches, but only after I'd learned a lesson or seen a wizard or something. This Oz place is pre... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 16, 2017

Character update on break until next week.

Marion: I’ve been mostly reading the work for my writers workshop the first weekend in August, and travel guides for Finland and Iceland, but I did manage to start a re-read of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. The other night on the News Hour they had a segment on “bots” who are being used on the phones at car dealerships, and it made me think about Frankenstein and his creature. In other news, did you know there was a Museum of Icelandic Witchcraft and Sorcery?

Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 9, 2017

Character update on break this week.

Jana: This week I put reviews together for Sarah Beth Durst's The Reluctant Queen and Nicky Drayden's Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 2, 2017

Captain America, in honor of an incipient Independence Day. Also the one that just happened.

Captain America: This week I saw fireworks going off, and I figured some good patriotic American was celebrating Independence Day a little early. I got the shield and went over. Turns out it was just Canada Day. It's embarrassing, but up to this moment I did not realize that there was a Canada Day. I asked the Canadians about it. "Well," they said, "it commemorates Canada's becoming its own country separate from Britain. Only July 1st isn't the actual day that it happened, and we're still part of the commonwealth. July 1st was actually dominion day, which was something different, but lately it's Canada Day."

"So you wanted your own Fourth of July, huh?"

"... yes."

Honestly, I didn't mind. They offered me beer, and Canadian beer is better beer. I'm sorry, my co... Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 25, 2017

This week Supergirl goes to Themyscira, home of Wonder Woman, and I go on way too long making fun of poor old silver age comic books.

Supergirl: This week I went to Themyscira, island of the Amazon warriors. It was fun and all, but the Amazon leading me around (she was called Artemis or something) seemed a little hazy on the actual details. She was eager to show me the training rounds where the Amazons learned to be the greatest warriors in the world, but then she started telling me about how they're pacifists and they sent Wonder Woman as an emissary to end the animal struggles of mere human beings. That didn't make sense to me.

"Wait," I said, "so... you were separated from humans for thousands of years."

"Uh huh."

"And you live in a pacifist utopia."

"That's right."

"And you're the best warriors in the world."

"We cer... Read More