Sunday Status Update: June 26, 2016

This week, She-who-must-not-be-named attends a party, because sometimes waiting eternally for your lost love gets tedious.

Ayesha: Week 148,345. A few days back, some of the tribe had some kind of feast day in my honor. I honestly can’t keep track of what I’m supposed to be blessing this time, but I sampled some of the wine, and it was surprisingly decent, so I had some more. The night gets a little hazy after that, but I seem to recall giving an impromptu lecture on the philosophy of religious expression in agrarian communities (which I’m going to assume no one understood, judging by the fact that I am still apparently being worshiped). Ended up falling asleep on my throne. Woke up the next day with a colossal hangover and a taste in my mouth like something died at the back of my throat. I’d apparently slopped a lot of wine on myself, my hair was a mess, and all in all I looked like a catastrophe. That was the moment when my giddy little priestess (still drunk, somehow) told me Kallikrates had just arrived. Had a moment of absolute panic until I realized she was joking. Then I blasted her, obviously. Impertinent little twit.

Bill: This week I finished:
Seven Skeletons by Lydia Pyne, an interesting and informative examination of seven famous hominid skeletons such as Lucy, Flo (the “hobbit”), Piltdown Man, etc. and what they say about our ancestry and our changing views about our origins, as well as how they intersected with popular culture and the arts.

Two fantasies (to be named later) as part of our ongoing SPFBO

Currently I am in the middle of:
A Sea of Glass by Drew Harvell about a stunning collection of 19th Century glass reproductions of marine invertebrates and her attempt to find how they fare in today’s world of climate change, pollution, etc. (some sadly may no longer exist). It’s not only fascinating but gorgeously illustrated.

The Swan Book by Alexis Wright, an Australian award winner set in a world of post-climate change turmoil. Not sure how I feel about it yet, though I’m loving some aspects.

Jana: This week I read Erika Johansen‘s The Queen of the Tearling, which I’ve been meaning to read for a while, especially since Rachael and Marion reviewed it positively; also, because I received a review copy of the sequel, The Invasion of the Tearling, and these are books that definitely need to be read in sequence. I’ve started a bunch of books that I need to sit down and finish so that I can review them — Wolf’s Empire: Gladiator, by Claudia Christian and Morgan Grant Buchanan; A Blade of Black Steel, by Alex Marshall; Stiletto, by Daniel O’Malley, which is a sequel/stand-alone in his ROOK series — all of which are very large, dense books requiring an investment of time that isn’t always feasible for me in the summer, when there’s just so much to be done outside. But I’m making progress with each of them, and I hope to have reviews lined up shortly.

Kat: I am struggling to get much reading done lately. I thought I’d have plenty of time this summer, but I’m a lot busier than I expected I’d be. (This is always the case. You’d think I’d learn.) Currently I’m reading a long science fiction epic: Peter F. Hamilton’s The Reality Dysfunction. I’m also reading the books we’re reviewing for Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off. We’ll be announcing the winner of our first round on Thursday. I’m already reading the novels for our second round. There are some good books here… but there are some pretty bad ones, too.

Marion: I finished Lian Hearn’s alternate-Japan fantasy Emperor of the Eight Islands and I’m about halfway through the second book, Autumn Princess, Dragon Child, which picks up right where Book One ended. I also finished Shadowshapers by Daniel Jose Older, which is totally deserving of all the accolades it got last year when it came out. It’s a five-star book for me and a review will be showing up soon. I also enjoyed Jackaby; Beastly Bones, the second JACKABY book by William Ritter, and it was good fantasy fun.

Ryan: This week, I began reading Kim Stanley Robinson‘s Green Mars, which will probably take much of the summer to read as it is very long and often dense. Still, I’m excited to read it as KSR’s best work always pushes me outside of my sense of self. I also watched X-Men: Apocalypse this week. For a movie in which multiple characters dress like Michael J. Fox did in the 80s, it is surprisingly dull — unless you enjoy films in which characters stand still while things rise around them.

Sandy: Moi? I have just finished reading Philip Wylie & Edwin Balmer’s 1934 classic After Worlds Collide, the sequel to When Worlds Collide, and hope to get a review for this one out very shortly. Next up for me will most likely be the first novel that Clifford D. Simak wrote, his 1950 offering The Cosmic Engineers … unless something else lures me in beforehand, that is…

Stuart: We’ve been traveling in London, Oxford, St. Albans, Birmingham, and Wimbledon over the last two weeks, soaking up British culture and meeting friends, but on our last day voters chose to leave the EU, which was a major shocker. The impact will not be immediately clear, but its likely to affect Europe for years to come. During the trip (mostly on planes and trains) I’ve been plowing through C.J. Cherryh‘s hefty 36-hour 1989 Hugo Award winner Cyteen, which is also set in her Alliance-Union universe. It’s an exhaustive and exhausting listening experience, all about cloning, genetic selection for high intelligence, and very complex political machinations. It’s not an easy listen, but is a very rigorous exercise in serious SF. Next I plan to listen to N.K. Jemisin‘s DREAMBLOOD two-book series.


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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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One comment

  1. Wow, Stuart, what a fascinating time to be in the UK!!

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