November Redux: my SciFiMonth

A pair of burgundy boots rest on a bookshelf of fantasy novels

I don’t like to do things by halves: November was SciFiMonth here on the blog, the final run down to a massive project launch at work, and saw family visiting from overseas at home. It’s been tricky to juggle and I’m finishing the month overtired and unwell – but hey, there are only 24 reading days until Christmas 😉

Reading Round-up

I was hoping to get a bit more reading done this month, but I didn’t do too badly. A Memory Called Empire and Steel Frame have both catapulted to the top of my list of favourite reads of the year, and I thoroughly enjoyed the SciFiMonth read-alongs (both rereads for me).

  • A Memory Called Empire – Arkady Martine  ★★★★☆
  • Childhood’s End – Arthur C Clarke  ★★☆
  • The Sparrow – Mary Doria Russell  ★★★★☆
  • Record of a Spaceborn Few – Becky Chambers  ★★★★
  • Steel Frame – Andrew Skinner  ★★★★

Additional Reviews

Stacking the shelves

What can I say, I have no self-control in the face of ARCs or offers when I’m stressed and overtired. I have no regrets – although I won’t be rushing into reading most of these, my plans for 2020 are rapidly taking shape and they’re quite exciting.

Reading statistics

My goal – always – is to read diversely and to love every book. This year, I’m determined to read more books I own, but I am taking it one book at a time.

Books read: 62 / 75 | Game of Books: 356 / 400

  • 8 / 22 off the shelf (i.e. not bought in 2019)
  • 21 ARCs / Hugo packet
  • 16 bite-size (excl. short stories)

Authors: 18 male (29%) / 39 female (63%) / 4 trans, non-binary or genderfluid (6%) and 1 collaboration

  • Authors of colour: 11 (18%)
  • LGBTQIA authors: 16 (26%)
  • Non-US / UK based authors: 7 (11%)

Dancing with Fantasy and SciFi

This was never going to be a month for progressing my fantasy dance card, but at least I finally figured out what I will read to mark off the Magic School square next month! I’ve been sat on a copy of The True Queen by Zen Cho for months, and Prunella’s school for girls most certainly qualifies. And oh look, my ARC of The Sky Weaver has pirates! The classic dance is up for grabs: I have a large pile of classic fantasy waiting to claim it, and an invitation to revisit Deverry with Lisa (I think we all know that dance is going to Deverry).

17/20 Fantasy prompts: Necromancers (Children of Blood and Bone) | PTSD (Someone Like Me) | Dragons (The Poison Song) | Fairytale Retelling (Foxfire, Wolfskin and other Stories of Shapeshifting Women) | Grimdark (Darksoul) | Ghosts (Brightfall) | Uncommon fantasy creatures (The Kingdom of Copper) | Shapeshifters (Vengeful)| Gods (Empire of Sand) | Animal companion (Maud the pig in Once Upon A River) | Matriarchy (Turning Darkness Into Light) | Set In Our World (The Loosening Skin) | Witches (The Near Witch) | Magical Law Enforcement (Lies Sleeping) | Thief (The Ascent to Godhood) | Portal fantasy (Beneath The Sugar Sky) | Warrior (Trail of Lightning)

SciFiMonth was always expected to chip away at my outstanding SF dances and sure enough it has done its job. I’m down to 2 dances – I’ve started The Mummy! for Proto SF and Glasshouse by Charlie Stross arrived this week to tick my teleportation jig. Now I just need to get them read…

18/20 SF prompts: On a Different Planet (The City in the Middle of the Night) | Spaceship (Shadow Captain) | A.I. Point of View (I Still Dream) | Utopia (Semiosis) | Virtual Reality (The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle) | Hive (Childhood’s End) | Steampunk (The Haunting of Tram Car 015) | Alien (Tiamat’s Wrath) | Super powers (Static Ruin) | Science (The Calculating Stars) | Replicate (The Survival of Molly Southbourne) | Space Colonization (The Freeze-Frame Revolution) | Time Travel (This Is How You Lose The Time War) | Mecha (Steel Frame) | Space Creatures / Beasts (Space Opera) | Space Western (Hunger Makes the Wolf) | The Moon (Adrift on the Sea of Rains) | Invasion (A Memory Called Empire)

With 4 left to go (and one the daunting ‘over 800 pages’), the generic card still feels troublesome. I have ideas of what to dance with for all of these, but I do wonder whether I’ll choose to read those books rather than some of the others burning a hole in my general TBR. We’ll see…

8/12 General prompts: Under 500 Pages (The Traitor Baru Cormorant) | Novella (Artificial Condition) | Finish A Series (The Unbound Empire) | Mental Health (The Psychology of Time Travel) | Disability (Age of Assassins) | Library (Every Day) | By a WOC (The Tea Master and the Detective) | One Word Title (Bloodchild)

What else has been going on?

I don’t imagine you can have missed the SciFiMonth extraganza going on around here for the past 30 days. The final Mission Status will go out tomorrow to close out the fun. As usual, I’m both sad to see it finish and looking forward to a quiet December!

…that’s not to say you’ve seen the last of an SFnal focus around here. I didn’t get all my reviews written, so while I may switch up my reading for a splash of fantasy, expect more space opera to grace these pages in the run up to Christmas.