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The Official UN-official SFF-KIT For 2019!!!

2019 Category Challenge

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Edited: Mar 17, 6:11pm Top

We are back, and ready to read some more great SciFi and Fantasy books!

The Wiki is here: https://wiki.librarything.com/index.php/2019_SFFKIT

Thanks, majkia, for doing that again for us this year!

Monthly challenges to be added here:

January: "Read an SFF you meant to read in 2018, but never started/completed" - hosted by fuzzi

February: "Colonization" hosted by majkia

March: "Mystery/police procedural/detective Science Fiction or Fantasy" hosted by owlie13

April: "Sword & Sorcery" hosted by Kristelh

May: "International Sci-Fi/Fantasy by Non-US/UK authors" hosted by whitewavedarling

June: "Road-trip" hosted by mathgirl40

July: "Space Opera" hosted by h-mb

August: "Alternate History" hosted by LisaMorr

September: "Series" hosted by Tanya-dogearedcopy

October: "Comedy" hosted by RobertGreaves

November: "Award Winners (Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy Award,...)" hosted by scaifea

December: "End-of-the-Year Wrap Up" hosted by DeltaQueen50

Last year's challenges can be viewed here:


Nov 24, 2018, 12:32pm Top

I kept the January theme from last year, but if anyone has a good suggestion for a different challenge, just let me know.

Edited: Nov 24, 2018, 3:45pm Top

Nov 24, 2018, 10:22pm Top

>3 majkia: yippee!!! (and thanks)

Nov 25, 2018, 4:23am Top

I think that is a good theme for January, because time is already running away from me and it is not even December yet. There'll be many books to choose for this, come January.

Nov 25, 2018, 10:23am Top

I'll take February with a topic of Colonization

Nov 25, 2018, 11:49am Top

How would you guys feel about me reviving the 'International Sci-Fi/Fantasy by non-US/UK authors' theme from a few years ago? I discovered a few great authors that month, so it seems like it would be worth bringing it up again :) I could do it in either May or June. (Or, later in the year, August, September, or October :) )

Nov 25, 2018, 12:19pm Top

>7 whitewavedarling: sounds like a plan!

Nov 25, 2018, 12:44pm Top

Nov 25, 2018, 3:28pm Top

I could do sword and sorcery theme if that sounds different enough from previous years?

Edited: Nov 25, 2018, 4:15pm Top

I could do December and make it an end-of-the-year wrap up month or Reader's Choice, a time to read the book you either couldn't fit in earlier or a book that you want to read and haven't been able to get to it during the year.

>10 Kristelh: I like the idea of a sword and sorcery theme!

Nov 25, 2018, 4:28pm Top

>10 Kristelh:, I like the idea of a sword and sorcery them also, and I'll never argue against an end-of-the-year wrap-up thread! (Especially right now, with a stack of books to be completed in 2018 starting at me if I want to finish all of my challenges...)

Nov 25, 2018, 5:33pm Top

Ok, Sword and Sorcery for April.

Nov 25, 2018, 5:41pm Top

Sword a d sorcery was a theme I considered

Edited: Nov 25, 2018, 8:33pm Top

>5 MissWatson: thanks!

>6 majkia: added!

>7 whitewavedarling: pick a month, any month...

>11 DeltaQueen50: added!

>13 Kristelh: added!

Nov 25, 2018, 8:37pm Top

>15 fuzzi:, We'll say May, then :)

Nov 25, 2018, 10:08pm Top

I love road-trip books, so how about a road-trip theme in June? I'm thinking it could include everything from Frodo and Samwise's hike to Mordor to the intergalactic journey in The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet.

Nov 25, 2018, 11:03pm Top

Nov 30, 2018, 6:26am Top

It looks like the list is a little slow to fill up and I love this challenge, so I'm hesitantly stepping forward to host a month.

Caveats: This is only my second year in the Challenge group and I've never hosted a theme, so I'm not sure how this goes - I post the thread when the time comes and sort of maintain it, right? Anything else I'd need to do?

Also, as far as a theme goes, how about Award Winners (Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy Award,...)? Again, I'm still fairly new at this, so if that's an old, worn-old category, let me know and I'll try to think of something else. I'd be happy to take March, if that's okay, but honestly any of the open months would be fine.

