Sunday Status Update: December 4, 2011

As Christmas sidles around the distant corner with all of its pre-holiday stress in tow, we still had a few brave souls venturing forth into fantasy…

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Bill: This week I read The Intergalactic Playground: A Critical Study of Children’s and Teens Science Fiction by Fara Mendlesohn, a fond look at early science fiction for teens and a much more critical look at more recent examples of the genre. I also reread Richard Morgan’Altered Carbon for my sci fi class and found it as enjoyable as the first time through (my students, alas, found it less so). And since those same students gave me nearly a thousand pages of  journals on sci fi stories written between 1960 and 1990, well, those two books would be it for the week. On tap is Michael Ondaatje’s The Cat’s Table for this week’s book club.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Greg: Crom!! I’m still reading The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.  :(  I’m on chapter 118 (In all my years of reading, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a chapter 118 before), and I pray to the gods — the forgotten dark ones, if necessary — for the strength to finish and review this book in time for next week’s update.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews John: I’ve switched books and am now reading Corvus by Paul Kearney. I will be starting on Of Limited Loyalty by Michael A. Stackpole once I finish Corvus.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kat: It’s the end of my semester, so I haven’t had much time for reading this week, but I did manage to listen on audio to the first WILD CARDS anthology. In case you don’t know, WILD CARDS is a shared world created by George R.R. Martin 25 years ago. In celebration of its anniversary, the WILD CARDS anthologies are being reprinted and, for the first time, are being produced in audio formats by Brilliance Audio. This first volume has been updated with three new stories.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Marion: Since I hit my wordcount of 50,000 for Nanowrimo (Our young heroes cleverly escape with the spaceship, but the fuel cell is dying! Oh, no!) I rewarded myself with some reading time. I am enjoying Karen Russell’s Swamplandia! The exclamation point is part of the title. It’s interesting, about a family who runs a gator-themed roadside attraction in coastal Florida. I just finished up The Mystery of Grace by Charles de Lint, which I found to be slightly disappointing. On the long Thanksgiving weekend I bought a copy of Finch by Jeff VanderMeer and I have to say I will not look at mushrooms in quite the same way ever again.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Ryan: I picked up Neal Stephenson‘s Anathem again this week. This is my fourth attempt at it, and this time I looked at Wikipedia’s summary so that I wouldn’t have to devote so much concentration to Arbre English. Some might scoff, but I think many of Stephenson’s novels should be accompanied by encyclopedias. Anyway, my strategy has worked. Now I’m so invested in the story that it’s keeping me up past bedtime. Just seven hundred pages to go.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Terry: It’s been an unsettled week in a number of ways, but especially when it comes to reading. I’m still reading just about everything I was reading last week, but I finished Suzanne Collins‘s The Hunger Games all in a rush one day when suddenly I didn’t seem to be able to put the Kindle down. I wanted to start Catching Fire immediately afterwards, but I have to wait until tomorrow to be able to borrow it from Amazon. There’s no way I’ll be able to avoid buying Mockingjay, I fear — I can wait four days for a sequel, but a month? No way. So with a gap in time and nothing compelling to fill it, I started several other books. One of them is Disciple of the Dog by R. Scott Bakker, which seems to be a mystery, though there are lots of science fiction and fantasy references, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this took a turn into the fantastic. Another is Lavie Tidhar‘s The Bookman, which sounded fascinating just from the title — and it’s living up to it so far. Finally, because reading two anthologies and one magazine wasn’t even short fiction, I’ve also started Teeth: Vampire Tales, edited by the redoubtable team of Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. There’s plenty to keep me occupied!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Tim: To echo Greg, Crom!! I’m still invested in Robert E. Howard’s The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian, symptoms of which are bold, warlike themes playing as I study and a rather odd desire to start referring to drivers who won’t make way for pedestrians as “dogs.” Outside of Conan’s age undreamed of, it is still regrettably the end of the semester and I still have a number of papers due, so I haven’t had time for a lot of extra reading. Mind you, if I’m entirely honest, I did break down yesterday and go through the entire run of Vertigo’s comic series American Vampire by Scott Snyder and Stephen King, though King has now left the series. It was entertaining and original, and while it was presented to me as weightier material than it turned out to be, it was a bit of a breath of fresh air for the vampire genre.


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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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One comment

  1. @Kat- I’m anxious to see your take on Wild Cards. I read the first 2 or 3 in that series, something like 18+ years ago. I don’t remember a whole lot about them -mostly what I recall is the adventures of that ace pilot and the event that triggers the rest of the stories- but I really enjoyed them. Just last week, I added Wild Cards I to Amazon Wish List.

    @Tim- Conan is near & dear to my heart. Counting the comics, I’ve practically been reading his tales most all my life and I guess he would be my first introduction into the fantasy genre.

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