Posted by: AnubiSphinx | August 16, 2009

Sci-Fi Reading Challenge

Through the years I’ve found myself reading more and more science-fiction, with and without intention. When I read Margaret Atwood’s futuristic Handmaid’s Tale and the alternate history created by Steven Barnes in Lion’s Blood I wasn’t thinking of sci-fi or speculative fiction, but just recommended reading. By the way, they’re both fantastic. It seems like what turns a lot of people off from the genre is the stigma that it’s all aliens, robots, outer space, scientific terminology, and Star Trek, but it’s much much more than that. Sci-fi is a literature of ideas and infinite possibilities that may include the past or future, a completely different timeline, utopias or dystopias, science and technology like time travel, or an invasion of body snatchers. I love sci-fi because of its study, commentary, and exploration of humanity and technology. From cyberpunks to super-humans and beyond, it spans tastes and the sky’s the limit- good thing it’s a very vast sky.

I decided to start a sci-fi reading challenge for several reasons. Firstly, I acquired a few books and a lot of recommended reading at WorldCon and thought others might be interested in an open read along. Secondly, to scrape off some of the stigma mentioned above. Thirdly, people who don’t generally read sci-fi frequently ask where to start. Fourthly, although I enjoy reading fantasy I feel its growing popularity has pushed sci-fi to the sidelines. Lastly, I’ve discovered this year that challenges not only stimulate conversation among bibliophiles, but they’re fun as well. Anyway…


1. Read 3.14 or 8 books (or audio books) of the science-fiction genre. Suggestions are below.
2. The challenge runs from August 28, 2009 to August 8, 2010. You may join at any time.
3. Sign up using Mr. Linky below (please link directly to your post). If you don’t have a blog, just enter your name and leave the URL blank.
4. Each time you read a book, please link to your reviews. If you don’t do reviews, no biggie.
5. Making a list of chosen books is optional and it can change at any time. Overlaps with other challenges are fine.

Sign up:

Since it won’t display here, the list of participants is there.

Review page is posted here.

A few icons available for use:

sf_challenge1 sf_challenge3 sf_challenge2

A compilation of possible reads (recommended by folks from WorldCon):


  • Isaac Asimov: I Robot
  • Philip K. Dick
  • William Gibson: Neuromancer (Sprawl trilogy)
  • Ursula Le Guin: the Left Hand of Darkness
  • James Gunn- anthologist
  • Robert Heinlein: early works, Stranger in a Strange Land
  • Judith Merril
  • Theodore Sturgeon
  • Jack Vance
  • H.G. Wells


  • Steven Boyett: Ariel
  • Samuel “Chip” Delany
  • Nancy Kress
  • Ann McCaffrey
  • JD Robb aka Nora Roberts
  • Colin Robertson: Alan Steel trilogy
  • Michael Swanwick: the Iron Dragon’s Daughter

Canadian/French: (Would be longer if I could hear better.)

More resources and reading:



  1. I haven’t read most of the authors above, but, if you do decide on Philip K. Dick, try Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep. Not only is the title great, but the story’s amazing as well.

    The one by him that’s been on my radar for ages is, The Man In The High Castle – if you do end up planning on reading it, let me know. Would be interesting to compare notes 🙂

    Looks like a fun ‘un – best of luck with the challenge.

  2. Thanks. From that list I’ve only read Heinlein and Le Guin. If I get to Dick’s books it’ll most likely be those two. They’re on another recommended SF/F list I have.

  3. That’s a good list you have there! I may just join this challenge — not that I don’t read enough SF as it is *grin* but to get me started on new authors (both classic and contemporary). If you’re ever in need recommendations, I’m more than happy to shower you with plenty.

  4. See, I was thinking Vega needs to read more sci-fi so I’ll create a challenge. We’re basically in the same ship. I’ll keep your offer in mind. Later this week I’ll probably start posting my notes from all the discussions and such…brain overload.

  5. Is that 3.14 books or 8 books?

    Or should it read 3 – 8 books? Will love to be in it – so am taking it as a minimum of 2, maximum of 8. Will try for 8 can do 8 in a year I am sure 🙂

  6. I don’t read Sci-Fi for most of the reasons you listed above, so this challenge is great for me to step out of my comfort zone. I’ll do a post on my blog over the weekend and list on Mr. Linky.

  7. Sally, the 3.14 (pi) was a poor attempt at mathematical humor. Basically 3 or 8 books. Nice to have you join, please add your name/link to Mr. Linky.

    Tokemise, welcome aboard. If you want any suggestions feel free to ask.

  8. this sounds interesting as I have a pile of sci fi books in my TBR pile

  9. Challenges are a “good excuse” for making it to certain books in TBR piles.

  10. Have done my Mr Linky thing – and put details up on my challenge blog 🙂

  11. Cool challenge. I’m really glad the 3.14 was explained. I was going to write a note about a typo……(my attempt at humor.) I’m going to get my list together, will link soon.
    Nice badges! Thanks.

