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Topic: 2012 SF Challenge: DECEMBER/JANUARY THREAD

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Subject: 2012 SF Challenge: DECEMBER/JANUARY THREAD
Date Posted: 12/19/2011 7:18 AM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2009
Posts: 122
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Tom's post reminded me that I forgot one of the best parts of this process - the discussion thread. Several of you have PM'd me with questions about the Challenge. Perhaps this thread is a better place for questions because others might be in the same dilemma. Also, this is a great place to get suggestions for filling a particular topic or just reviewing a book you recently read for one of the categories. I wish having two challenges this next year didn't seem so competitive, but as Tom has said, you can always do both. In any event, welcome to the 2012 SF Challenge, and I hope you enjoy reading some books that you would otherwise not be exposed to.

Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 12/23/2011 4:26 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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Are we not supposed to start the challenge until January?  Why is this Dec/Jan thread? (As you can tell, I haven't done one of these challenges before.)

Brad -
Date Posted: 12/24/2011 8:14 AM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
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Sienka- I'm not sure why that is myself, but the challenge runs from December to November.  So the 2011 challenge just ended and the 2012 challenge just started.

In responce to your question in the other thread about categories to put things in, what I did for last year's challenge (my first one) is try and find books that I wanted to read and try to match it up to a category.  Then I'd read it and put it into a category.  Often times books fit other of the categories so you can switch the book to a differnent category when you like.  I was changing the categories for my challenge quite a bit last year.

This wikipedia article was useful for me to get used to the different subgenres of Sci-Fi.



Last Edited on: 12/24/11 8:16 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/24/2011 1:34 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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A point of order: The 2011 challenge hasn't ended yet. . . it goes through December 31st. The December Thread of the 2011 challenge was up so that people could plan. . . but nobody was allowed to read until 12:01 am January 1st this year. :)

Date Posted: 12/27/2011 6:58 PM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2009
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I don't personally have a problem with anyone starting a book this month as long as you don't finish until January. I called it a Dec/Jan thread because I thought there might need to be some back-and-forth before Jan.1. As far as the approach to selecting books, I use a kind of hybrid approach. For the most part, I let the category select the book, because I probably have 1,000 SF books I haven't read yet. But every so often, I go the other way. I picked 11/22/63 because I wanted to read it, even though I have many alternate history books. Finally, I don't want the rules of this challenge to be so rigid that it quits being fun. Believe me, the best part is getting exposed to books and authors you haven't experienced before, irregardless of how many books you finish in a year.

Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 12/28/2011 2:32 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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Thanks, everyone!

Subject: picking books
Date Posted: 12/29/2011 1:07 AM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2008
Posts: 59
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Picking what books I'm going to read is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the challenge for me.  One way I pick books is to google the category or type of book and see what suggestions come up. Then I read the book overview to see if it sounds interesting and if it does I put it in the selected category.

It's an ongoing process that I enjoy doing a little bit now and a little bit later... throughout the year. I didn't change any of my books or categories I'd chosen last year. Although, there were some books I ended up not reading because they turned out to be boring. In that case, I had to choose a different book or go to a completely different category to complete my "light" challenge.

The other way I choose books is to look at the "lists only" thread and see what everyone else is reading, if it sounds interesting I add it to my list.

Last year, because of the SciFi, Fantasy & My Own challenge - I read 16 new authors to me and a total of 64 books.

What great fun!

Brad -
Date Posted: 1/11/2012 11:54 AM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 200
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"Finished" two post-apocalypse books.

Life as we Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer (Young Adult Category)
When I say "finished" I mean I'm done reading this one, I got over 200 pages in and realized I didn't care to finish the 100 or so pages left.  Nothing shocking if you read post-apocalypse books.  The moon gets knocked closer to earth, which creates climate change.  The book is told in journal style.  The story teller, a teenage girl, talks about what is happening with her area of Pennsylvaina and how it's affecting her and her family.

The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch (Work set on Earth with no space travel category)
This one I can say I finished it.  A plague ends up killing most of the US.  The book is told by a teen boy and whats happening to him.

Moving on to The City of Ember and Boneshaker.



Last Edited on: 1/11/12 11:55 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/14/2012 11:21 AM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2009
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I liked Boneshaker - very different for steampunk or alternate history. I'm reading her Dreadnought book this year. I believe it's a sequel.

Subject: China Mieville
Date Posted: 1/14/2012 11:53 AM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2008
Posts: 59
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I'd like to try reading China Mieville.

I'm looking for a recommendation, which one of his books is the best?

Date Posted: 1/15/2012 8:06 AM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2009
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I'm reading Kraken this year. I read The City and the City a year or so ago. I liked it, but it was very different from the usual - very literary for one thing. But a good mystery, in my opinion. Others on this site have given it mixed reviews.

