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Topic: SF Challenge 11/1/09-10/31/10: DISCUSSION THREAD (12/09)

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Subject: SF Challenge 11/1/09-10/31/10: DISCUSSION THREAD (12/09)
Date Posted: 12/1/2009 3:58 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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So what kind of progress have you all made so far? I'm pretty much on target, 3/40 completed in the first month of the challenge, and I wasn't even really trying, what with NaNoWriMo and all. I know a couple of you are WAY ahead of me (I'm looking at you, Ann, Bob). . . ;)

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 12/1/2009 5:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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I'm happy with my progress.  I finished nine books in Novemer, four for this challenge.  I'm comfortable with that.

Subject: fun!
Date Posted: 12/1/2009 5:37 PM ET
Member Since: 9/3/2008
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I did read a lot last month.  I knocked out a fair amount for this challenge and managed to read some other books as well.  It's good because this month I will have very little leisure or commute time to read.   January I should get back into it since I think I have 6-8  wrestling matches I will attend for my younger son.  That's at least 3 and up to 9 hours of reading time per match plus I think the University of Maryland is on the metro so that's probably a really long metro ride -good for reading!  So I'm happy.
 I have been putting some books aside for the fantasy challenge (hint hint) (I do have some ideas for categories so will someone warn me if it starts up please?! I generally don't look in too many forums)

From everyone's reviews I have ordered 3 books that I think I will like so I'm really enjoying this!  I also had no idea how many apocalyptic/ post apocalyptic books I read.  I always thought I wouldn't enjoy that sub-genre but when I look back at a lot of my books -lots of them fit that category.  So I've been reading it without realizing it.

It's also interesting how many people are reading Greg Bear books.
 

Date Posted: 12/1/2009 6:54 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
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LOL! I've got a whole list of possible categories for the fantasy challenge, and I've been debating with myself whether or not I should propose starting that one come Jan. 1st. So since someone else brought it up. . . what say you all? Do you feel like doing two challenges at the same time would be too much, or should I start a thread in the fantasy forum to start thinking through the next one?

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 12/1/2009 9:02 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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I would definitely like to do a fantasy challenge...it would be hard for me to do along with the SF challenge, but I'd give it a try. 

Date Posted: 12/1/2009 10:53 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2008
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I would love a fantasy challenge!
Subject: fantasy challenge
Date Posted: 12/2/2009 8:02 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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I don't have the reading time to participate in any more challenges, and probably don't have enough interest in fantasy anyway. I would think it belonged on the fantasy forum, as well - but if the interest is actually here on science fiction forum, then that would be ok.
Subject: science fiction challenge
Date Posted: 12/2/2009 8:14 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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I'm six books into the challenge now, and at this rate it will take another five or six months for me to finish. So far it hasn't influenced my science fiction choices, as I am just reading from my TBRs or previously planned bookrings, and identifying categories. Closer to the end, I'll have to start scrambling and that will probably be fun. Also, I think I've been neglecting my re-reads of sf, non-sf literature, and non-fiction reading - and may start to take time off the challenge to read those again. But overall it's been fun so far!
Date Posted: 12/2/2009 8:38 AM ET
Member Since: 9/3/2008
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No worries Tom!  I brought the fantasy challenge up here so someone might warn me if it was starting so I could check the fantasy forum.  

I noticed I'm reading a few books that I normally would pass on or at least put lower on my TBR pile.  Like you, I imagine I'll be scrambling at the end to fit some categories.  That's one reason why I haven't filled in the category sheet yet.  I'm just tracking what I've read and noting what books can fit which categories.  I need to find a book that was published in the year I was born.  I may have something here but I'll have to check quite a few books...

