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?