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Topic: Let's choose 40 categories for our 2014 SF Challenge / discussion completed

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Subject: Let's choose 40 categories for our 2014 SF Challenge / discussion completed
Date Posted: 12/17/2013 2:25 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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By a process of voting, participants on this forum have selected four broad topics that will each be filled out with ten categories of reads in our 2014 SF Challenge.  Those broad topics are Authors, Firsts, Lost and Found, and Settings.  In order to facilitate the process, I've drawn up a seed list of categories for us to discuss, revise, and possibly vote on, using this thread.

1) If you just want to modify or expand one of the categories, say so.  Should be no problem.

2) If you really dislike one of the categories, propose an alternative.

3) If you have your own categories to propose, number them consistently.  A run-off vote in that broad topic will probably be the outcome.

Without further ado, here are the seed categories. 

(The seed categories were the first ten in each topic, the lists have later been edited with minor clarifying changes, and with additional proposals.)

AUTHORS
A1  Grand Master (a novel or collection by the same writer)
A2  US writer (a novel or collection by the same writer)
A3  British writer (a novel or collection by the same writer)
A4  Canadian writer (a novel or collection by the same writer)
A5  Australian or New Zealand writer (a novel or collection by the same writer)
A6  female writer (a novel or collection by the same writer)
A7  male writer (a novel or collection by the same writer)
A8  non-Caucasian author (a novel or collection by the same writer)
A9  originally written in a non-English language
A10 author-themed anthology (different writers grouped together due to some common characteristic of the writers)
A11 Favorite author (a novel or collection by the same writer)
A12 An author whose last name begins with the letter A (a novel or collection by the same writer)
A13 An author whose last name begins with A, B or C (a novel or collection by the same writer)

FIRSTS
F1  First novel of a female writer
F2  First novel of a male writer
F3  A Locus-Recommended First Novel from any year
F4  A winner or nominee of any best first novel/new writer award from any year
F5  The first novel of a series
F6  First Contact (a novel or themed anthology)
F7  First Artificial Intelligence (a novel or themed anthology)
F8  First Awakening (on a colony ship, on a new world, in a new era)
F9  First person narrative
F10 First Birthday (novel published any time during the year of the first anniversay of your birth)
F11 First read of a new-to-you author (a novel or collection by the same writer)
F12 First award winning novel or a collection/anthology containing first award winning story, of an author
F13 First Exploration (of a new world, or other new place where no one has gone before)
F14 First SF book read in 2014

LOST AND FOUND
L1  Lost Colony
L2  Lost World (on Earth)
L3  A Found Artifact
L4  Lost Child
L5  an SF book you found (in a coffeeshop, for example)
L6  Lost in Time
L7  After a Lost War
L8  Lost Technology
L9  Nebula Loser (was nominated, but did not win the Nebula Award for Best Novel)
L10 Hugo Loser (was nominated, but did not win the Nebula Award for Best Novel)
L11 Lost in the Stacks (SF book that has been on your TBR for a long time (or otherwise been meaning to read for a long time))
L12 Hot Find (SF book that you read within 1 month of obtaining it, (library checkouts don't count))

SETTINGS
S1  Inner Planets (set on or near Mercury or Venus)
S2  The Moon (set on or near Earth's Moon)
S3  Contemporary Earth (set on or near the Earth, close to modern times)
S4  Mars (set on or near Mars)
S5  Gas Giants (set on or near Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune)
S6  Prehistoric Earth
S7  Posthistoric Earth (far distant future)
S8  Parallel Universe (with or without passage between universes)
S9  Set in deep space
S10 Set in a Non-human society (a novel or themed anthology)
S11 Set on a space station or orbital habitat
S12 Set on a planet outside our solar system
S13 Set within a series
S14 Utopian/dystopian setting (a novel or themed anthology)
S15 Male-only or female-only setting (a novel or themed anthology)
S16 Set in a simulated reality (a novel or themed anthology)



Last Edited on: 12/22/13 11:11 AM ET - Total times edited: 11
Date Posted: 12/17/2013 4:11 PM ET
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This is an excellent list.  Thank you for coming up with the categories.

There a couple of categories that are problematic for me, though.  I have had issues in past challenges finding books that were published in my year of birth that I haven't read yet.  And the Locus recommended First Novel list is so heavily skewed towards fantasy that finding an unread book that would qualify as science fiction will be very difficult.