Subject: Mieville
Date Posted: 1/15/2012 11:19 AM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
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I liked Perdido Street Station.  I hope to start Embassytown within the next few months.

Subject: China Mieville
Date Posted: 1/15/2012 1:08 PM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2008
Posts: 59
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Thanks for feedback on China Mieville. Anyone else who has a thought please chime in...

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 1/15/2012 1:51 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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Kraken is the only Mieville book I've managed to finish, and it was a bit of a drag.  At various times I've started Perdido Street Station, The City and The City, and Embassytown.  I think he's very innovative, but I just don't like the writing style.

Date Posted: 1/17/2012 12:39 AM ET
Member Since: 3/9/2009
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I've read Perdido Street Station and Iron Council.  I really liked his books but his style NOT straightforward.  I want to read Embassytown this year.

Brad -
Date Posted: 1/17/2012 7:45 AM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 200
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I wasn't impressed by Mieville's Embassytown.  Not sure if it Mieville's writing style or what, but I didn't get very far into it.

Finished The City of Ember.  Very quick read, it's Young Adult and maybe even on the younger side of YA.  I enjoyed it all the way thorugh.  Definitely want to read the next in the series.



Last Edited on: 1/17/12 7:51 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Subject: China Mieville
Date Posted: 1/17/2012 8:45 AM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2008
Posts: 59
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Good comments on China Mieville...Thanks everyone.

Brad -
Date Posted: 1/17/2012 1:57 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 200
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Well rats.  Quickly found a book that I can't fit in either of the two challenges:  Stardust by Neil Gaiman.  I got it for Christmas.  I've been trying to read the books I received for Christmas in reverse order of how many books are posted here on PBS (read those that aren't posted first, in ascending order of number of wishes).  Stardust won't work in either challenge I believe, since it's Fantasy.  Oh well, I've been wanting to read Stardust (liked the movie).



Last Edited on: 1/17/12 1:57 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/17/2012 4:12 PM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2008
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Last year I read The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, it was the first time I've read him. I enjoyed it...and yeah, it's Fantasy too but I love Fantasy.

Brad, are you not doing the Fantasy Challenge?



Last Edited on: 1/17/12 4:13 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Brad -
Date Posted: 1/18/2012 8:15 AM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
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Nope Fern, I'm not doing the fantasy challenge, never have tried it.  I'm not sure I've ever even looked at the fantasy forum.  I guess I've thought that my reading Fantasy doesn't happen enough for me to try the challenge, but I suppose that I don't have to "finish" or something like that.  Maybe I'll look at the categories and see.  Right now I can't think of Fantasy that I read regularily, although I know sometimes SciFi and Fantasy are kind of intertwined.

Seems to me that Fantasy is dragon, elves, vampires, that sort of thing which usually isn't my cup of tea by there's exceptions to that rule:  Maximum Ride series by James Patterson, Dreden series by Jim Butcher (although I never seem to get past the first book).

The Graveyard Book is already on my to-read list, been looking forward to reading that.



Last Edited on: 1/18/12 8:55 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Subject: fantasy bonus category
Date Posted: 1/18/2012 12:20 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
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Brad,

There is a bonus category on 1Q 2012 challenge for fantasy.  Bonus categories don't count for completing a challenge, but do allow you to put it on your list of books to show what you've read.  It helps the rest of us get a sense of your preferences.

I'm pretty sure the folks on the full-year 2012 challenge won't mind if you put some personal bonus categories on your tracking post here as well.

-Tom Hl.



Last Edited on: 1/18/12 12:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Brad -
Date Posted: 1/19/2012 7:43 AM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 200
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Thanks for the suggestion.  I added to the Fantasy bonus category.



Last Edited on: 1/19/12 9:56 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/20/2012 2:55 AM ET
Member Since: 3/9/2009
Posts: 8,982
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I've read Truth of Valor by Tanya Huff.  I've used it for the military science fiction category in both threads. The main characters (and most of the villains) are exmilitary who haven't quite stopped being military.   It's a fun, quick read but it doesn't feel like science fiction.   It has aliens, takes place in space and/or on space stations but I feel like I'm reading about a naval operation in the 1700's.  I'm not sure if that's intentional or not.  It was fun, though.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 1/20/2012 4:20 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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Is Truth of Valor the most recent one in the series?  I haven't read it yet, so I'll probably use it for the same category.  I like Tanya Huff...she has the dubious distinction of being my #1 most read Canadian author (and #2 woman author...Beverly Cleary had a head start in that category).

Date Posted: 1/20/2012 9:51 AM ET
Member Since: 3/9/2009
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Truth of Valor is number 5.  I'm pretty sure it's the latest in the Valor series.  Do you ever read S M Stirling or Spider Robinson?  They're both great.  I think they'd tie for my most read Canadian science fiction author.

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