Sunday Status Update: December 13, 2015

This week, Leia. Because Star Wars has engulfed popular culture for a week or two, and there’s just no fighting the tides.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Princess Leia: So, finally got the story out of Luke once Lando and I got him back on the Falcon. Apparently he decided to get into a lightsaber battle with Darth Vader, the man who deflects blaster bolts with his open hand. How he thought this was feasible is largely beyond me. He keeps going on about how he’s had all this training from some little swamp gnome or something, but come on. It’s been a few days, tops. I didn’t even change out of my Hoth clothes until yesterday. That is the crashiest of crash courses. Hell, if that’s all it takes to become a Jedi, I’ll do it. Sign me up with Master No-Duh. We’ll do a correspondence course or something.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Bill: This week I reread The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, which turned out to stand up to the years well, and The Relic Master by Christopher Buckley, a fun heist tale set in the early 1500s. I also finished up Crack’d Pot Trail by Steven Erikson for the Malazan reread over at Tor and am currently partway through a so-far disappointing Physics: A Short History from Quintessence to Quarks by J.L. Helbron.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Jana: Unfortunately, this week I didn’t have a chance to read anything new. I’m catching up on some re-reads so I can dig myself out of this massive stack of ARCs that accumulated over the last twelve months, and discovering that some books are as good the second time around (Ink and Bone) but quite a few of them aren’t (Diary of a Haunting). I hope to be able to put a few full-length reviews together over the coming week.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews João: This week was one of extremes. I read Matthew Woodring Stover’s novelization of Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith, and for the love of all that is force sensitive, stay away from it. I had heard that Stover’s novelization was pretty good, for a novelization, but even though he is an incredible author (Heroes Die anyone?), not even he could save this from its awful source material (and I say this as a full fledged Star Wars fan). Reports of it not sucking have been greatly exaggerated.

Wanting a palate cleanser to remember what a joy it is to read a good book, I felt that what I really craved for was a book that treats words the same way artists treat brush strokes. To fill that void in my reading soul I started Ellen Kushner’s Thomas the Rhymer which had been sitting on my shelves for a while now, and this time reports about this novel have not strayed far from the mark. The beauty of the language, the wit of the characters, the images Kushner paints. Wonderful wonderful read.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Marion: With all the hustle and bustle this time of year, there is really no luxury quite like a good book. I treated myself to two this week. I re-read Ursula LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. Because of LeGuin’s slightly formal, classic style, the prose holds up without being the least bit dated, and the story is as compelling as ever. Sadly, Genly Ai’s mild bigotry toward women, which forms an important facet of his character, far from seeming quaint, also sounds like it could have been written yesterday. I’m more than halfway through Chapelwood, the second book in Cherie Priest’s BORDEN DISPATCHES series. Just recently on my blog I was complaining about writers who write in alternating first-person points of view badly. Here, Priest shows us how it’s done – no one would confuse Ruth’s voice with that of Lizbeth Andrew (formerly Borden), or of the sinister accountant who is doing God’s work.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Rachael: This week I finished Pierce Brown‘s Red Rising. I’m kind of ambivalent about it at the moment, and haven’t yet figured out whether I liked it or not. So now I’m currently eyeing up Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel on my shelf… You can’t really say no to a double Booker-winning author, can you?

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Sandy: Moi? I am currently reading a 300+-page collection of short stories by Charles Beaumont. If that name sounds familiar to you, it might be because you’ve seen his name as the screenwriter for around two dozen Twilight Zone episodes, including several of the most popular. Indeed, five of the 23 stories in this generous collection were later adapted by Beaumont himself into TZ episodes. This new Penguin Classics anthology is entitled Perchance to Dream and will no doubt be getting a very +++ review from yours truly…

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Stuart: For the next few weeks I plan to read some of the books that everyone and their grandmother, neighbor, and neighbor’s dog have read. Why should everyone else read them except me? I’ve build up an inventory of reviews awaiting publication, so I hope Kat will forgive me from straying from the FanLit mission statement for a while. My list goes like this: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, and IMPERIAL RADSCH trilogy by Ann Leckie. That’s just filling a few of the most obvious gaps. But before Kat comes to my door with a bat in hand, I will sprinkle in some books we haven’t yet reviewed. I finished Station Eleven and found it to be a thoughtful requiem to today’s society after it’s gone forever. Instead of focusing on survival in a post-apocalyptic world, it focuses on what we have now that we take for granted. Definitely different from the usual genre approach. I’m now in the middle of The Handmaid’s Tale, narrated by Claire Danes (yay!), and it’s an absolutely chilling dystopian tale that belongs on the same shelf with We, Brave New World, and 1984.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Tadiana: Continuing with my exploration of Patricia BriggsMERCY THOMPSON urban fantasy series and world, I’ve branched off into ALPHA AND OMEGA, a companion series, and am currently reading the first book in that series, Cry Wolf. This last week I also read Magic Stars, a just-published novella in Ilona Andrews‘ KATE DANIELS series, in which two secondary characters from the series, Kate’s adopted daughter Julie and Derek, a wolf shapeshifter, take center stage. My non-SFF reads included Only in Naples, an upcoming memoir by Katherine Wilson about her move to Naples, Italy as a young college graduate, and a classic Russian short story by Nicolai Gogol, “The Overcoat,” about which Fyodor Dostoevsky reportedly (and famously, if you happen to be a student of Russian short fiction) said, “We all come out from Gogol’s ‘Overcoat’.”

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Tim: Quite the busy week for me, so I actually didn’t read anything at all this time around. I’m a bit disappointed in myself, really. Oh well, good things to come. In and around the usual holiday season stuff, of course.


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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.

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2 comments

  1. Rachael, I started GOLDEN SON, but, realizing it’s the second book of a set, I put it back down. I didn’t love the main character (he’s so angry) but I understood him. I await your review of RED RISING to see what you think. These are very popular books and I won’t be surprised to see Brown get a Hugo nod for GOLDEN SON.

  2. I have always wanted to visit Tokyo.

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