I would like to suggest a first book/collection by an author new to me or the first award winning book/collection of an author or perhaps a To go where no man has gone before category, a first to explore category.

Subject: good suggestions!
Date Posted: 12/17/2013 8:43 PM ET
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Thanks.  I numbered your recommendations.

F11 First read of a new-to-you author (a novel or collection by the same writer)
F12 First award winning novel or a collection/anthology containing first award winning story, of an author
F13 First Exploration (of a new world, or other new place where no one has gone before)

As for Locus-Recommened First Novel, 2012 was certainly a big problem for science fiction.  I was hoping that by expanding it to cover four years, the selection would be better.  Not?

As for Birth Year, I had thought I read everything worth reading from 1955, but one of the previous challenges got me to look again, and I found The End of Eternity, by Isaac Asimov, which turned out to be very worthwhile.  I haven't looked yet, but have high hopes for 1956.

Date Posted: 12/18/2013 10:59 AM ET
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The Locus recommended first novel list has had the same issue for a number of years, lots of fantasy and only a small amount of science fiction.   You might consider expanding the selection to a Locus recommended first novel of any year.

There are some books that were published in my year of birth that I haven't read yet but they haven't been reprinted in the last 3 decades and so are expensive to purchase (of course, I could always have a lucky thrift shop or library sale find but it's hard to schedule serendipity into a challenge).

I'd like to add to the settings

S11 Set on a space stace or orbital habitat

S12 Set on a planet outside our solar system

Subject: some more seeds
Date Posted: 12/18/2013 11:17 AM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
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Thanks for 'collection' by the way

_____________________

Favorite author

An author whose last name begins with the letter A

An author whose last name begins with A, B or C

First book read in 2014

Set within a series

__________________________

Question - first birthday (when your age is one) or your actual birth day?

Why not a Locus recommended first novel from any year?

I will do more thinking.

Brad -
Date Posted: 12/18/2013 11:31 AM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
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Tom - Maybe update your first post to add the new proposed items, so your first post has all of them on it?

Hmmm.  The first by a male/female author last year I used it as the first book I've read by that author, not the first book by that author.

S13 Set in an utopian/dystopian setting

S14 Set in a male-only or female-only setting

S15 Set in a simulated reality

Date Posted: 12/18/2013 12:53 PM ET
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Thanks all, so far.

I've incorporated the new category proposals into the original post, as you can go back and review.

And I've expanded the Locus Recommended First Novel to any year - if it's still a problem, it will not survive the voting.

-Tom Hl.

Question - first birthday (when your age is one) or your actual birth day?  The year in which your age became one.



Last Edited on: 12/18/13 1:11 PM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 12/18/2013 1:08 PM ET
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F14 First book read in 2014 -- tweak this to be first SF book in 2014? Either that or be willing to have that open to any genre.

 

Date Posted: 12/18/2013 1:12 PM ET
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F14 First book read in 2014 -- tweak this to be first SF book in 2014? Either that or be willing to have that open to any genre.

Heh!  No one would do that!

Date Posted: 12/18/2013 2:19 PM ET
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Heh!  No one would do that!

Well, given that I've read 232 books so far this year, and only 48 of them were Sci-Fi (I'm acutally shocked I've read that many SF books this year!), it's pretty good odds that my first book won't be Sci Fi.

 

For Lost & Found, what about a "Lost in the Stacks" -- books that have been on your TBR for a long time, or if you don't have a big TBR, books that you've been meaning to read for a long time.

The opposite of that could be a "Recent Find" -- say, found/purchased within the last 2 weeks/month? 

Brad -
Date Posted: 12/18/2013 2:48 PM ET
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"For Lost & Found, what about a "Lost in the Stacks" -- books that have been on your TBR for a long time, or if you don't have a big TBR, books that you've been meaning to read for a long time.

The opposite of that could be a "Recent Find" -- say, found/purchased within the last 2 weeks/month?"

Love both of these ideas.  You could tweak it to specific, like "oldest book on your TBR" and "most recent book you found/purchased".

 

"Well, given that I've read 232 books so far this year, and only 48 of them were Sci-Fi"

Yikes.  That's not 232 fully completed is it?  I wonder how many books I've opened this year, very few of them were a cover to cover read.



