Thursday, 3 January 2013

science fiction galore featuring Women in SF challenge!


   I have to thank Andrea at Andrea's Book Nook, who commented in my last post about a new challenge: the Dystopian 2013 challenge, found here at Bookish Ardour.

It fits along with Carl's Science Fiction Experience, which officially began yesterday.
  The Dystopian challenge runs all year.  Carl's lasts for 2 months, until the end of February.  There is also the Vintage Science Fiction not a challenge over at the Little Red Reviewer, which is a reading experience that lasts through the month of January.

 This is for science fiction whose publishing date is 1979 or earlier.

I am joining all of these.  I am excited, and I was surprised by how excited I was to be reading science fiction - after all I only read 9 last year - and then I realized, I'm excited because there are good books and good writing going on in science fiction, and I have a whole world of it waiting to catch up in. Carl says January makes him think of science fiction. I didn't associate it with winter particularly - I used to read it in the summer long ago - but now, I find myself settling in to books about 'out there', and I think it's a way to help me focus on something other than our long, long winters here in Ottawa. I like the idea of exploring, and I can do it safely from the comfort of my own home, reading in the light, while characters explore all the wondrous worlds and planets out there for me.  There are also the aliens amongst us, of course, and the terrors lurking in dystopian reality here.  Despite the piling snow and bitter cold outside, I can escape to far away planets,  alternate worlds, fly among the stars in between the pages of my books.

So some of the books I will be reading for these various challenges, and they will all be cross-challenged if they fit, are:

Vintage science fiction:
Man Plus - Frederick Pohl
The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K LeGuin
They Shall Have Stars - James Blish
Dragonflight - Anne McCaffrey
The Winds Twelve Quarters - Ursula K Le Guin
Witch World - Andre Norton
Catseye - Andre Norton
Sunburst - Phyllis Gotlieb
Farmer in the Sky - Robert A Heinlein

some dystopian science fiction:
The Clewiston Test - Kate Wilhelm
Directive 51 - John Barnes
Clay's Ark - Octavia Butler
The Postman - David Brin
I Am Legend -  Richard Matheson
 *more will come, these are on my shelves now.  I would like to get the sequel to Stephen Baxter's Flood,  the second book in the Hunger Games Trilogy, and I have one on request at the library.  Plus Insurgent, the sequel to Divergent by Veronica Roth. 

And then, the general (and excellent) science fiction books that I started collecting for the Worlds Without End challenge last year, which I failed at, for Carl's experience:

Timescape - Gregory Benford
Debris - Jo Anderton
Fool's War - Sarah Zettel
This Alien Shore - C.S. Friedman
A Fire Upon the Deep - Vernor Vinge
Mars - Ben Bova
All Clear - Connie Willis
The Dervish House - Ian McDonald
The Empress of Mars - Kage Baker
The Engines of God - Jack McDevitt
Catspaw - Joan D. Vinge

 I see now that at Worlds Without End they have a genre challenge going this year - and many thanks to Carl for his post today  about it.

 The Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge it's called.  And it looks fabulous. 12 female authors, one post a month, one book read by each author.  Reviews posted to the site will get you entered into a draw to win gift certificates from Amazon.

6 books I  listed above for Carl's sci fi challenge experience, are by women writers!  Plus in the other groupings......Oh yes.  They all are on the women writers list for the women of genre challenge! It's an awesome list.  Go look, and see if you think you can do this challenge.  I bet you could, easily.  With Margaret Atwood, Hilary Mantel, Sarah Waters, and everyone you could possibly think of as a science fiction female writer, all the wonderful female writers are there.  Who are your favourites?  Who have you been wanting to read for the past while?

For just a few minutes, I forgot about the snow (we have had over 2 feet of snow in the past two weeks) and the cold (it is below -23c as I write this tonight).  I was all warm and happy, writing about books and science fiction.  My biggest challenge at the moment is deciding which one to read (and to stay warm).

What does January make you think of, Gentle Reader?  Which kind of books do you reach for in this, the darkest and coldest days of winter still stretching ahead?  What is your favourite winter reading?


Sam Sattler said...

Nice. I am always a little surprised when I find science fiction written by a female author...they seem very rare. BTW, have you tried any alternate history? Sometimes they involve really good time travel themes, science fiction, and fun history all in one volume. I've long loved the genre and am reading a collection of 13 short stories and one novella right now that was edited by Harry Turtledove, the man who first brought my attention to the genre.

Literary Feline said...

Good luck with your challenges, Susan! I'm intrigued by the Women in Genre Fiction Challenge--and you found several in Sci Fi! How awesome is that?! I'll definitely be looking for your recommendations. So, start reading!

Eva said...

OMG, both your lists and the site you linked are wonderful resources! Thnx a bunch: I'm bookmarking for the future. :)

I'm not sure I actually do much seasonal reading, but I'm reading The Palace of the Snow Queen right now about the author's travels in Lapland during the winter, which is nicely appropriate. We're having a cold snap here (it's still above freezing though, 3-10 C) and I'm loving it: winter's one of my favourite seasons and I miss it tremendously. So I'll enjoy your snow vicariously!

Kathleen said...

Have fun with your challenges. I still need to be sure to add some good SF books to my reading list this year!

Carl V. Anderson said...

You are just going to be reveling in science fiction. Which makes me smile!

I have no idea why the cold became associated with science fiction to me as I read it year round when I was a kid. But for some reason when those first really cold breezes hit I am overcome with an urge to start reading it.

