Sunday, January 1, 2023

Reading Challenge: Speculative Fiction Invaders 2023

2022's Science Fiction Invaders challenge was huge fun and quite a few people joined in on the challenge. The amount of participants exceeded all my expectations so I'm calling it a success. A huge thank you to everyone who participated!

One thing I noticed was that while participating in the challenge I read loads of science fiction, but I tended to neglect all other genres. Who wants to read something if it doesn't count for anything? As a result I've decided to morph Science Fiction Invaders into Speculative Fiction Invaders for 2023. This means you can read anything that falls under the speculative fiction umbrella (fantasy, horror and science fiction). Adding more genres means you have more choice in what you want to read and, of course it also means you have the opportunity to earn more points! 

I'm pleased to officially launch the Speculative Fiction Invaders  (SF Invaders) reading challenge. This is a fun, low-commitment,  speculative fiction themed reading challenge which will blast off on 1 January and end on 31 December 2023. 

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.

Game sheet for speculative fiction invaders reading 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! Re-reads are allowed.)

Finish a speculative fiction (SF) 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 SF novel with more than 500 pages - 10,500 points

Read a SF novel with more than 350 pages - 5,000 points

Read a SF novel/novella/graphic novel with more than 100 pages - 2,000 points

Read a SF 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. Unless otherwise stated only one bonus condition can apply per prompt.

Read a SF novel by a female/non-binary/POC author  - 1,000 points
Read a SF novel by an author from a country outside the US/UK - 1,000 points
Read a SF novel released in 2023 - 500 points

Tame that TBR: Read a novel which has been on your TBR/shelves for more than a year - 200 points.
This bonus can be used in conjunction with any other bonus prompts.

Golden Triad: Read a novel (350 pages or more) from each of the three genres (1 x horror, 1 x fantasy and 1 x science fiction novel.) - 7,000 points.
The Golden Triad can be earned for each set of 3 genre novels read and counts in addition to any other bonus prompts.

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).

Hard Mode: Leaving it to Fate

For those who like to live dangerously or who just can't decide what to read next you can leave it up to fate.  For each of the novel categories you can roll the dice to determine which genre you need to read. You'll need a D8 (or just use Google to "Roll D8") and let fate decide:

  1. Science Fiction
  2. Horror
  3. Fantasy
  4. Genre of your choosing
  5. Science Fiction
  6. Fantasy
  7. Horror
  8. Genre of your choosing

For each novel decided by fate you earn 300 extra points. Do you feel lucky?

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

To make it easy to keep track of your score there is a handy Google sheets spreadsheet to use. You can share your score in the comments below, on Instagram or via Twitter using #SFInvaders. 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 and much appreciated!

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 Hall of Fame. Only the bravest, most determined souls will be able to achieve this pinnacle. Will you be the one? 


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

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