Posted by: AnubiSphinx | August 28, 2010

Science Fiction Challenge II

One of science fiction’s quirks is that it’s more encompassing than specified genres like mystery so not as clearly defined. That’s one reason why I like it, but also think it’s detrimental and confusing for some. It seems that 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 Wars, but it’s so much more than that. In brief, it’s a vast 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. There’s something for everyone, from alternate histories to classics like Frankenstein and H.G. Wells to contemporary literature like the Handmaid’s Tale and then some. I love the genre because of its wide study, commentary, and exploration of humanity and technology. From cyberpunks to super-humans and beyond, it spans tastes and is limited only by the imagination.

I decided to start a science fiction reading challenge for several reasons. Firstly, I acquired a few books and a pile of recommended reading at last year’s 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 generally don’t 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 that challenges not only stimulate conversation among bibliophiles, but they’re fun as well. Anyway…


1. Read 4 or 8 science fiction books (or audio books). Some suggestions are below.
2. The challenge runs from August 28, 2010 to August 8, 2011. 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. Overlaps with other challenges are fine.
6. Have fun.

Sign up:

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

A few icons available for use:

sf_challenge1 sf_challenge3 sf_challenge2

A compilation of possibilities:


  • Isaac Asimov: I, Robot
  • Philip K. Dick
  • William Gibson: Neuromancer (Sprawl trilogy)
  • Robert Heinlein: early works, Stranger in a Strange Land
  • Ursula Le Guin: the Lathe of Heaven or the Left Hand of Darkness
  • Judith Merril
  • George Orwell: Animal Farm or Nineteen-Eighty Four
  • Theodore Sturgeon
  • Jack Vance
  • H.G. Wells


  • Sylvie Bérard
  • Steven Boyett: Ariel
  • Samuel “Chip” Delany
  • Nancy Kress
  • Georges Panchard: Forteresse
  • Ann McCaffrey
  • Colin Robertson: Alan Steel trilogy
  • Michael Swanwick: the Iron Dragon’s Daughter
  • Élisabeth Vonarburg
  • Tesseracts Q (Anthology)

More resources and reading:



  1. I am going to sign up for your Sci-Fi challenge. Just trying to put a few thoughts together as to what I may potentially like to read throughout the year.
    Considering that I already know that I want to read 1984 and Iron Dragon’s Daughter, I am already half way there to meeting the requirement. 😉

  2. I signed-up again 🙂 Thanks for hosting!!!

  3. Ibeeg: Welcome aboard. I’ve been busy, barely having time to think about future reads, prepping for this challenge, blogging, or commenting on your blog- though I have been reading it. On that note, time for work.

  4. I’m going to sign up: just as soon as I get a post together, but in the meantime am making a head start with Christopher Priest’s Inverted World. Thanks for running it again: I am grateful for another chance to make good after my abysmal attempt last time!

  5. It’ll be nice having you along again. I haven’t heard about Priest until recently. How’s Inverted so far?

  6. Oh. I finished the Priest today. Mixed reactions… For an original and mindblowing concept, extremely well executed, I can’t fault him. Still looking for a positive spin to soften the rest of my thoughts…

    Have you read any Priest? He does seem to be enjoying a resurgence.

  7. Ahh, one of those. Nope, haven’t heard of Priest until this past week when I started seeing his name and books mentioned in various spots.

  8. […] this is a link to the post where you will find the Mister Linky for signing-up purposes, and here are Mish’s suggestions as to possible reading […]

  9. I’ve not read any contemporary sci-fi authors from your list. That can’t be right?! Okay! We must change that….

    Count me in for the challenge – Philip K Dick’s Man In The High Castle’s already on my shelf so that’s definitely going to be read. Let’s see what else I end up reading… Ideally, I’d like to do the eight, but think I’ll end up doing about six.

    Is Fantasy included, or is it sci-fi only?!

  10. […] (@ Stage And Canvas) is hosting the Science Fiction Challenge again, which started in August! I know, I know, I’m a little late to the party, but hey! you […]

  11. I went ahead and signed up though I probably won’t post about it until it gets closer to the time when I host the Sci Fi Experience, if that is okay. Looking forward to dipping back into my large stack of as yet unread science fiction classics and contemporary novels.

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