I can't recall if you've read it or not but if not I highly recommend Wool (the Omnibus edition) for your dystopian reads challenge. It is excellent. Another good one is Paolo Bacigalupi's Ship Breaker.

Love the dystopian challenge banner, by the way.

I started Dragonflight the other day for the group read and am enjoying it thus far.

Farmer in the Sky is one of my favorite Heinleins.

I am wanting to read The Postman this year too. I picked up a copy at a used bookstore late last year and want to get to it this year.

I am Legend is very good.

You've got a lot of great reading ahead of you and I'm happy that you are taking part in so many great reading events.

Andrea said...

I'm glad you joined! I just posted my incomplete list on my blog.

I'll stop complaining about the 45*F weather here. haha! I live in the sunny South and am not cut out for cold.

After Christmas I like to start reading the majorly long books that I find myself putting off towards the end of the year because of their size. I'm going to read the 3rd in George RR Martin's series next.

Andrea said...

The Postman looks great! I'm going to add it to my list.

Kailana said...

It looks like you have a lot of fun reading in your future!

Susan said...

Sam: I'm glad I could surprise you! lol I do enjoy alternate history - Connie Willis, one of my favourite writers, does wonderful alternate histories and time travel stories. A couple of the ones on my list are alternate histories too. Which Harry Turtledove anthology are you reading?

Literary Feline: thank you, I hope I finish a few challenges this year! lol I will hurry up and read so you can get some recs!!! :-D I'm working on one now for Ana's challenge (long-awaited reads)....

Eva: You're so welcome!! The list compiled over at Worlds Without End made me realize I have read many by women, and also how many awesome books are now being published in science fiction by female writers. It's a fun challenge, and a really good way to see how women think of science and the future - I can see Ana getting charged up over this, but I do believe there is a difference between sci fi by men, and by women, though I don't know how much is due to education (more men than women in hard sciences), and how much in how women view connections because I think this is one way we do perceive the world - through connections. That said, some male writers are using female protagonists (Jack McDevitt is one) that I am about to start reading :-) It's exciting, anyway! I'm glad you are too.

I hear you in Texas got some snow this week, so it is your annual cold snap! lol Stay warm, Eva!

Kathleen: I will review and post as fast as I can! lol! I am always hopeful when I sign up for challenges, grand plans for what i will read for them :-)

Carl: Thank you for the recommendation for Wool, which I think Chris has mentioned too. I looked for it on Amazon and I missed last year's printing. Another edition is coming out in March. Too late for your experience, but enough time for the dystopian challenge :-) I keep meaning to read Ship Breaker too.

Farmer in the Sky was one of my favourite science fiction books I read as a teenager. I am looking forward to rereading it and seeing if I like it as much. We could always read it together, if you like :) that would be fun.

Thank you, Carl, for hosting this challenge again! YOu make it possible for all of us to get together to talk about science fiction, every year :-)

Susan said...

Andrea: Thank you so much for letting me know about it! I have to add your link to my post, I was doing this late at night.

I have read the third one in George RR Martin's books...I'm stuck on the 4th one. I'm finding it hard to read about characters I haven't met before. I know he says they're part of the story, but I want to know what's happening to whom I do know! I did enjoy the third book very much.

Maybe you, me and Carl could read The Postman together? I'm not sure if we have enough time, but we could try. It could be fun, during his Experience.

Kailana: Yes! I do! And there's even more books piled up for all the challenges I haven't mentioned! lol Reading challenge addicted for sure :-)

Carl V. Anderson said...

Perhaps a February group read?

Susan said...

Carl: sure! Do you want email, or should I? The beginning of Feb sound good?

Cheryl @ Tales of the Marvelous said...

I have such a stack of sci fi ready to go for this challenge, I've been so looking forward to January! Looks like you have an excellent long list to dive into. Have fun!

Carl V. Anderson said...

I certainly don't mind hosting a group read for it but as this was your idea I'd be thrilled to see you do it and I'll just sign up. You tell me what you would rather do and we'll make it happen.

Stefanie said...

You're going to be doing some great SF reading! For some reason in January I love to read books about gardening. When it's 20F outside with snow on the ground, books about gardens are a nice escape :)

Unknown said...

Its interesting that Science Fiction is so varied an example here

Susan said...

Cheryl: I am having fun, I've read 5 books so far for this experience! I'll come see how you are doing :-) Thanks for dropping in.

Carl: the surgery call came after we were talking about this, and now it's Feb 20th, and I still don't feel quite up to hosting it. I'm so sorry! I am still curious about reading it, but I'm letting myself read a whole lot of whatever catches my fancy while I recover. i am sorry it couldn't happen this time around.

Stefanie: Gardening! I wish I could read gardening books in January, you would think all the snow would make me want to, but I think I get depressed more at how long I have to wait for green to come back again! Feb is usually my worst month of the year, and by the end of it, I can start looking at gardening books. Which ones were you reading this year? Any good ones?

FCTC: I'll come take a look. Thank you for leaving a comment here.

Carl V. Anderson said...

No worries, I completely understand and hope all is going well with you now. I am very over committed with my reading right now anyway. :)

Susan said...

Carl: Thank you so much for understanding! How about next year?

I've just been looking through the latest Locus, with the year's best sf and fantasy, and have added well over 10 books to get asap. They all look so good. I think I will do a post about that :-) though it's not the same as reading The Postman, of course.

Carl V. Anderson said...

Yes, I'm looking forward to getting to that issue and dreading it at the same time. Please do that post, I'd be interested in knowing the books in that issue that caught your eye.

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