Sunday Status Update: June 25, 2017

This week Supergirl goes to Themyscira, home of Wonder Woman, and I go on way too long making fun of poor old silver age comic books.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Supergirl: This week I went to Themyscira, island of the Amazon warriors. It was fun and all, but the Amazon leading me around (she was called Artemis or something) seemed a little hazy on the actual details. She was eager to show me the training rounds where the Amazons learned to be the greatest warriors in the world, but then she started telling me about how they’re pacifists and they sent Wonder Woman as an emissary to end the animal struggles of mere human beings. That didn’t make sense to me.

“Wait,” I said, “so… you were separated from humans for thousands of years.”

“Uh huh.”

“And you live in a pacifist utopia.”

“That’s right.”

“And you’re the best warriors in the world.”

“We certainly are!”

“Uh… why?”

“How’s that?” said Artemis.

“Why?” I repeated. “If you’re a pacifist utopia and you had no contact with humans for thousands of years, why did you keep training to fight? For that matter, why do you have this whole military monarchy thing going? Why? What was the point? Did you think you were going to be under attack?”

“Uh, well, no, because the goddesses bestowed their blessings on the island, defending it from all comers who would dare to despoil the bounties of… ”

“So did the goddesses tell you to be a military culture?”

“Um… not in so many words. But there was Ares, and… well, sometimes there was Ares. Or, there’s this other idea that we were the defenders of humanity… or something… ”

“But… you’re pacifists.”

“Oh yes.”

“Right. How did you pick Wonder Woman to represent pacifism, anyway? She uses a sword all the time.”

“We… had a fighting tournament.”

“A fighting tournament. To decide on an ambassador for peace.”

“… yes.”

“You people have no idea what you’re all about, do you?”

“Shut up.”

Brad: This week I finally finished the 65+ issues of Preacher by Garth Ennis. I also finished rereading Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore, one of the greatest series ever written (featuring a fully developed lesbian character, a rare occurrence in comics at the time it was written–and even now I suppose). I’ve started Freakangels by Warren Ellis, but mainly, as usual, I just hop from issue to issue in about thirty different series: Here are a few of the series I’ve been reading: The Vision, Hellboy, Wayward, Black Science, East of West, Hawkeye, Elephantmen, Injection, Nova, Motor Girl, Alters (about a trans superhero), Concrete, The Lonesome Go, andThe Li’l Depressed Boy.

Kat: This week I read Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory. That was a lot of fun. I revisited Lois McMaster Bujold‘s FIVE GODS world with her latest novella, Mira’s Last Dance. The audio versions of this series are particularly nice. Currently I’m halfway through Tad WilliamsThe Witchwood Crown, a new book in his popular epic fantasy series MEMORY, SORROW, & THORN. which was published about 25 years ago. I am certain that Williams’ fans will be pleased with this one.

Marion: I finished Victor LaValle’s dark and brilliant novel The Changeling, which is a five-star book. For a change of pace in more than one respect I followed that with a book from 2005, The Geographer’s Library, that a friend pointed out to me in a second-hand bookstore. The Geographer’s Library is general fiction with a sprinkle of thriller glitter on it, written by Jon Fasman who is probably best known now as a writer and editor for The Economist. The prose is well-done with many moments of cleverness and brilliance; the pace leisurely, the scope global with a focus on Asia and the countries that were part of the former Soviet Union. The McGuffin is a collection of alchemical objects, being collected/stolen by a modern-day secret society. One of my favorite quotations is that “spice sellers and storytellers… had an unnatural power over the memory.” A passage that made me snort came when the protagonist’s ex-girlfriend remembered how he would just sit, “Like a sponge” when she was talking. He would just listen. Yeah.. because what every woman hates is a boyfriend who listens. Still, I liked much more than I disliked, and I think I’ll track down his second book, The Unpossessed City.

Sandy: Moi? Having just finished three books by Philip K. Dick, three by Clifford D. Simak, three by Eric Frank Russell, three by John Wyndham and three by Edmond Hamilton, I now hope to knock off three by Isaac Asimov, as my little Triplets Project continues. First up for me: one of his books that I haven’t read in many years, Pebble In the Sky (1950). I greatly look forward to refamiliarizing myself with this one…

Stuart: I’m on holiday this week in the Japanese countryside visiting my wife’s parents and sister on Shimane Prefecture, known as the Land of the Gods, and surrounded by rice fields, mountains, the ocean, and tons of sushi and other great Japanese food. It’s my first real break since the herniated disk, and much needed. My only reading material is a U.K. Financial Regulations Handbook, so I doubt I’ll write a review of that.

Terry: I finished Maplecroft by Cherie Priest this week, and am now thinking of investing in a nice, sharp ax. I’ve since been bouncing from book to book, reading a little of this and a little of that:  Whispered Echoes by Paul F. Olson, a collection of horror stories that seems very promising so far; And I Darken by Kiersten White, a young adult vampire novel that has a good viewpoint character but is slow getting off the ground; and Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth, which has some great worldbuilding so far. I’m also still occasionally dipping into My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier, Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach, This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab and Feedback by Mira Grant.  I have a ridiculous number of books cued up for “next” as well. Fortunately, I’m going on vacation at the end of the week, and should have some good, uninterrupted time to read, which is a joy that comes along with too little frequency.

Tim: This week, I finally finished Kij Johnson‘s The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, which was very good. I also began reading John Crowley‘s Little, Big. It’s also very good, though not a little bizarre so far. I have the feeling that this might be one of those novels I should have bought in print rather than audiobook.


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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. Stuart, regarding the U.K. Financial Regulations Handbook, there is a big controversy about it over on Twitter. One faction says that it is the most dense, multi-layered book of the summer; the other side says it is derivative and lacks any compelling characters. I think you should weigh in on this issue.

    • sandy ferber /

      Sounds like it might be a little too dry for me; think I’ll wait for the film adaptation….

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