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Topic: What for the 2014 Challenge?

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Brad -
Subject: What for the 2014 Challenge?
Date Posted: 11/21/2013 1:51 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
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What does everyone think we should do for 2014?  I've given links to the prior years.  I myself wasn't a fan of the quarterly format, liked the other formats.

This year 4 categories (subgenre, awards, authors, firsts) with 4 topics in the categories, 40 total.

2012 Challenge Option1:  Each quarter everyone chooses which category and topics are read.

2012 Challenge Option 2: 4 categories with various number of topics in earch, 30 total.

2011 Challenge: 4 parts with 10 topics in parts A-C and 5 topics in part D, 35 total.  4 extra credit topics.

2010 Challenge: 5 parts with 6 topics each, 35 total.  11 overachiever topics.

 

 

Date Posted: 11/21/2013 6:03 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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I just got thorugh asking the same thing over on the Fantasy forum.

One thing I didn't like about the Hugo/Nebula/Locus award categories this year and last year was limiting it to Winners pre-2010.  By the time I take out the fantasy books and the books I've already read, there's not much left that I'm excited about reading.  I got stalled on those three categories and don't have any motivation to read the other categories I have left since I know I'm not going to finish regardless.

I didn't do the 2010 SF challenge, but I did do it for fantasy and with that I wasn't a fan of the viewpoint categories.

But feel free to overrule me on either of these!  I've been drifting away from SF/Fantasy the past year or so and I"m unlikely to completely finish any challenge that gets set up anyway!  

Date Posted: 11/21/2013 11:04 PM ET
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Hmm.  Can't say I have really strong feelings at this point.  40 books in a year seems to be about the right amount for me.

-Tom Hl.

Date Posted: 11/24/2013 3:21 PM ET
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I was wondering if anyone knows of a place where a challenge like this might attract more participants.  I cant find anything like it on goodreads.  But I didnt check every group there.

Date Posted: 11/26/2013 7:07 AM ET
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There's a few challenge specific groups on GR, but most of them aren't genre based so the challenges they create are generally things you can complete by reading any genre.   They tend to ask for things about the cover, title or author, the setting, generic things about the plot or main characters, etc.

I haven't seen any meaningful challenges in any of the main genre groups over there.

 

Subject: Lost and Found
Date Posted: 11/27/2013 5:31 PM ET
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A couple of the books I've read in the past week were set in lost colonies (Rocannon's World, Quantum Rose), and so I got thinking of a challenge section called LOST AND FOUND.  Categories might be things like:

  1. Lost Colony
  2. Lost World (on Earth)
  3. A Found Artifact
  4. Lost Child
  5. a book you found
  6. Lost in Time
  7. Aliens find humans
  8. Humans find aliens
  9. After a Lost War
  10. Lost Technology

 

Date Posted: 11/27/2013 6:29 PM ET
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If possible, I'd like a challenge that is set out at the beginning of the year.  Gathering everyone together to get a consensus every quarter seems very time consuming.  All of the other formats seem good to me.

I thought the ability to expand a topic in each section for the overachiever reader was a nice touch.

I'm also running out of Hugo/Nebula winners that I haven't read yet.  If that category is included, could include nominees as well?

Date Posted: 11/28/2013 10:15 AM ET
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I enjoyed the quarterly challenge that one year that we did it, but it was a lot of work.  So I think I would also prefer a year-long challenge for 2014.

I'll be reading my very last Nebula winner shortly - The Claw of the Conciliator.  This year's challenge has forced me to go after the few remaining that I was resisting, and to do some re-reads (I allow myself a re-read if it has been more than 25 years, which re-opened a handful of the early winners for me).  So the only winner I would have left would be the one that will be given next year.

I had trouble with the 2012 Locus Recommended First Novels list, which had essentially no decent science fiction on it.  I also had trouble with the Space Western - there just aren't that many to choose from.  A few others could be widened a little.

I've been trying to think what would attract a few more participants for next year. My thoughts are that some are intimidated by the count of 40 books, when maybe they read other genre too.  But I personally like the count of 40.  And maybe some are discouraged by academic sounding sections and categories.

We could get away from categories that describe literary devices, and towards category descriptions that seem a little looser and lighter.  Maybe something like this:

THE SOLAR SYSTEM (book involving the planet itself, the Greek or Roman god, a character name, a word in the title, or something else concerning each of the following)

  1. The Sun
  2. Mercury
  3. Venus
  4. The Moon/Luna/Selene
  5. Mars/Ares
  6. Jupiter/Zeus
  7. Saturn
  8. Neptune
  9. Uranus
  10. Pluto/Planetoids/Oort Cloud


Last Edited on: 11/28/13 10:26 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Brad -
Date Posted: 11/28/2013 12:39 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
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That idea sounds interesting Tom, I'd be interested to hear more about it.  This year seemed that the SciFi discussion wasn't very active.  I wasn't sure if that was Paperback Swap as a whole of if that was just the SciFi forum.

