Sunday Status Update: January 22, 2012

Once again, it’s that time of week…

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Bill: This past week I read Sisterhood of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson which mostly reminded me of why I’d given up on the Dune prequels some time ago. I also read Alan Lightman‘s Mr. G, a quirky little retelling of the creation of the universe mixing in some fabulist aspects (reminded me a bit of Calvino, especially  Cosmiccosmics though not as sharp) with the most recent cosmology/particle physics. Reviews are on site.  BTW — if you haven’t read Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams or, well, any Calvino, do so ASAP. Speaking of particle physics, I also finished Lisa Randall‘s Knocking on Heaven’s Door, an exploration of modern physics with an especial focus on the Large Hadron Collider. It’s also as much a look at how physicists (and scientists) think and progress as much as a cataloguing of modern theories and experiments.  A bit over detailed in places but nicely clear and succinct explanations of physics (well, mostly clear — my head did hurt a few times) and by far the best explanation of the LHC I’ve ever seen.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Greg: I finished Percepliquis, the 6th and final installment of Michael J. Sullivan’s RIYRIA REVELATIONS, last Monday, which was also that book’s release date. That independently published series was picked up by Orbit (Cheers Mr. Sullivan!) which is publishing the series in three books instead of six. That final Orbit published edition is titled Heir of Novron which I understand is also now available. I’ve started Woken Furies, book 3 of Richard K. Morgan‘s TAKESHI KOVACS novels. Kovacs is again raisin’ all sorts of Hell which is what I love about the guy. ;) I’m still listening to the audio version of Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International. This is my first audiobook and it’s going a little slow for me. (I think I get distracted too easily.) It’s a good book, but one incorrect detail keeps nagging me; Copenhagen is a brand of snuff not chewing tobacco which completely changes the dynamic. Unless you were raised in West “by God” Virginia like I was, its probably not as big an issue. :)

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

Kat: I finished Songs of Love & Death, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois this past week. As usual for an anthology, there were some excellent stories and a few I didn’t like at all, making it an average collection overall, though some of the stories are worth seeking out. I also read William Gibson’s All Tomorrow’s Parties which is typical of some of his post-Neuromancer work -– amazing characterization with a promising plot that progressed slowly and sort of fizzled at the end. Now I’ve moved from cyberpunk to steampunk; I’m reading K.W. Jeter’s Infernal Devices, a classic novel written by the man who coined the term “steampunk.”

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kelly: John had trouble with Kari Sperring‘s Living with Ghosts — yet his review made me want to read it! So now I am. I’m only a little ways in, but so far it seems like just the kind of decadent fantasy I love. I’m also finishing up Diana Pharaoh Francis‘s Shadow City — on which I’m woefully behind — and in the middle of Angelfall by Susan Ee, a YA post-angel-apocalypse novel that so enraptured my Goodreads friends list that I just had to give it a try! It’s quite good so far.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Marion: I’ve been reading the highlights of the governor’s proposed budget at work. The characters are not well-developed, but it can definitely qualify as horror. My very local used bookstore is closing, and they had a great sale last weekend, where I picked up Cruel as the Grave, an historical mystery by Sharon K Penman. Very enjoyable, with a likeable main character. Penman is one of those writers who does buckets of research and works them into her story so deftly that you don’t even realize how much you are learning. I finished Eyes Like Leaves, by Charles de Lint, and I just started The Bride Wore Black Leather, a NIGHTSIDE novel by Simon R Green. Hmm, I wonder where a couple like John Taylor and Shotgun Susie register -– Apocalypse R Us?

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Terry: I finished Lee Child‘s The Affair all in a rush over two days this week, which is usually how it works when I read his books:  I start slow, but once I’m enmeshed, that’s it, I can hardly do anything else. I’m still working on Lavie Tidhar‘s The Bookman, and I’ve also started Kaaron Warren‘s The Glass Woman. I’ve also returned to Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio‘s Stories: All New Tales, reading a very creepy short story by Sarrantonio last night called “The Cult of the Nose.” That’s some very fine writing! Finally, I’ve been reading a lot of Beneath Ceaseless Skies in order to write a Magazine Monday post about this online publication, which is getting better the longer it’s in business.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Tim: This week, I have been reading two modern (authorized!) sequels to famous Victorian works. First was Dracula the Un-dead by Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt, which I found very disappointing and poorly written. I’m sorry, but even putting aside the stunning amount of retrojected modern mores, an authorized sequel by the estate should not spend every page contradicting the original work. The second novel, The House of Silk, is Anthony Horowitz‘s attempt at a Sherlock Holmes novel. I am happy to report that it seems rather well done so far: Horowitz manages a Victorian feel to the text while avoiding actually aping Sir Arthur Conan Doyle too heavily, which all things considered is probably for the best.


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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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7 comments

  1. Marion, your description of the budget cracked me up.

  2. Marion, I laughed out loud at your description of the budget, even though it’s no laughing matter!

    Bill, I think we’re siblings of different mothers. We tend so often to like the same things, and dislike the same things. I, too, enjoy Calvino’s work, and “If On A Winter’s Night a Traveler” qualifies as one of my all-time favorite novels. (Anyone out there who hasn’t read it — go pick it up and start reading NOW!) I also really agree with you about “Einstein’s Dreams.” We have three copies, I think, one signed. It’s an amazing little work of art.

  3. Marion, I read that Penman mystery series. Justin de Quincy is a great character. I adored him. I have to read those again. It’s been a longtime.

  4. Terry,
    We do share the same taste, “great taste” I have to say :)

    And to anyone who saw her comment, I absolutely second the command to go read If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler, which also ranks as one of my all time favorites, and it isn’t’ even my favorite Calvino (that would be Invisible Cities) which tells you how much I love Calvino

  5. Okay, Bill, that’s where we part company: I found Invisible Cities tedious, and had trouble making myself finish it. After the charm of If On A Winter’s Night, I was most disappointed. The problem for me, I think, is that it just went on too long — while the conceipt was interesting for the first 50 pages or so, it palled after that.

    I hope you won’t disown me!

  6. No, you can stay in the family Terry. At least until you tell me the Twilight series is better than Calvino :)

  7. Oy. Give me a bit more credit than that!

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