Last Edited on: 12/18/13 2:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/19/2013 12:18 PM ET
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Yikes.  That's not 232 fully completed is it?  I wonder how many books I've opened this year, very few of them were a cover to cover read.

Yep.  Well, 233 now.  I read really fast.  Though that's a Goodreads count - which includes a handful of novellas, short stories and shorter books (like comic collections).  I'm sure there's at least 200 full-length novels in that list.  Considering that a couple of my reads this year have been well over 1,000 pages, I don't feel guilty about listing short works too.  It all evens out in the end.    Goodreads claims I've read 63,955 pages so far this year.

Let's see... I didn't finish 7 books so far this year.  I do finish the vast majority of books I start.

Subject: will start the voting tomorrow
Date Posted: 12/19/2013 3:02 PM ET
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I recorded those most recent sugguestions as...

L11 Lost in the Stacks (SF book that has been on your TBR for a long time - or otherwise been meaning to read for a long time)
L12 Hot Find (SF book that you read within 1 month of obtaining it, (library checkouts don't count)

I think we are almost ready.  If there are any last minute tweaks, make them now.  I am going to put it up for a vote Friday at noon central time.

-Tom Hl.

PS - Melanti - notice that Lost in the Stacks and Hot Find have to be SF books!



Last Edited on: 12/19/13 3:04 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/20/2013 12:36 PM ET
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PS - Melanti - notice that Lost in the Stacks and Hot Find have to be SF books!

Guess I should have put that in my original post!  It's certainly what I meant.

The selections look good to me.

Date Posted: 12/20/2013 1:11 PM ET
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Before we start voting, I would like to propose that we accept ALL the categories given and just chose 10 from each section to complete our challenge.

Brad -
Date Posted: 12/20/2013 1:29 PM ET
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Interesting idea Lisa!  Generally speaking I'm in favor of more flexibility, but I'm okay with getting them down to 10 like other years.

Date Posted: 12/20/2013 1:41 PM ET
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Hmm.  I would personally like to have a specific ten to pursue, rather than for example "choose any 10 out of 16".  How about if we vote on and select ten, then allow substitutions or extensions if desired from the rest?



Last Edited on: 12/20/13 1:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Brad -
Date Posted: 12/20/2013 1:49 PM ET
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I'm okay with that.

Subject: voting is postponed
Date Posted: 12/20/2013 5:10 PM ET
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Lisa, I don't want to start voting until it is clear what the votes would mean, or if we even need to have voting.  What are your thoughts?

-Tom Hl.

Date Posted: 12/20/2013 11:57 PM ET
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My idea was to eliminate the need to vote by accepting all of the suggestion and then each person would choose the ten they like the best for their personal challenge.  You have pointed out that you'd like more structure but are willing to have the extra suggestion available as sustitutions.  (Which I wish I had thought of in the beginning)  So now my idea for simplifying the vote has complicated it.  We have 3 plans--accept everything, vote on 10 but keep the others as possible substitutes, vote on 10 and discard the rest.

I like the more flexible options but will accept whatever the majority would prefer.

Date Posted: 12/21/2013 1:12 AM ET
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I thought the same thing as Lisa.  

All categories are Ok by me (delete A12 if you decide to not vote)

I'll probably end up tweaking my own list(s) anyways.



Last Edited on: 12/21/13 1:17 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/21/2013 11:30 AM ET
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Generally, I'm in favor of structures that give us goals in common.  I've already read a lot of science fiction, and am happy to steer in the direction of respected others (even re-reads) if it gives me something to chat about.   Because we are in a medium without nuanced communications, I want to make sure everyone understands that I am just giving a preference.  If we decide to move the needle a little further towards flexibity, I can use Lisa's proposal as a basis for a personal challenge. 

Anyone else want to give an opinion?  Unless there is an outright objection, we can resolve this in the direction of flexibility.

-Tom Hl.

 

 

Subject: thanks all
Date Posted: 12/22/2013 11:14 AM ET
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We are totally snowed in here today.  So, hearing no further discussion, I will create that tracking thread and the first discussion thread for the 2014 SF Challenge this morning.

-Tom Hl.

Date Posted: 12/22/2013 1:11 PM ET
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YAY!   Thank you Tom, for setting up the challenge!