Sunday Status Update: May 29, 2016

This week, Supergirl with another instance of Alien World Problems.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Supergirl: I sleepwalk occasionally. I don’t like to mention it too often, because people seem to get a little concerned when they hear me say so. And I get it. I do. When most people sleepwalk, they just kind of do what they’d do anyway in their day-to-day lives. Sort of roam around, turn lights on and off. I knew someone once who made sandwiches when she sleepwalked. Aside from a bit of spoiled mayonnaise, there’s rarely any real harm done. But then there’s me. I spend my days flying around at mach 3 and punching things really hard. So I am both a lot more mobile and a lot more damaging than your average somnambulist. I woke up outside an Arby’s in Kentucky once. Apparently everything was closed but the drivethrough, but I tried the door anyway. Apart from the door being off its hinges, there wasn’t any real problem — they tickled me awake with a dust mop grasped at the extreme further end (just in case I, you know, flinched or something). I don’t remember what excuse I gave; I think I blamed it on some kind of Kryptonian trance mumbo jumbo, though as I was flannel pajamas at the time I’m not sure how convincing I was. Like I say, though, overall I’ve really been quite restrained on the rare occasions when it happens. Overall. Generally. Mm. So anyway, to come right down to the point of this little explanation, uh… yeah, so… remember when six counties in Michigan still had electricity yesterday evening and now they kind of don’t? Yeahhhh, about that…

Bill: This week I finished two series. Justin Cronin’s City of Mirrors, albeit a bit overlong, nicely wrapped up his not-at-all-sparkly vampire trilogy, while Daniel Abraham’s The Spider’s War brought to a satisfactory close his excellent THE DAGGER AND THE COIN series. Abraham just might be my favorite fantasy author writing today, so if you have not read him, get thee to our author page for him for ideas of where to start. I also read J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Story of Kullervo, and while I liked seeing the clear connection to Turin and enjoyed the lectures and notes this one I’d recommend just for the diehard fans/completists. Unfortunately, I couldn’t recommend at all Kameron Hurley’s collection of writing, The Geek Feminist Revolution, finding it just too flat stylistically and familiar in terms of content. Finally, outside the genre I read Mark Kurlanskys Paper, a history of, well, paper. This one was just OK, with some interesting bits about paper’s development, though I actually often found the surrounding historical context more interesting

Brad: My reading this week was eclectic: I read The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton, a history of The Grateful Dead (So Many Roads), a biography of Montaigne, a book on moral philosophy (Justice by Michael J. Sandel), an overview of Western Mysticism (Magic and Mysticism: An Introduction to Western Esoteric Traditions), part of The Noonday Demon (a book on depression), and a book on how our brains make decisions and process information (Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman). I also read some of Montaigne’s Essays and dipped into some Seneca (who was a major influence on Montaigne). No fiction for me this week.

Jana: This week I read The Ruby Airship, the second book in Sharon Gosling‘s DIAMOND THIEF trilogy, and wrote up a quick FanLit review. I also re-read Alex Marshall‘s A Crown for Cold Silver in preparation for reading A Blade of Black Steel, the second novel in his CRIMSON EMPIRE trilogy, which was just recently published. A Crown for Cold Silver was actually better the second time around, and I have very high hopes for the next installment. Beyond that, I’m trying to dig my way out of a massive Spring/Summer Projects list, which involves a lot of work around the house and yard when the weather permits, and I’m giving consideration to which books I’ll want to re-read for pleasure over the summer.

Kat: It took me a long time to read one short book last week: Spider Robinson’s Stardance, which inexplicably won the Nebula Award for best novel of 1977. I’ve got big project due at work this week, and then some company coming, so not much time for reading.

Kate: As the school year was ending, I wasn’t doing that much reading. However, with my long drives, I got lots of listening done. And, after 18 hours, I finally finished the recent translation of The Tale of Tales, by Giambattista Basile, translated by Nancy Canepa. The Penguin Audio version of this book is done with at least 13 different narrators and captures the strange, silly tales at their best. This past week, I also finished two Cherry Wilder books, part of the RULERS OF HYLOR series being re-issued by Open Road. Finally, I have started E. Catherine Tobler’s The Kraken Sea, which is due out from Apex Books in a week or two. Haven’t gotten too far in, but already I’m fascinated with the blend of historical fiction and mythological tropes I’m seeing.

Kevin: Exam week is over, and I’m graduating soon! I’m very excited for summer, since this is the time of year when I get most of my reading done. I’ve been re-reading George R. R. Martin’s A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, AKA Game of Thrones, series, and am now on book four. It’s not quite as exciting as my first read through – in fact, it’s a lot slower than I remember it to be. In the meantime, I highly recommend checking out Sylvain Neuvel’s Sleeping Giants, which my colleagues recently gushed about in their reviews, and which I am now gushing about as well! Truly fantastic work there. To top that off, I’ve been reading Lois McMaster Bujold’s MILES VORKOSIGAN SAGA. I definitely recommend the first few books (chronologically speaking) in the series, at least the ones about Miles. These last few instalments haven’t been quite up to expectations.

Marion: Most of my reading this week was of works in manuscript, but I did read a comic book (Archangel by William Gibson), and I’m still reading Steven Erikson’s Gardens of the Moon. The one character who engaged my interest, Tattersail, has left the book, but now I’m kind of liking the Musketeer-like quartet in the city of Darujhistan, so I am reading on with great interest. Is it a bad sign that the bad/mad puppet reminds of Chuckie now?

Sandy: Moi? I am just about finished reading Poul Anderson’s classic novel of hyperaccelerated IQs on a worldwide scale, Brain Wave (1954), and hope to get a review of this one out shortly. Up next for me will most likely be Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer’s famous novel of 1932, When Worlds Collide. I wasn’t overly fond of the 1950s filmization and am hoping for better things from the original source…

Stuart: This week I listened to Robert J. Sawyer‘s 1995 Nebula Award winner The Terminal Experiment. This was such a weak book – a sub-standard Michael Crichton mainstream thriller that has not aged well. But it featured some cool ideas about digital copies of consciousness that were covered in such mind-blowing depth in Greg Egan‘s Permutation CityThey had gone completely over my head, which bugged me, so I gave it another try this week. It really has amazing concepts, so I revamped my review and bumped it up to 4 stars. Next on my list is C.J. Cherryh‘s 1982 Hugo Award winner Downbelow Station, which I’ve had on the TBR list for 3 decades. In comics I’m reading Vol 6: Fables and Reflections of Neil Gaiman‘s SANDMAN series, which is a return to form.


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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. Kevin, I love the early books about Miles, even the outright silly ones like CETAGANDA. The later ones in the series, starting with A CIVIL CAMPAIGN have not worked for me at all. On the other hand, I thought PALADIN OF SOULS was wonderful.

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