Tim Scheidler

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.

Sunday Status Update: December 13, 2020

Kat: This week was the last week of my semester and I was busy with grading and other end-of-the-semester stuff. I didn’t get anything finished, but I’m working on Bob Proehl’s The Somebody People which is the sequel to last year’s The Nobody People. I like this one better.


Bill: This was a great week, as I read four excellent works: Remote Control, a novella by Nnedi Okorafor; The Mask of Mirrors, by M.A. Carrick, The Only Good Indians by Read More

Sunday Status Update: December 6, 2020

Jana: Sorry you haven’t heard much from me lately! The last few weeks have been rather busy, but I did manage to read Sofiya Pasternack’s Anya and the Dragon and its sequel, Anya and the Nightingale, both of which are entertaining MG books. I also started reading Sarah Gailey’s upcoming novel The Echo Wife, and am very much looking forward to discussing it with Tadiana and Kelly.


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Sunday Status Update: November 29, 2020

Kat: Since you heard from me a couple of weeks ago, I've re-read Arkady & Boris Strugatsky's Monday Starts on Saturday. This time I'll get it reviewed. Also read Chloe Neill's The Bright and Breaking Sea (first book in a new series), K. Eason's How the Multiverse Got its Revenge (sequel to How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse), and Andrzej Sapkowski's The Tower of Fools (first in a new ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 22, 2020

Marion: It was not a good week for reading because I had writing to accomplish, but on Wednesday I started Hilary Mandel’s The Mirror and the Light, the third book about Thomas Cromwell.


 

Bill:This was an eclectic week of reading, which included:

Brian Naslund’s quite good (and often laugh-out-loud funny) Sorcery of A Queen  (review soon to come)
Virginia Postrel’s interesting The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World
Rick Barot’s excellent poetry collection The Galleons
Kristina Moriconi’s lovely Read More

The Guinevere Deception: King Arthur’s a hot teen. Must be Tuesday.

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

At this point, I think the teen heartthrob version of King Arthur might be displacing the venerable monarch version. Between that BBC Merlin series, Avalon High, and the seemingly never-ending Mordred in Leather Pants novels that just keep coming and coming like my own personal karmic retribution, people just seem to have a lot of interest in Young Arthur lately. It's probably a symptom of our youth-obsessed culture or something. I tell you, back in the good old days, young Arthur got shamed — shamed! — for his beardless face. Granted, in this case "the good old days" means Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, so perhaps a bit of change is to be expected by now.

Grumpy Arthurian fanboy that I am, I sigh over the trend but also can't stop myself from reading anything Arthur-related that comes under my nose. Which brings us to Read More

Battle Ground: Pretty much what it says on the tin

Battle Ground by Jim Butcher

THE DRESDEN FILES is a weird series, even for urban fantasy. My go-to example for non-aficionados is a wizard riding a polka-powered zombie T-rex through downtown Chicago, and that's not even the wackiest thing that's happened. So it's saying something when I have to acknowledge that the series is in a weird place right now. Maybe I should call it weird plus. Weird squared?

For once, though, when I say "weird," I'm not talking about the content so much as the form. The DRESDEN books have generally followed a pretty straightforward formula: Harry Dresden (wizard private eye, basically) is minding his own business when life ambushes him with at least two crises at once. In the process of juggling his A and B stories (and trying to figure out which is which), Dresden uncovers some kind of complication or dastardly adversary. After a heartfelt discussion with a friend over his doubts that ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 15, 2020

Kat: I’ve been distracted by the news, as usual, plus my work, but I did manage to read a couple of books in the last two weeks. K.J. Parker’s How to Rule and Empire and Get Away With It was a sequel of sorts to his (better) Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City. After the U.S. election I read Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, which was enlightening. Basically, research shows that (1) liberals are more “ Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 8, 2020

Marion: I finished the wonderful Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse, and how I’m browsing the Nov/Dec issue of F&SF Magazine. Effective with the spring, 2021 issue that magazine will have a new editor, Sheree Renee Thomas, as C.C. Finlay retires. I’m curious about what changes that will bring.


