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Topic: SF Challenge DISCUSSION THREAD (8/10)

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Subject: SF Challenge DISCUSSION THREAD (8/10)
Date Posted: 8/1/2010 2:02 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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You all know the drill by now, and I'm running out of new ways to ask the same question. . . ;)

I'm determined to make this a SF-heavy month, because I'm tired of having 2-3 SF carryovers on my to-read list each month. So for accountability's sake, I plan to read:

Hyperion, by Dan Simmons

Neuromancer, by William Gibson

Absolution Gap, by Alastair Reynolds

Invader, by C.J. Cherryh

Pebble in the Sky, by Isaac Asimov

So take that, universe! ;)

Subject: July
Date Posted: 8/3/2010 11:46 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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I read 7 books last month, 6 of them sf.  But I only advanced by 2 on the basic challenge list.   So, on 7/31/10 I was at 37/40, plus 3 of the extra categories.  My remaining categories are:

  • Anthology
  • Work set in a galaxy with multiple non-human intelligences in contact with humans
  • Work set on a space ship (non-generation ship)

These aren't the categories I expected to see left at the end!

It looks like I will have to seek out books specifically to fill them, since nothing on my TBR shelf fits well.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 8/9/2010 6:51 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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As I said in the other thread, I've been reading some Ron Goulart books, but I don't think I have a category for them. 

Subject: shuffled my tracking list
Date Posted: 8/10/2010 12:33 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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After studying my tracking list a little bit, I discovered that while I had counted Gifts by Ursula LeGuin in the "young adult" category only for a potential "2nd time around", I could also count it as the "male first-person narrator" - and then move Glasshouse by Charles Stross to the "work set on a space ship" category.  Therefore, my challenge status is now 38/40, still with no double-counting.

-Tom Hl.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 8/11/2010 7:38 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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I'm continuing with Ron Goulart, and I've decided I really like his style.  I finished Calling Dr. Patchwork and Hello, Lemuria, Hello without having a category for them, but today I read The Robot In the Closet, which happens to have been published in 1981, the year I was born, to fill that slot.

Goulart seems to be trying to emulate the earlier science fiction pulps of the '30s and '40s in a hunorous way.  I see he's written quite a few nonfiction books on that period of pulp fiction and comics as well.

I know some of you guys have read the more recent comic SF author John Zakour.  I am 99% sure that Zakour's writing is influenced by Goulart...and I think I'm being generous by using the term "influenced."  If I wrote like that, it would be called "fanfiction." 

Subject: new kid
Date Posted: 8/11/2010 11:45 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2010
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I've been on a Robert Silverberg kick lately - I just finished The Face of the Waters, taking a break with F. Paul Wilson's By the Sword,  (more of a fantasy I guess, but I like Repairman Jack) and then on to Silverberg again with Kingdoms of the Wall. 

Has anyone read Lamentation and or Canticle by Ken Scholes? I try to stay away from series, usually, but I really like these.

Subject: another book/another shuffle
Date Posted: 8/16/2010 10:27 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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I recently finished Iron Sunrise, by Charles Stross, which I have counted in the "Hard SF" category, after shuffling Forever Free, by Joe Haldeman, from "Hard SF" to "Work set in a galaxy with multiple non-human intelligences in contact with humans".  This puts me at 39/40.

I've gotten my hands on a pretty good anthology, so should be able to complete my last category soon.

-Tom Hl.

Last Edited on: 8/16/10 10:29 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Neuromancer, by William Gibson
Date Posted: 8/17/2010 8:01 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Just finished #3: Cyberpunk

Filled with: Neuromancer, by William Gibson

Other categories this book could fill: Hard SF, Hugo Award winner, Nebula Award winner, Philip K. Dick award winner.

My thoughts: Overall I enjoyed it, but all my thoughts on the topic veer into gross generalizations about gender, so I shan't post them here. ;)

Subject: done
Date Posted: 8/20/2010 11:37 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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I finished The New Weird, a recent anthology edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, to complete the challenge today.

Now what???


-Tom Hl.

Date Posted: 8/21/2010 1:19 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Ummm. . . now. . . you brainstorm ideas for next year's challenge! ;)

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 8/21/2010 10:50 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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My computer is dead, so I haven't been able to update, but I finished The World of Null-A by A.E. van Vogt.  For a book that is supposed to be an influential classic, I did not care for it.  Maybe I'm too dumb to understand his points, but I did not sympathize with the Null-A philosophy expoused in the book...and as an English major, I thought the prose was pretty bad.  I am counting this for the Grand Master Category, though it could also work for pre-1950, since it was originally serialized in 1945.