  12. *chuckles* I almost wrote it as 3.14159, but didn’t. Maybe then fewer would think it a typo.

    The more the merrier.

  13. I joined. Awesome challenge 🙂

  14. Cool, thanks and welcome.

  15. Would the original Frankenstien be considered Sci-Fi? I’m new to the genre and would love some beginner suggestions. Thanks

  16. Nice one, that’s on my “eventual” list. Yes, it’s actually considered the first of the mad scientist novels and there’s playing G-d. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on that one and what you end up thinking of your sci-fi reads.

    A few favorites and suggestions based on what I’ve seen on your blog:

    Lion’s Blood by Steven Barnes: A brilliant alternate history where Islamic Africa enslaves mainly the Irish and an unlikely friendship forms between a slave and a plantation owner’s son. I need to get this one back so I can re-read it.

    The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: An eerie dystopian novel in which women are subjugated and only deemed worthy for reproduction. There’s also Blind Assassin, which I hear is also really good.

    Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: A social commentary where critical thought from reading is illegal and books are burned for the good of humanity.

    Rod Serling’s books from the Twilight Zone, which you may be able to find. I love the old show so it was great being able to read his stories.

    The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula Le Guin. I think it’s a great introduction to her writing without being too technical or overwhelming.

  17. Wonderful challenge – I just signed up (or at least, I think I did… I’ve never used Mr Linky before 😉

    I usually read fantasy rather than sci-fi, so this will give me a push into foreign territory!

    My Challenge Post

  18. I picked out my books and posted a link on Mr. Linky. Thanks so much for the suggestions.

  19. […] Sci-Fi Reading Challenge 5 09 2009 I stumbled across a new reading challenge today, the Sci-Fi Reading Challenge hosted over at Stage and Canvas. Sci-fi is a genre that I’ve kind of dabbled in a little bit, […]

  20. This sounds interesting, so I may try it. I’ve posted to Mr. Linky. Now to actually get my list going.

  21. I have still never, never, never read Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness. I really should get to it one of these days.

  22. I’m not a big science fiction reader, so this is going to be a real challenge to me. All the books will be outside my normal comfort zone. I really hope I can discover a few unexpected surprises. Thank you for hosting this challenge!

  23. Count me in! I haven’t got a blog post yet but I’ve got several books from your list on my TBR list!

  24. Welcome aboard. I’m looking forward to seeing what you read.

  25. Finally got my list together and signed up! Missed out on some sci-fi greats in my sci-fi days, grateful for the push to redress the balance.

  26. […] detailed review of Consider Phlebas originally inspired me to reconsider genre, and Mish’s sci-fi challenge will hopefully provide the impetus to stick with it.  (Mish has also given me a reason to reinvest […]

  27. I’ll probably have 8 read before Christmas.

  28. wow..there are so many sci-fi books…and so far, I only read Chricton. Shame on me

  29. […] Reading Challenge Posted on October 11, 2009 by taraSG I’ve signed up to do the SciFi Reading Challenge! It runs until August 8th, […]

  30. I found you through Trisha at eclectic/eccentric and I’m in.

  31. […] · 1 Comment Mish at Stage and Canvas has organized a Sci-Fi Challenge that runs from August 28, 2009 to August 8, 2010.  I’ve decided to join because I love […]

  32. I am finally live with my list Mish. 🙂
    I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s reviews.

  33. […] Sci Fi Book Challenge – Aug. 28, 2009 to Aug. 8, 2010 […]

  34. […] (The Challenge Page) […]

  35. […] 24, 2009 by sally906   Mish at Stage and Canvas is hosting the Sci-Fi Reading Challenge. Mish writes: It seems like what turns a lot of people off from the genre is the stigma that […]

  36. I’m thinking of maybe doing this but tentatively. I used to read sci-fi a lot (loved the Asimov stuff especially), but I haven’t been able to get into it as much in recent years. I do have some that I would like to read.
    Mars Life by Ben Bova
    Titan or Jupiter by Ben Bova (love books about particular planets – his book on Venus was great!)
    Flashforward by Robert Sawyer

    Maybe a Stephen Baxter book too. We shall see!

  37. I’m starting late, but I’ll finish in time. I hope.

  38. […] challenge goes along perfectly with this one. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Fiction: Sci-FiThe Book ConfluenceTeaser […]

  39. […] joining two Sci-Fi challenges.  The 42 Challenge for 2010 and the Sci-Fi Challenge that Mish has […]

  40. OK true sci-fi is not really my thing. Sci-fantasy — gads of them so I’m going to stretch the envelope here and try.

  41. My First Book: Dune by Frank Herbert

  42. […] Reading Challenge I’ve signed up to do the SciFi Reading Challenge! It runs until August 8th, […]

  43. […] is my sixth read for the Sci-fi Challenge. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)linky linksWhat I Read Last Week (19 October […]

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