Bill: This week in between student papers and election-watching I read two DC comics reference books by Robert Greenberger:  Batman:  100 Greatest Moments and Flash:  100 Gre... Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 1, 2020

Jana: This week I read The Penguin Book of Witches, and thought it was a really excellent resource, though I wish that Katherine Howe had been able to provide more historical context and present-minded commentary on the various “eyewitness accounts” and historical documents. I also started reading Meet Me In the Future, Kameron Hurley’s 2019 collection of short stories, and I’m re-reading Sofiya Pasternack’s Anya and the Dragon in preparation for its soon-to-be-published sequel, Any... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 25, 2020

Jana: This week involved a lot of cold-weather prep at my house, so I didn’t get a lot of time to sit in front of my keyboard, unfortunately. But I did get a little farther into The Very Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan, and am still enjoying myself, and I made the very questionable choice of reading through T. Kingfisher’s The Twisted Ones in installments before bed. It’s a great book! Just, you know, not so great to lie awake thinking about in the dark.


Bill: This week I read the good if jargony Att... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 18, 2020

Jana: This week was a fairly productive one for me, so I’m pleased. I finished V.E. Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, got a few reviews taken care of, and began reading Alix E. Harrow’s The Once and Future Witches alongside The Very Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 11, 2020

Jana: This week I finished Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education, and I’m so excited to see what happens in the next book! I’m about halfway through V.E. Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, which is a thoroughly enjoyable and engrossing story. And next up is Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 4, 2020

Jana: This week I began reading Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education, and to no one’s surprise (including my own) I love it, love everything she’s doing with her extraordinarily deadly magical school and our anti-heroine El Higgins. I also started reading V.E. Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, and am delighted by how the narrative is unfolding. For my “read one story a day” exercise, I opened up the Ellen Datlow-edited Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories, and am looking forward to all kinds of spooky tales throughout October.

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Sunday Status Update: September 27, 2020

Jana: This week I read Juliet Marillier’s The Harp of Kings, a mostly-engaging fantasy set at some vague distant point in Ireland’s druid-filled past. I also finished Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe’s anthology The Mythic Dream, and I would say 95% of the stories were absolutely amazing, while the other 5% were extremely good. Not a bad ratio, all things considered! This week I’ll be reading Naomi Novik’s latest novel, A Deadly Education, and Daniel Pinkwater’s novella Adventures ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 20, 2020

Jana: This week I started The Mythic Dream, an anthology of classic myths retold by contemporary authors, edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe. Thus far, each of the stories is wonderful, and I’ve only read about a third of them! I also read R.B. Lemberg’s first BIRDVERSE novella, The Four Profound Weaves, which is beautifully written, and I’m very much looking forward to reading more stories set in this universe. Next up is Juliet Marillier’s The Harp of Kings, the first book in her WARRIOR BARDS series.
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Sunday Status Update: September 13, 2020

Jana: This week I read Kit Rocha’s Deal With the Devil, a post-apocalyptic urban fantasy about mercenary librarians and super-soldiers that has some well-written fight scenes. I’m nearly finished with Jonathan Strahan’s The Year’s Best Science Fiction Vol. 1: The Saga Anthology of Science Fiction 2020, and I started reading Erin Morgenstern’s The Starless Sea, which is lovely and dream-like.

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Sunday Status Update: September 6, 2020

Jana: This week, while still working my way through Jonathan Strahan’s The Year’s Best Science Fiction Vol. 1: The Saga Anthology of Science Fiction 2020, I also read Marie Brennan’s Driftwood and Kit Rocha’s Deal With the Devil; I enjoyed Brennan’s novella (no surprise there) and thought Rocha’s post-apocalyptic bands of mercenaries traveling around the wilds of northern Georgia and southern Tennessee had some interesting spins on both urban fantasy and romance tropes.

