Sunday Status Update: June 21, 2015

Character update is on break this week.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews João: Not much reading done this week, mostly due to this being the last two weeks of this semester and me studying for five exams all at the same time, and because the book I am reading is Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, which so far has been somewhat of a bore. Maybe this isn’t the right time to tackle this book, and I knew it would be a slow read from the start, and yes, it doesn’t help that the first 300 pages are about a character who is designed to be as boring as anyone can be, but I will still keep on moving forward because I want to be able to form my own opinion of this one based on my reading of it all. Maybe now that Strange is appearing it will get more interesting.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kat: My kids are on summer vacation, so my daughter and I had some time to listen to a couple of audiobooks while we worked on a jigsaw puzzle together this week. We read two books by Cornelia Funke: The Thief Lord (we loved it) and Igraine the Brave (which was cute). Then we tried Robert A. Heinlein’s Red Planet, a book I remember loving when I was a kid. My daughter gave up on it. I finished it and realized that the reason I remember loving the book was mostly because I loved one of the alien characters, not so much the story (my daughter felt the same way). I also read the next book in Catherine Asaro’s SKOLIAN EMPIRE series: Ascendant Sun. It’s erotic space opera. Ick.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kate: This week I’ve been re-reading Dennis Mahoney’s Bell Weather, gearing up to review what is one of the most atmospheric novels I’ve ever read. I’ve also started reading Catherynne M. Valente‘s Speak Easy, which is just lovely and lyrical. Last night I fell asleep reading it and dreamed in prose poetry all night long. Finally, I’ve been listening to some Beneath Ceaseless Skies stories on their online podcast. So good!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kevin: I’ve been out of town a lot recently, so not much chance for reading (I only take non-fiction with me on trips unless it’s a long one). After discovering Seth Dickinson’s The Traitor Baru Cormorant, I think I have a new all-time favorite. I did also get through Huxley’s Brave New World, Rawn’s Dragon Prince, and a few other titles. Review and interview with Dickinson coming soon! Other than that, a belated happy best friends day! Hope everyone isn’t too upset with season 5 of Game of Thrones. More reading coming in the near future!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Marion: I finished Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I didn’t love the 1980s, but this book made me enjoy them a bit, retroactively. Right now I’m reading Sisters of the Revolution, an anthology of feminist fiction edited by Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer. Some of the stories I read when they first come out but many are new to me.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Ryan: This week, I visited my parents, so I read only a little. I still have bookmarks in Kim Stanley Robinson‘s The Years of Salt and Rice and Robert Charles Wilson‘s Blind Lake. I also started reading Bill Bryson’s At Home.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Sandy: Moi? I have just finished reading a terrific trio of James Bond short stories, Ian Fleming’s posthumous Octopussy collection, but that is hardly in the realm of our interests here. More to the point, I have just begun reading a book that I have long wanted to get into, Edmond “The World Wrecker” Hamilton’s The Star Kings, a swashbuckling space opera from 1949 that is generally quite highly regarded. I’m expecting great things from this one…

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Stuart: This week was dedicated to listening to Joseph Heller’s famous satire on war, bureaucracy, and hypocrisy, Catch-22. It was narrated by actor Jay O. Sanders, and he does an amazing job with over a dozen characters, giving each a distinct voice and tone. Being a satire of the absurd contradictions we subject ourselves to everyday, it’s really funny in a dark and subversive way. Written back in 1961, well before the counter-culture revolution and Vietnam War, it’s pretty ahead of its time, except for its deplorable depiction of women as weak-minded, pliant sex objects for the male characters. I’m starting to think almost no books from that era treat women with respect. Other than that, it was an excellent book, though perhaps overlong. Next on the list is reading Brian W. Aldiss’ Hothouse (1962) and listening to Ready Player One (2011) by Ernest Cline narrated by Wil Wheaton to prepare for his follow-up Armada coming next month!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Terry: My reading time has been rationed the past week, so I’m still reading the same two books I was reading last week, though I expect to finish both of them over the weekend.  I also started The Great Bazaar & Brayan’s Gold by Peter V. Brett, which is encouraging me to launch  myself into Brett’s series.  I’m also reading the short stories nominated for the Hugo Award, and hope to have a column about them for you on Monday.  I sure wish my available reading time would increase to equal my available reading!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Tim: I’ve been away attending a wedding, so what with the impromptu family reunion I got very little reading done. I have, however, been continuing with Tanith Lee‘s The Birthgrave. It shows some signs of the usual first novel issues, but it’s still exciting and well-crafted so far.


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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. Sandy, The star kings was one of the very first SF books I read (decades ago) and it was great unadulterated fun. My favorite character was, of course, the bad guy : Shorr Kan – what a name!

    • Sandy Ferber /

      Hi, Helene. I’ve only read short stories by Edmond Hamilton before; this is the first full-length piece of his that I’ve gotten my hands on. I must say, though, that the book has really sucked me right in from the very beginning. I have a feeling that it is going to be a real winner….

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