I am currently reading Throy by Jack Vance for the Human Interstellar Empire category.  It's the 3rd of the Cadwal Chronicles.

Besides that, I am continuing with Ron Goulart.  I have finished six of his books so far, and I'm working on a 7th, even though I've only found a category for one.  Maybe next challenge we can have a category where you read 10 books by a single author!

Date Posted: 8/21/2010 11:16 AM ET
Member Since: 1/14/2009
Posts: 175
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I'm never going to finish this challenge in time! Drat! But it's certainly fun trying.

Today I read I Who Have Never Known Men (Jacqueline Harpman, translated), and I really enjoyed it. I've been receiving quite a few wishlisted books, so whether or not I get through the challenge I'm up to my elbows in long-awaited potentially good reads for a while.  =)

I think next on the list is World Ends in Hickory Hollow (Ardath Mayhar). I hope I can put it into an empty category when I'm done, but I really doubt it!

Subject: what next?
Date Posted: 8/25/2010 1:11 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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For a little while, I've decided to re-read a few old favorites before getting back to the overachiever categories of the challenge.

A few months ago, we defined a process for adding overachiever categories, and then approved 11.

41. Multiverse setting
42. Humans on Mars
43. SF Mystery
44. Final Ballot for 2009 Nebula
45. Vampire SF
46. Alien Invasion
47. Final Ballot for 2010 Hugo
48. Locus Recommended Reading List for 2009
49. Aurora Award Winner
50. British Science Fiction Association Award Winner
51. SF Comedy

At this point, I am proposing 29 more as a block.  If two other people approve, then this will make for a total of 80 categories.  Here's what I came up with...

52. Race in America
53. Religion in SF
54. TV Series Tie-In
55. Movie Tie-In
56. SF Romance
57. Work that has won the Kurd Lasswitz Preis for German SF
58. Work that has won the Prix Tour-Apollo Award for French SF
59. Work that has won the Arthur C. Clarke Award
60. Climate Change
61. Dinosaurs
62. Slipstream
63. New Weird
64. Single Author Collection
65. Fix-up Novel
66. Sequel written by a different author than the original
67. Christian SF
68. Gay/Lesbian SF
69. Robots/Artificial Intelligence
70. Near Future Thriller
71. Work set under the sea
72. Work set in a virtual world
73. Utopia/Dystopia
74. Work written in 1950s
75. Work written in 1960s
76. Work written in 1970s
77. Work written in 1980s
78. Work written in 1990s
79. Work written in 2000s
80. Work written in 2010

-Tom Hl.

Subject: query
Date Posted: 8/25/2010 10:59 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
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What is a fix-up novel?

What is a slipstream novel?

Is there a definition for a new weird novel?

Twenty-nine more novels in two months?  I know I wouldn't be able to finish- I still have to complete the original list.  Some categories look interesting, others - well, just FINDING a German or French SF novel would be a challenge.  Oh wait, I guess there's always Jules Verne........

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 8/26/2010 5:15 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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I'm back online!  You all can do what yuou want, but I'm not even going to attempt the first set of overachiever categories.  I am interested in changing up the categories for a new challenge next year, though.  I think it would be good to do it like the fantasy challenge...because all of us obviously do not read at anything like the same rate.

Subject: thoughts
Date Posted: 8/26/2010 1:45 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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fix-up novel - when an author combines a series of previously published short stories into a novel.  example - The Martian Chronicles

slipstream novel - my definition is when a book marketed as mainstream contains sf elements.  example - The Time Traveller's Wife

new weird novel - "a type of urban, secondary-world fiction that subverts the romanticized ideas about place found in traditional fantasy, largely by choosing realistic, complex real-world models as the jumping off point for creation of settings that may combine elements of both science fiction and fantasy."  example - Perdido Street Station

29 more in 2 months - I don't think any of us (with the possible exception of Bob K.) could finish this by 11/1/10.  It would have to be just a fill-as-many-as-you-can kind of game.

german/french awards - Both of the named awards give a prize for novel in their own language as well as a prize for "foreign novel" (which includes English language titles).  Either type would count.

do what you want - of course.  as always.  :)  I could just make it my own personal challenge if no one else want to use this.

fantasy challenge - What aspect of the fantasy challenge is it that you like?

And here's another suggestion.  Should we extend the challenge to 12/31/10, then whatever the next challenge might be, it would align with the 2011 calendar.

Date Posted: 8/28/2010 2:43 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Ummm. . . I'm good with extending the challenge to 12/31/10 so that the next one is in line with the calendar, but I think 29 more categories is too many for me. (Extending the challenge would just let me do the current overachiever challenges, lol.) Why not save them for next year's challenge? ;)