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Sunday Status Update: August 30, 2020

Jana: This week I’m still reading Jonathan Strathan’s upcoming The Year’s Best Science Fiction Vol. 1: The Saga Anthology of Science Fiction 2020. My speed is one story per day, so that they stay distinct in my memory. I’m also reading Matt Ruff’s Lovecraft Country and really enjoying it; Ruff has a deft hand with the blend of meta-fiction, horror, humor, and social commentary at play.

Kat: You haven't heard from me in a month because I've been so busy working on... Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 23, 2020

Jana: This week I’m reading Kate Elliott’s latest novel, Unconquerable Sun, the first book in THE SUN CHRONICLES, a trilogy most frequently described as “gender-flipped Alexander the Great in space.” I’m also reading Jonathan Strathan’s upcoming The Year’s Best Science Fiction Vol. 1: The Saga Anthology of Science Fiction 2020; since most of the stories in this collection are new to me, I’m discovering some interesting gems.

Kelly: I read The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi this week. I loved their 2019 YA novel, Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 16, 2020

Jana: This week I’m reading Stephen Graham Jones’ The Only Good Indians; it’s well-written and fast-paced, which I appreciate in a horror novel, and it’s set in Montana’s elk country, so for once (huzzah?) I’m on somewhat-familiar ground for the terrible things that are happening. Not that my imagination-software is buggy, but it’s really neat to read a horror story that involves people, activities, and locations I actually have some experience with.

 

Kelly: I’m in the home stretch of Andrea Hairston’s Master ... Read More

Gideon the Ninth: Macabre & original

Reposting to include Tim's new review.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Necromancers and their sword-fighting cavaliers star in Gideon the Ninth (2019), Tamsyn Muir’s radically original debut novel, which has been nominated for the 2019 Nebula Award. This science fantasy novel, steeped in an atmosphere of decay and decrepitude, is a mix of space opera and a gruesome treasure hunt that takes place in a spooky, crumbling castle. At the same time, it’s set in an interstellar empire consisting of nine planets, each one ruled by a different House of necromancers.

Eighteen-year-old Gideon Nav is trying to escape her forced servitude in the particularly moribund Ninth House, where she’s surrounded by living skeletons and corpses and near-dead nobles and nuns who pray on knucklebones. Gideon’s escape plan involves sneaking off the entire Ninth planet in a space shut... Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 9, 2020

Jana: This week was chockablock with non-FanLit responsibilities, so I had much less time for getting reviews wrapped up than I wanted (harrumph). I was able to squeeze in a few reading hours for Tamsyn Muir’s Harrow the Ninth, though, and it was incredibly difficult to pull myself away each time.

Kelly: So, Tamsyn Muir’s Harrow the Ninth came out this week, a... Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 2, 2020

Jana: This week I read Nancy Kress’ recent novella, Sea Change, which packs a lot of story, social commentary, and very-near-future environmental concerns in an economical package. I also began reading Tamsyn Muir’s Harrow the Ninth, realized that I wanted to read the last few chapters of Gideon the Ninth in order to be sure that I remembered who was locked i... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 26, 2020

Jana: This week I finished Katherine Addison’s The Angel of the Crows (which got better as it went along, thankfully). I also read Kathleen Jennings’ Flyaway, a very strange and hauntingly written novella set in Australia; I’m still not quite sure what I think of it. I’m mid-way through Colin Dickey’s The Unidentified: Mythical Monsters, Alien Encounters, and Our Obsession with the Unexplained, and I’m enjoying the ways in which Dickey examines humanity’s desire to experience wonder in ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 19, 2020

Jana: This week I read Zen Cho’s novella The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water, and it was lovely, of course. I’m currently reading Katherine Addison’s The Angel of the Crows, and as much as I’m enjoying Addison’s world-building and descriptive talents, I have to agree with Bill and Tadian... Read More

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