Date Posted: 12/2/2009 1:09 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
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Yeah, I only mentioned the fantasy challenge here because I know there's a fair amount of overlap in the two discussion boads, and I didn't want to start a fantasy challenge if all the SF challenge people who would normally participate in a Fantasy challenge feel that two challenges at once are too many. However, since people here seem to be feeling positive about it. . . I think I will start a discussion on the fantasy forum about it. So here's your warning Ann! :)

 

So far for the challenge I just took all the SF on my TBR stack and plugged it into the spreadsheet where I think it'll fit, but I'm using that as a guideline rather than a set of rules for myself to follow. I'm sure my spreadsheet will look different after Christmas, when I have to find spaces for all my new books. :) And actually, it may look different in two weeks, because I'm going up to Portland and will be visiting Powell's for the first time. . . I've heard good things, and there's nothing I like more than spending an afternoon browsing a giant used bookstore! But meanwhile I am clearing my TBR stack of some of the SF that has been languishing, unloved, at the bottom for many months. Which will make my dad happy, because half of it is books I borrowed from him, and he's been dying to discuss them with me!

Subject: fantasy novels in the science fiction challenge
Date Posted: 12/3/2009 8:09 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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Hmm.  In spite of my last post, I just read a fantasy novel, and am going to count it for the science fiction challenge.  The Healer's War, by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, is a contemporary/historical slipstream fantasy set in a realistic Vietnam War setting.  Because it won the Nebula Award for best novel in 1989, I think it qualifies for that category in the sf challenge.  I hope so, because I have previously read all of the nebula winning science fiction novels.

Date Posted: 12/3/2009 9:46 PM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2009
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Wow!  I just read another really great book!

Dinner at Deviant's Palace by Tim Powers - Post-apocalyptic for me, and/or published in 1985 and Philip K. Dick Award winner for some of the rest of you perhaps.

I'll hang onto it until Saturday before I post it in case any of you want it - highly recommended! Read the Amazon info if you don't mind spoilers.



Last Edited on: 12/3/09 9:48 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/3/2009 10:25 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
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I hope so, because I have previously read all of the nebula winning science fiction novels.

________________________________________________________________________

Hey !  Most Excellent !  I don't know why I've never thought of this -  that would be a pretty good SF challenge. 

Date Posted: 12/4/2009 3:15 PM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2009
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That would be a great SF challenge. Let's keep it in mind for next year.

Subject: nebula challenge
Date Posted: 12/4/2009 6:11 PM ET
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I think one could probably fill a lot of the current challenge categories with Nebula winners if you were to work both of them in parallel.  Some time ago, when the list was much shorter, I read all the Nebula winning novels - and since then it's pretty much just one more book per year.  I suppose I could take it as a re-read challenge at some point.  Hmm...


I looked into the Locus Award lists now, and I am in almost the same state with regard to that challenge category.  Have read almost all of the Best Novel and Best Science Fiction Novel winners previously.  Fortunately, I have the one most recent winner on my TBR shelf. 

Date Posted: 12/4/2009 11:41 PM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2009
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All of us have probably read at least some of the award winners, but I would like the challenge of reading all of them. The challenge to Tom would be zero, to me - perhaps 15, to others 10, or 20. Is there a way to tweak it to make it work for everyone?

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 12/5/2009 10:23 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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An award challenge would be good for me with my random reading.  I've only read fifteen Hugo winners (counting retros), eight Nebulas, and ONE Locus winner.

To make it more interesting, how about reading all the nominees, as well as the winners?  That might be a long term personal challenge for me, if nothing else.

Date Posted: 12/5/2009 12:54 PM ET
Member Since: 9/3/2008
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I like the awards idea!  I am reading a book now and it won t he Arthur C Clarke award -I didn't know that one even existed.   I've read some of those and some of the other award winners.  I still have plenty to read.   A few books I'm going to read for this challenge are winners.  Some of the award winners are surprising.  Is there anywhere where they state why that particular book won?   I checked the hugo site and they list the winners and nominees but no blurb on the reason the book won.   There's 2 books that I really can't see why they won (of course there's many others that I wonder why they weren't  in the top nominations)  

Date Posted: 12/5/2009 1:04 PM ET
Member Since: 9/3/2008
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some years just seem to be dry years for writing

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 12/5/2009 3:32 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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I just finished The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, which (you'd never guess) I'm counting for the Time Travel category.  I am not a big fan of Victorian era writing in general, but I figured it was time to read H.G. Wells, and I will be working through some of his other stuff as well.  Anyway, The Time Machine was better than I expected, and aside from the dubious mechanism of the time machine itself, I think the science in the story would have been pretty advanced for 1895.