An idea I had was doing the voting, but for an annual challenge.  We could vote on the four categories and then vote on each on what the 5 subcategories are.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Date Posted: 12/4/2013 8:45 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2009
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Go for the Sword & Laser group on Goodreads. One of the biggest, most active groups always looking for stuff to read

Subject: so let's get started on design of 2014 challenge
Date Posted: 12/10/2013 7:55 PM ET
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Well, I joined that S&L group on goodreads a week ago to see what it is like.  Too soon for me to make a call regarding that.  But it looks like Mark has reposted our 2013 challenge over there, so it could get interesting.

At this time, I think our 2014 challenge will be a lot like the 2013 challenge, but with changes in some of the topics and categories.  Proposed topics (each with 10 categories) at this time are:

  • SUBGENRE
  • AWARDS
  • AUTHORS
  • FIRSTS
  • LOST AND FOUND
  • THE SOLAR SYSTEM

If you want to propose somethings else, do so now!  We will need to get it down to four in the end.

Date Posted: 12/10/2013 9:05 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2009
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Guess I jumped the gun there? Anyway seeing as how the topic was sinking like a stone I don't think it generated much interest.

 

How about a Year's Best category? I think we need more short story representation. You can pick the year (maybe based on birthday or something) and then pick one of the year's best

Dozois

Horton

Hartwell

Nebula Showcase

things like that



Last Edited on: 12/10/13 9:36 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/11/2013 10:49 AM ET
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Oh, please don't put a year requirement like that on a Year's Best category!  I have absolutely NO interest whatsoever of reading a Year's Best from the year I was born!   IMO, short fiction suffers a lot more from catering to whatever happens to be trendy that year and it doesn't tend to age as well.

(Plus, of course, those of us who are a bit older than the rest won't HAVE a year's best from their birth year to read...)

We did have a Year's Best category this year in the Awards categories...

 

Brad -
Date Posted: 12/11/2013 3:05 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
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I'm in agreement Melanti.  This year I've come to realize I severely underestimated the enjoyment of anthologies, but putting it that limited I'm against.  I'd have to find the 1975 best of the year, which may be really rough (Edit: turns out Amazon has it for cheap, but I don't think I'd like to order it - I might just leave that category uncompleted if we had that criteria).  Also this year there was another category, similar to the Best of the Year, which was a collection of stores by the same author.

I haven't done it before, but should I put up an internet poll?  We'd vote on the 4 categories and then another poll on the subcategories.  40 Books seems right to me, but I'm not set on that.  We could even brainstorm ideas here on what the categories and then subcategories are.

I liked last year's flexibleness that you could choose what you wanted for # of re-reads, double-counts, etc.  I suppose people could only read 20 books and have all of them double-count, if they want to do that I'm fine with that, it's their choice.

I also "found" one recruit.  I was telling my cousin about the SF Challenge and he's now on PaperBack Swap.



Last Edited on: 12/11/13 3:14 PM ET - Total times edited: 5
Date Posted: 12/11/2013 8:58 PM ET
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Mark - We did have a couple of categories last year for short stories - they were:
#20 a best of the year anthology containing at least one award winning short work (example: Nebula anthologies)
#30 Collection of stories, all by same author
I could probably enjoy other variations on the collections/anthologies idea too.  But we need categories that are wide enough to allow people to fill them with a variety of books, and yet narrow enough to be interesting and selective.  Like others here, a Best of birthyear anthology would probably be too narrow for me to find a good one. (1955!, although I do have a copy of Astounding from the month I was born.)  We also have to deal with selections for people who have already read most of the available choices in some narrow categories.  For example, there are several here who have already read nearly every Nebula or Hugo winning novel.

Brad - There are only a few of us discussing, and we probably don't need something like a goodreads or yahoogroups poll.

No one has really raised any suggestions for a structure different from last year, so in the interest of moving the project along, let me launch a voting thread tomorrow on paperbackswap to select four topics (which would each be of 10 categories).  I'll explain the rules there, and manually count the votes.  Anybody have a better idea?

-Tom Hl.

 

Brad -
Date Posted: 12/11/2013 10:05 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
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Very true. Sounds good to me.
Subject: Topics and categories
Date Posted: 12/16/2013 1:12 AM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
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I'd like to see a group discussion on categories once the Broad Topics are finalized.

I am also very fond of short stories.  There were a lot of great anthologies I wanted to hit in 2013 but got distracted by other things.  

Awards are getting harder for me too.