Nov 30, 2018, 7:56am Top

>19 scaifea: I don't want to speak for everyone else, but I love reading from awards lists, especially the new ones each year!

Will you be allowing nominees as well as winners? If so, would you consider hosting a bit later in the year? The Nebula shortlist usually appears in February with the winners announced in May, while the Hugo shortlist appears in April with the winners announced in August. The Locus awards are announced in June.

So if you pick a later month, we'll have several 2019 lists to choose from. BTW, I've got June at the moment, but I'll be happy to change if that's a month you (or anyone else) wants.

Nov 30, 2018, 8:35am Top

>20 mathgirl40: Good point about doing it later in the year - I'll take November, then, if that's okay with everyone. And yes, nominees would definitely count!

Nov 30, 2018, 8:54am Top

>21 scaifea: welcome! You've been added to November.

All you need to do is start a thread before November 1st, but mid-October is okay as many here are early birds, like to start posting their planned reads before the challenge month starts.

Feel free to do as you like with your November thread, add pictures, encourage discussion, etc. We're very relaxed about this challenge.

Nov 30, 2018, 8:59am Top

I've invited people from the SciFi group to join us, the more the merrier!


Nov 30, 2018, 9:22am Top

>21 scaifea: Sounds great, thanks!

Nov 30, 2018, 10:52am Top

I've never hosted before, but I'd be willing to give it a try. For a theme, what about mystery/police procedural/detective Science Fiction or Fantasy? Would that be acceptable? If so, you could put me down for March.

Nov 30, 2018, 11:02am Top

>25 owlie13: oh that sounds good.

Nov 30, 2018, 1:28pm Top

>22 fuzzi: Okay, great - thanks!

>24 mathgirl40: Woot!

Nov 30, 2018, 4:07pm Top

I was thinking about alternate history or dystopian - does anyone have a preference? March, August or September would work for me.

Nov 30, 2018, 4:30pm Top

>28 LisaMorr: Personally, I prefer alternate history, but happy to go along with group.

Nov 30, 2018, 5:16pm Top

I prefer alternate history too!

Nov 30, 2018, 8:34pm Top

>25 owlie13: updated!

>28 LisaMorr: I put you down for August, okay?

Nov 30, 2018, 8:36pm Top

That works!

Dec 1, 2018, 5:08am Top

I've never hosted either but I'll give it a try, with space opera if that's OK. I'd like to do it in July.

Dec 1, 2018, 7:20am Top

Yay! Filling up!

Dec 1, 2018, 8:15pm Top

>33 h-mb: added...and that's one of my favorite types of SciFi!

Dec 1, 2018, 8:16pm Top

Only September and October have not been chosen...

Edited: Dec 1, 2018, 10:04pm Top

I was reluctant to host a month as I seem fated to never actually complete the challenge for the month I'm actually hosting (!) but I think this time I can actually handle September, with the theme of "Series." DeltaQueen50 hosted it last year, so I'm admitting that I'm stealing the idea from her, but I like the idea of taking on the month that begins with the letter "S" with a theme also beginning with "S" ("S" being the 19th letter of the alphabet = 2019.) I did think about "Steampunk, but I hosted that for a couple of years in the past with mixed results.

How does that sound? If the response is only lukewarm I can brainstorm with something else: Sagas? Singularity? Something Wicked This Way Comes (Classic SFF of the '40s-60s?) I'm totally open to suggestions! :-)

Edited: Dec 1, 2018, 9:52pm Top

>37 Tanya-dogearedcopy: Series sounds great to me!

Dec 2, 2018, 4:10am Top

Series is always useful

Dec 2, 2018, 7:14am Top

>1 fuzzi: Please put me down for September, “Series” :-)

Dec 2, 2018, 9:47am Top

>40 Tanya-dogearedcopy: you got it! I like that topic, as I've yet to find anything "Steampunk" that interests me...I'm more into Space Opera stuff! ;)

Dec 2, 2018, 11:17am Top

>41 fuzzi:, I'm the same--I haven't had much luck with the Steampunk I've picked up. I'm committed to trying some more at some point, but it might be a while. I'm glad it's series, >40 Tanya-dogearedcopy:.