Subject: challenges
Date Posted: 12/5/2009 7:37 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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I feel like waiting until January before signing up for any more challenges.  Here's what I've got going right now:

READ 52 BOOKS IN 2009 - I just read #52, so hurray!

READ 10 NON-SF BOOKS IN 2009 - I have 11 at this point, so hurray!

READ 10 NEW SF WRITERS IN 2009 - I have 6 at this point, so maybe if I do some scrambling before the end of the December...

SCIENCE FICTION FORUM CHALLENGE - I have 7 at this point, 33 to go  by 11/1/10

READ ALL NEBULA WINNERS - a few fantasy titles left

READ ALL HUGO WINNERS - a few fantasy titles left

READ 1001 BOOKS YOU MUST READ BEFORE YOU DIE - ha ha. 

-Tom Hl.

Subject: The Time Machine
Date Posted: 12/5/2009 7:45 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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The Time Machine is one of the formative books in the history of sf.  I know of at least two sequels written by other authors...

The Return of the Time Machine, by Egon Friedell, DAW #22

The Time Ships, by Stephen Baxter.


Not the mention the recurrences and homages to the terminal beach scene in so much other sf.

-Tom Hl.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 12/5/2009 8:21 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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Yes, I have The Return of the Time Machine and I'm thinking I might read it for my foreign language title (it was translated from German).

ETA - I've just been looking up Egon Friedell, and it's pretty interesting.  He was an Austrian Jew, and was mainly a philosopher.  He committed suicide in 1938 by jumping out an upper window when the Nazis came to arrest him.  The Return of the Time Machine wasn't published until 1946 in Munich.  The copyright info says "under the U.S. Army Military Government Informaion Control License." 



Last Edited on: 12/5/09 8:52 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/6/2009 12:39 PM ET
Member Since: 2/3/2009
Posts: 624
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I'm a little behind in "reviewing" my books, so I'll just do them all right now. (I'll come back and add what categories I put them in)

Space Doctor by Lee Corey (takes place on a space station)-

I love this book. It's very realistic, the injuries are the kind that I think of would happen. HOWEVER, there aren't any admirable female characters. They're all stereotypes. So, I like the medical/scientific angle, but the ladies annoy me.

 

Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds (Space Opera)-

It was ok, not as good as I thought it was going to be. I enjoyed all the different story lines, and how they all come together. I would recommend it.

 

Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer (won the Hugo)-

Best book I've read for this challenge, by far. I can't wait to read the rest of the trilogy. It's Neanderthal meets Sapiens and it's very very good. It has its rough spots, and I was a little confused about some Neanderthal behaviors because Sawyer doesn't come out and say anything directly until later in the book. Overall, I DEFINITELY recommend this book. It made it to my Keeper Shelf.

 

Bio Rescue by S.L. Viehl (non-human viewpoint 100% of the time)-

I really enjoyed this book until the end. It's a hard luck story about an alterformed aquatic/humanoid being that wants what she wants and no one can tell her otherwise. But it reads really well, until the end, where bad decisions are made. If you've ever read the Cherijo Grey Veil books, you'll know that Viehl's main characters tend to get themselves in a bind and rely on others to get them back out, so don't be surprised when it happens here.

Date Posted: 12/6/2009 1:08 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 6,633
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I'm a little behind in my reading...I did bring back a few science fiction books after Thanksgiving so I've slightly expanded my collection here.  I just need to get around to reading them...

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