Sunday, January 16, 2022

2022 Reading and Blogging Goals

A stack of books

2021 has been a YEAR, another trying year with loads of challenges and difficult circumstances to overcome. Thankfully it's over and a new year filled with hope and lots of books beckons.

I kept my goals for last year pretty simple and overall I did pretty well,

Read a total of 45 books: Success! I exceeded this by quite a bit and ended up reading a total of 70 books.

Read at least 20 books I already own: Success! I read 15 books I already owned and 34 of the new books I purchased during the year (which count as owned.)

Buy fewer books & read books within 12 months of buying them: Fail. I purchased a total of 198 books and read only 34 of them.

Start doing quick reviews: Fail. I still haven't managed to do this.

2022 Goals

For 2022 I'm keeping it simple once again.

Read 50 books:
I'm upping the total slightly from my normal 45 books. 50 just seems to be a nice round number.

Read at least 20 books I already own:
Still chipping away at Mount TBR one small chunk at a time.

Host the Science Fiction Invaders reading challenge
I want to successfully launch and host the Science Fiction Invaders reading challenge.This is a fun science fiction themed reading challenge I came up with late one night. Read books. Earn points. Kick invader ass!

I'm hoping this will be a success and that lots of people actually participate, otherwise I'll look rather foolish. I even made a Youtube promo video for it!

And that's basically it. Hopefully this will be a great reading year.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Best Reads of 2021

Best reads of the year. Cover image featuring line of books

Another year has come and gone. 2021 was a very tough year, in so many ways. I'm thankful to see it end. I managed to read 70 books, finishing the last book of the year with just 10 minutes to spare. There were some great reads this year, with just a few that didn't quite work for me.

Here, in no particular order are my best reads of 2021. I could have made a list consisting exclusively of Adrian Tchaikovsky's work, but forced myself to limit it to only two.

Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay

Cover for Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay

Survivor Song is not a zombie novel. Not in the traditional sense. Paul Tremblay takes the traditional zombie and transforms it into terrifying reality. A story of a personal horror told exceptionally well. Tremblay manages to turn even a blank page into a devastating blow straight to the heart. A truly heart-wrenching read. This unconventional horror at its best.

Dogs of War by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Cover for Dogs of War

Adrian Tchaikovsky once again shifts the boundaries of possibility of non-human intelligence. Dogs of War is larger in scope and far more nuanced than it first appears. To say it's a mind-bending read would be wholly inadequate. Rex is not just a Good Dog. He is the Best Dog!

Shards of Earth by by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Cover for Shards of Earth

A brand new space opera universe to explore together with the best type of found family. Tchaikovsky has outdone himself once again. I can’t quite decide if I like Shards of Earth more than Children of Time (both, I love both!), but if this is how things start out I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of the trilogy. Highly recommended!

Leviathan Falls by James S.A. Corey

Cover for Leviathan Falls

A bittersweet farewell. Leviathan Falls brings the most epic of space operas to a fitting close. The ending is unexpectedly poignant. It will tear your heart to shreds while still offering a pinprick of hope. This is as satisfying an ending as anyone could have hoped for. It’s been one hell of a ride and worth every moment!

You Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo

Cover for You Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo

I didn't think I'd enjoy this as much as I did. All the story elements brought together here shouldn't work so well together, but somehow they do. You Sexy Thing is an immensely fun read. If you are looking for an unusual space opera with surprising emotional depth hidden in it’s cozy exterior then look no further.

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Hopefully 2022 will bring some more amazing reads. Happy reading!

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Reading Challenge: Science Fiction Invaders 2022

Nothing rings in a new year quite like a shiny new reading challenge. It brings me great joy to officially announce the Science Fiction Invaders reading challenge. This is a fun, low-commitment,  science fiction themed reading challenge which will blast off on 1 January and end on 31 December 2022. 

How it works:

Download the game sheet below to print out or keep as a digital file. Each time you complete a prompt you can cross off an invader and award yourself the indicated amount of points. All points earned count towards your yearly total. Be sure to keep track of your accumulated points. During the year we'll have quarterly check-ins and you can share your high score at the end of the year to claim a spot on the leaderboard.

You can read as much or as little as you want. To successfully finish the challenge you need to complete at least one full game sheet which will require reading 18 short stories, 7 novellas/graphic novels, 7 novels with 350+ pages, 4 novels with 500+ pages and 3 novels which are part of a trilogy or the last 3 books in a series.

The game sheet for the Science Fiction Invaders challenge

The prompts and scoring:

As a general rule, unless otherwise stated, you are required to finish one book per prompt. Books cannot be used for multiple prompts. Each story in an anthology/collection counts as a single short story. (And yes, audiobooks and short story podcasts count too!)

Finish a sci-fi trilogy or series (50,000 points)
To complete this prompt you need to start and finish reading an entire science fiction trilogy during the year. For a longer series you need to finish the last 3 books in that series during the year. The 3 books used for this prompt do not count towards any other prompt.

Read a sci-fi novel with more than 500 pages (10,500 points)

Read a sci-fi novel with more than 350 pages (5,000 points)

Read a sci-fi novel/novella/graphic novel with more than 100 pages (2,000 points)

Read a sci-fi short story (500 points)

Bonus points:

You can earn bonus points by completing any of the following in conjunction with any regular prompt for novellas and above. Only one bonus condition can apply per prompt.

Read a sci-fi novel by a female/non-binary/POC author (1,000 points)
Read a sci-fi novel by an author from a country outside the US/UK (1,000 points)
Read a sci-fi novel released in 2022 (500 points)

Example 1:
You read a 500 page book by a male UK author. You earn 10,500 points. (No bonus applies)
Example 2:
You read a 500 page book by a male South African author. You earn 11,500 points (10,500 + 1,000 bonus points for author outside US/UK).
Example 3:
You read a 500 page book by a female South African author. You earn 11,500 points (10,500 + 1,000 bonus points for either female author or author outside US/UK. Only 1 bonus applies per prompt.).

Level Up

You have successfully completed the reading challenge once all the invaders have been eliminated and crossed off your game sheet. Well done! You can call it a day and bask in the warm glow of your accomplishment, or you can decide to continue your fight (and accumulate even more points) by leveling up.

You level up by starting another game sheet (level) and completing the prompts like normal. You can complete as many levels as you like, but each game sheet must be completed in full before you can start the next one.

All points earned from multiple levels count towards your cumulative total and your yearly high score.

Share your score

You can share your score in the comments below or via Twitter using #SFInvaders. You can also join the Science Fiction Invaders Discord Channel to participate there. Quarterly totals should be posted by the end of March, June and September. At the end of December you can post your final high score to be included in the leaderboard. Feel free to share your monthly progress and what you are reading. Engagement is always great!

The Hall of Fame

A special reward awaits a select few readers who manage to reach 1,000,000 points during the challenge. This magnificent achievement will be forever immortalised in the Science Fiction Invaders Hall of Fame. Only the bravest, most determined souls will be able to achieve this pinnacle. Will you be the one? 

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I hope this challenge brings you a little bit of joy throughout the year and that you have fun while expanding your science fiction horizons. Arm your blasters and start your engines. Let's go kick some invader ass!