Dec 2, 2018, 12:19pm Top

>41 fuzzi: and >42 whitewavedarling: Try Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. It hooked me on steampunk.

Dec 2, 2018, 12:52pm Top

>43 majkia:, Good to know! Consider the bb taken :)

Dec 2, 2018, 7:26pm Top

>43 majkia: putting on my "Recommended" list, thanks!

Dec 2, 2018, 8:31pm Top

>43 majkia: - Leviathan is the book/series that got me hooked on steampunk as a genre.

Other steampunk suggestions:
The Affinity Bridge by George Mann - a Victorian mystery with steampunk elements
Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding - a swashbuckling pirate adventure theme (think sea pirates with air ships)
Boneshaker by Cherie Priest - more dystopian/ end of world
Soulless by Gail Carriger - a romance romp with vampires and werewolves
The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia - a strong automaton element
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi - dystopian, genetic engineering elements

Dec 2, 2018, 8:49pm Top

>43 majkia: >46 lkernagh: I really liked Leviathan too. If you like YA adventure, I'd also recommend Airborn by Kenneth Oppel.

Other steampunk novels I loved include Perdido Street Station by China Mieville and The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson.

Dec 3, 2018, 7:11am Top

I've read both Leviathan and Airborn that I read just recently and Mieville and Stephenson are both very good authors. I've also read Soulless which was a fun book.

Dec 3, 2018, 8:07am Top

October is still available...

Dec 3, 2018, 11:17am Top

>46 lkernagh: and >47 mathgirl40:, Noted! And, thank you :) I'd never heard of some of those, but I've got them down now. Perdido Street Station and Retribution Falls are both books I've been meaning to get to for too long, so I really need to try. I want to read Windup Girl also, but got put off of it because I read his Ship Breaker and wasn't all that impressed. I'll get to it eventually, though!

Dec 3, 2018, 2:01pm Top

>50 whitewavedarling: Chiming in to say that I recently read Perdido Street Station and absolutely loved it (and I'm generally not a huge fan of steampunk)!

Dec 4, 2018, 11:43pm Top

>50 whitewavedarling: Another suggestion: the Arabella of Mars trilogy by David D. Levine. Think Regency romance with interplanetary sailing ships.

Dec 9, 2018, 3:29am Top

Since nobody else seems to want it, I'll take October, with the theme comedy.

Dec 9, 2018, 3:59am Top

I agree to host the July thead but I don't know where and how to open it ! Help, please.

Dec 9, 2018, 12:39pm Top

>53 Robertgreaves: :-)

>54 h-mb: In mid-June, you'll be asked to set up a separate thread for "Space Opera." That's it! There's nothing to open or do right now :-)

Dec 9, 2018, 4:49pm Top

>53 Robertgreaves: thank you, updating it now...

Dec 9, 2018, 4:52pm Top

>54 h-mb: what Tanya said. Wait until a couple weeks before your month starts.

Dec 19, 2018, 9:55pm Top

I originally wanted to join the Category Challenge for 2019 than left the group as I couldn't figure out how to do it then I saw this update in the Science Fiction group's *thread. I'd love to participate - can someone help a newbie out and explain how this works? Do we pick / choose which category challenges we want to participate in during the year or is there a main challenge and say, this one is in 'addition'? I've tried to get my bearings but it could be the virus I'm fighting my way through ATM is muddling the obvious here -- just a few pointers would be helpful.

Also, love the themes/categories - I would love to join you!

Dec 19, 2018, 10:09pm Top

>58 joriestory: Just start a new thread in the group with your username in the title. Then, you can structure the challenge in any way you want. You could browse through a few members' threads for ideas.

When the challenge first started in 2010, the common goal was to read 10 books in 10 categories. In 2011, it was to read 11 books in 11 categories. When the numbers got higher, people ended up customizing their challenge to fit more realistic goals. This year, I'll be doing 5 books in 19 categories. Others might do 19 books in 5 categories, while others don't worry about the 19 aspect and just create categories to suit their goals.

The extra challenges (CATs, KITs, BingoDOG, group reads) are all optional. Just choose whichever ones interest you and drop in and out throughout the year as you like.

