Sunday Status Update: July 5, 2020

Jana: This week I read The Menace from Farside, a novella published in 2019 as the latest instalment in Ian McDonald’s LUNA universe, which was enjoyable, but it’s been long enough since I read the actual trilogy of novels that I kept distracting myself by wondering how the events in the novella affected or were affected by the preceding books. My fault, not McDonald’s. Also, I started reading Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Fated Sky (after re-reading “We Interrupt This Broadcast” and “Articulated Restraint”), and I don’t think anyone will be surprised to hear that I’m thoroughly enjoying Kowals’ prose and storytelling.

Bill: This week I read Tamysn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth follow-up, Harrow the Ninth which unfortunately I found quite the slog. I also read Jo Walton’s Or What You Will, which had its moments but generally was mildly disappointing. My best read this week was Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World by Sarah Steward Johnson, an excellent, beautifully written, and too short (I say that rarely) record of her astrobiology work on NASA ‘s Mars missions for. In video, my son and I watched Looper, one of the more enjoyable time travel films, and I finally got around to finishing season two of Star Trek: Discovery, which overall I’d say was a mixed bag (that “finally” shows I didn’t find it particularly compelling).

Kat: Since you heard from me two weeks ago, I’ve read: Light of Impossible Stars by Gareth L. Powell, City of Lies by Sam Hawke, The Last Curtain Call by Juliet Blackwell, Hella by David Gerrold, Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Across a Billion Years by Robert Siverberg, By the Sword by Mercedes Lackey, and The Room Where it Happened by John Bolton. Oh, and a couple of the Retro Hugo short stories.

Kelly: I’m still working my way through Robert Graves’s The Golden Fleece. It’s quite dense and written in an intentionally old-fashioned style, so it’s taking me a bit. Meanwhile, I’ve been curling up and relaxing with Mama Day by Gloria Naylor. Published in the late 80s, it’s an intergenerational story about family and magic set on an island that’s not quite in South Carolina and not quite in Georgia. I think next I’ll go back to Shadowshaper Legacy, the final SHADOWSHAPER book by Daniel José Older; I started it earlier this year but life intervened.

Marion: I finally finished A Book of Bones by John Connolly. In his Afterword, Connolly thanks his editors and says that if anyone thinks the book is too long to blame him. So, I’m blaming him. It’s too long. After that I read Molly Tanzer’s Creatures of Want and Ruin, the second book in her DIABOLIST TRILOGY . (The books are linked by theme, not by plot.) I enjoyed Ellie, the scrappy rum-runner main character, and delighted in the final climactic sequence that pays homage to the pulp-era stories found in Amazing Stories or Argosy.

Tadiana: In the last two weeks I’ve read Kameron Hurley’s SF novel The Light Brigade, a MilSF novel that struck me as (in part) an update and commentary on Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, as well as — entirely due to Kat’s review — Alastair Reynolds’ novella Permafrost, which I enjoyed greatly. Both of these Locus award-nominated books have a strong time-travel element, which I’m always a sucker for when it’s done well (and sometimes even when it’s not handled so well). One of Isaac Asimov’s short stories, “The Wedge,” is a Retro Hugo nominee that I wanted to read. It turns out that that story eventually became part of Foundation as the “Traders” chapters, so I dusted off my ancient paperback copy of Foundation (seriously, it’s probably over 40 years old) and decided to just reread the whole darn thing while I was at it. I’m about ¾ done and just now hitting the Traders chapters.

Terry: After a few weeks in which I had almost no time for reading, I’ve now got hours and hours every day; yes, I’m on staycation! I’ve finished Sailing to Sarantium by Guy Gavriel Kay and Running Against the Devil by Rick Wilson. I’m having a great time with John Langan’s latest collection, Children of the Fang and Other Genealogies. I’ve also started three new books:  Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi; Savage Legion  by Matt Wallace; and The Man of the Hour by Peter Blauner. Having fun with all these different genres, bouncing among them!


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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. Tadiana, glad you enjoyed Permafrost.

  2. Bill– HARROW THE NINTH is a slog! Oh, Noooooooo!

    • Well, I was an outlier on book one, so take it with a grain of salt . . .

    • I’ve got a copy of Harrow and need to read it one of these days. I’ll keep an open mind, especially since I liked the first book so much more than Bill did. :)

      • you were far from alone in that! It’ll help to refresh your memory of Gideon, as one strand kinda sorta revisits those events at pretty good length throughout Harrow. Not essential, but I was glad I read Harrow only a few days after finishing Gideon.

    • Paul Connelly /

      Rats! I’ve been looking forward to Harrow too, so hopefully this is just a matter of differing tastes. There are only about a dozen books that I’m looking forward to through the end of the year, and Harrow was one. Somehow it seems that as more and more books get published, fewer and fewer of them sound appealing to me…

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