Sunday Status Update: February 5, 2017

This week, Legolas finds himself a newly minted politician. Spoilers for Lord of the Rings.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Legolas: Journal Entry 3450397: Still in Gondor. Ever since our crazy suicide mission inexplicably succeeded, I’ve been deluged in letters from home telling me to use my influence with the new king to make sure the wood elves get a good deal out of all this. I’m also supposed to mention the stellar contribution that we made to the war effort, which… I mean, did we? I remember Gandalf saying something about fighting in other lands, but it’s funny how we never seemed to run into any Orc armies heading off to Mirkwood or wherever. So far as I can tell, my father and his kingdom basically sat on the sidelines, golf-clapping whenever Gondor looked like winning. Knowing that makes it rather hard to start arguing a generous trade agreement or whatever. Maybe I’m not cut out for this royal intercession business.

Jana: This week I didn’t have as much time for reading/writing as I’d like, but I wasn’t so busy that I couldn’t read anything at all, thankfully. For my own amusement, I read Neil Clarke’s Galactic Empires anthology, which collects twenty-two stories written within the last decade (or so) by regular contributors to SFF, and was mostly quite good. For FanLit, I read Mur Lafferty’s Six Wakes, an excellent murder mystery set aboard a generation ship; I also began reading Cassandra Rose Clarke‘s Magic of Blood and Sea omnibus, which contains two of her previously-published novels: The Assassin’s Curse and The Pirate’s Wish. Plans for the coming week include Winter of the Gods, the second in Jordanna Max Brodsky‘s OLYMPUS BOUND series, and (time permitting) making a little progress on my backlog of to-be-reviewed books.

Marion: I finished the first three collection editions of an exciting comics space procedural called Fuse. Antony Johnston writes the book and Justin Greenwood draws it. It features an odd-couple pair of detectives solving crimes and keeping the peace (sort of) on a space station orbiting earth. It’s very fun, and the themes of racial and income inequality, politics and secrets provides food for thought.

I finished the third book in Genevieve Cogman’s INVISIBLE LIBRARY series; The Burning Page. While I enjoyed it, especially the visuals and one or two outstanding set-pieces, northing new really happened in this one. And I finished what might, perhaps, be my first five-star book of 2017; The Fisherman by John Langan. It’s horror, and quite a bit more. If it’s not five-star it’s definitely four-and-a-half, and you’ll see my review soon.

Sandy: Moi? Having just finished three books that I had not previously read by cult author Philip K. Dick, I am now hoping to read three such books by Clifford D. Simak. First on the list for me: his 1960 offering Time Is the Simplest Thing, which I have been enjoying very much so far. I hope to be able to get a review of this one out for you shortly…

StuartThis week I finished most of The Found and the Lost: The Collected Novellas of Ursula K. Le Guin (2016), which is a hefty 816-page book or 34-hour audiobook.  It contains stories that make up Ursula K. Le Guin‘s Four Ways to Forgiveness (1995) a set of linked stories in her Hainish universe about the two worlds of Werel and Yeowe, and explores the themes of slavery, oppression, revolution, and redemption. It also contains several stories set in her Earthsea series from Tales from Earthsea (2001). Other stories include “Vaster than Empires and More Slow” which is an excellent story about communications with alien intelligence somewhat reminiscent of Stanislaw Lem‘s Solaris

Terry: I’m reading The Final Reconciliation, a new horror novel by Tod Keisling, and, at about four chapters in, the feeling of pending doom has been set up so well that it hangs over my iPhone (where I’m reading it) like a pall. Because the metal band in the book is called The Yellow Kings, and Los Angeles is referred to as Carcosa, I decided it was finally time to read The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers, which Marion reviewed here.  It’s very Lovecraftian, full of the same doom that haunts The Final Reconciliation, and I think I’m going to like it quite a bit. I’m also still working on Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson, but it seems to be getting a bit saggy in the middle, and I’m more and more reluctant to pick it up again — quite a bit different from last week’s status, when I wanted to throw everything else out the window and just concentrate on it. I do expect I’ll finish it, but it no longer feels like such a high priority.


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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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4 comments

  1. My update was overlooked or sent in too late. So here it is:

    Since I last checked in a couple of weeks ago, I’ve had a busy reading schedule. I’ve been asked to read The Burning World, Isaac Marion’s latest novel in his WARM BODIES series, which will be published next week, so I’ve just finished the first novel in that offbeat zombie series, Warm Bodies. I also read Rob Rhodes’ Shadow, Light, & Steel, a collection of fantasy short stories and character sketches. In the non-F&SF area, I read The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, a Booker Prize winning novel, and (FINALLY! it only took me six weeks) finished The Scarlet Letter. Currently I’m reading The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid, a YA SF novel, and Wondering Sight by Melissa McShane, a just-published Regency-era fantasy-suspense novel in THE EXTRAORDINARIES series, as well as Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park.

  2. I love “Vaster Than Empires and More Slow.”

  3. Legolas, good luck with those negotiations. I hear there’s a really good book that might help called “The Art of the Deal”.

    And Marion, the last story in The Found and the Lost is called “Paradises Lost” and is a very different take on space exploration via generation ship written 30 years later.

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