Dec 19, 2018, 10:28pm Top


Ooh! I see -- we each have a baseline of 19 categories which equals 19 books (on the max end) but can do whichever number of books/categories we prefer? Then, those secondary options you've mentioned are 'added-in' throughout the months of the year whilst we're already reading the other stories per theme/category? Okay, it looked Greek to me but I think I get it now! I'll do what you said and stroll through people's lists and see if I can sort this out before I post to the main *thread Thanks for the advice!

So far, though - I need a 'main' *thread of categories to anchour this SFF-KIT too right? Awesome!

Dec 19, 2018, 10:50pm Top

>60 joriestory: Yes, some people still like the 19 theme and plan to read X number of books in 19 categories, for example. Others choose arbitrary categories and numbers to suit their needs. It might help to browse through the 2018 group rather than the 2019 group, as you'll see the categories filled out instead of in the planning stage.

That's correct -- create a new thread with a title to help us identify it as yours. You might want to reserve the first few posts for you to edit with your progress during the year. Do this by posting a note like "reserved for later" or "details to be added". Then later on, you can add your categories to these posts.

Dec 20, 2018, 12:18am Top


Thank you so much for your lovely advice!! I think you could say I took the ball and ran with it!! lol Did you post your list? I couldn't sort out where it was added - unless your still planning yours?

Dec 20, 2018, 6:14am Top

>62 joriestory: Welcome!

We're a friendly group and the only goal here is to enjoy reading and chat about that reading as we do it.

I've been using months as categories but this year I'm using genres as my groups. I read for many of the KITS and CATS and BingoDog but not every month, since I'm trying to read my TBR.

Set up your thread and your challenges (which aren't really contests, just planning really) as you like and it isn't set in concrete. You can change things if they don't work for you. Flexible and easy is my motto.

Edited: Dec 20, 2018, 7:17am Top

>62 joriestory: I'm still frantically trying to finish up my 2018 challenge and catch up on my backlog of reviews. I won't be starting anything here or visiting threads (other than the ones for CATs and KITs) until Jan. 1, I expect. However, I will be sure to star yours and follow your progress!

>63 majkia: "Flexible and easy" is a good motto -- one that I should follow more often. :)

Dec 20, 2018, 1:33pm Top

Flexible and easy is the way to go.

So glad you joined us, joriestory. Don't let any of the challenges stress you, just do what you want to do, when and how you want to do it. I don't always get a book done for each month's challenges, but I get ideas for future reads and enjoy the comments.

Dec 20, 2018, 2:21pm Top

I am sure I won't finish the books in a month. I am hoping to find a book that I can use for multiple challenges.

Dec 29, 2018, 5:42pm Top

January's thread is UP!


No excuses...

Jan 8, 6:25pm Top

Woo, CJ Cherryh just released a new Alliance Universe book, Alliance Rising! I can't wait to read it.

Jan 8, 8:23pm Top

Sci Fi isn't a genre I am familiar with, hence why I am joining in! I am going to be looking here for lots of ideas.

Just wondering if anyone has read any Matthew Reilly books? I saw an article about his latest, due out soon, and it looks really interesting - it is called The Secret Runners of New York.

Looking at some of his other titles, there seems to be a wide spread of time periods, places, etc. in his works. I would be interested for any info as to where any of his titles 'fit in' to the categories here.

Thanks for any help!

Jan 9, 12:53pm Top

>69 JayneCM: I read The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly last year for July's ScaredyKit theme to read a techno thriller. It was a fast and fun read but also I felt very predictable, and it felt very much like a movie script (and a little too much like Jurrassic Park).

Jan 9, 5:42pm Top

>70 DeltaQueen50: My library had that one, but I wasn't too fussed on the blurb. Maybe I'll still choose one of his titles if they are fast and fun!

Jan 14, 9:14am Top

Jan 14, 9:44am Top

Excellent! And I think it'll fit CJ Cherryh new book, Alliance Rising!

Jan 29, 6:16am Top

>74 fuzzi:, I got it. I've not tried this author.

Jan 29, 6:59am Top

>75 Kristelh: oh, great! I love Cherryh. Downbelow Station was one of her Hugo award winning books.

Note: she starts slow, like a roller coaster, and then suddenly you are going at breakneck speed.

Mar 16, 1:10am Top

I will get April thread up tomorrow.

Group: 2019 Category Challenge

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