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February UN-official SFF-KIT: Colony

2019 Category Challenge

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Edited: Jan 14, 9:13am Top

This month the topic is colonization, either outworld, on some hidden part of Earth or in some fantasy realm. Alt history counts too.

Here's one resource: http://www.librarything.com/tag/colonization,+sff

Don't forget to add to the wiki: https://wiki.librarything.com/index.php/2019_SFFKIT#February:_-_Theme:

Jan 14, 9:45am Top

I did something I never, ever do...I bought an ebook of a just-released book, Alliance Rising by CJ Cherryh. It's the first addition to her Alliance universe in a looong time, about ten years? And I think it'll fit this challenge!

Jan 14, 10:20am Top

Oooh, I think I'll read Artemis for this!

Jan 14, 10:25am Top

I have been meaning to read The Sparrow, so maybe I'll take this KIT as an opportunity to do so.

I also wanted to plug China MiƩville's Embassytown, which definitely works for the colonization theme and is also a fascinating book!

Jan 14, 10:26am Top

>4 christina_reads: Embassytown was the first China Mieville book I'd ever read. I'm hooked on his works now.

Jan 14, 11:39am Top

I'm planning on reading Planet Blood, which has been sitting on my TBR stack for ages...

Jan 14, 1:50pm Top

>4 christina_reads: Oooh, yes! I love The Sparrow to absolute distraction.

Jan 14, 2:10pm Top

>5 majkia: I've only read a couple of his, but I'm interested in reading more at some point. Embassytown really stuck with me because of its emphasis on language.

>7 scaifea: I don't know why I've been putting it off! I adored Mary Doria Russell's novel Doc, even though I don't really care about Westerns at all, so I have no reason to believe that I won't like The Sparrow as well.

Jan 14, 2:48pm Top

>8 christina_reads: I just read Doc for the first time last year and I loved it, but I think The Sparrow is even better.

Jan 14, 2:55pm Top

I have The Final Six by Alexandr Monir on my Kindle and it is tagged "space colonization' so I will be reading this one in February.

Jan 14, 3:06pm Top

I might reread Freedoms Landing.

Edited: Jan 25, 8:41pm Top

I will probably read the second book, Children of God. I've been told it is a must read if you've read The Sparrow.

Jan 14, 3:38pm Top

Old man's war has been on my wishlist for quite some time and seems to be fitting this topic, so I may go with that. The sparrow also is very tempting.

Jan 14, 3:40pm Top

>13 chlorine: I'll be reading Zoe's Tale from the Old Man's War series for this challenge. I really enjoy the series.

Jan 14, 3:45pm Top

>14 majkia: It's good to know that the sequels are also good!

Jan 14, 6:31pm Top

I was supposed to be reading Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke for January but I might postpone it as it fits this theme.

Jan 14, 8:38pm Top

I'm part-way through Children of God and am finding it harder getting through than The Sparrow. I might try to finish it for this challenge. I also have Red Mars that I got from SantaThing that I was thinking of for this.

Jan 15, 4:10am Top

I am reading The Martian Chronicles. My library doesn't have a copy of The Sparrow - sad!

Jan 21, 9:43am Top

I've got Embassytown, Artemis, Old Man's War and Childhood's End waiting to be read, but when I looked at the colonization/SFF tagmash, I saw Xenocide was on the list and that's already in my category challenge to read this year, so that's my first choice.

Jan 27, 7:33pm Top

The Sparrow is one of my all, all-time favorite books! I need to order Children of God from my local bookshop because "Sparrow" is so incredibly heart-breakingly good. And it helps to read it a second time.

I'll check the tag for this month's theme to see what I've got on my shelves to join in the fun this month.

Edited: Feb 2, 5:25pm Top

Oh wow! Thank you >1 majkia: for this list! I have several. Now all I need to do is decide which one(s) I'm going to read this month.

The Rowan, Grass, and Opening Atlantis are all in my hot little hands. They've all been staring me in the face for a while, too. Sort of like the woman on the cover of "Rowan." Along with her feline friend. But I am immune to the feline stares . . .

Grass it is. It goes to work with me tomorrow.

Edited: Jan 28, 10:15am Top

I couldn't wait, read Alliance Rising already, so I'll have to find something else for this challenge...hmm...

EDIT: Found one! And it's a ROOT (unread for over a year) so it's double-good!

The omnibus is Alternate Realities but the individual book is Wave Without a Shore by CJ Cherryh

Jan 28, 5:41pm Top

I will be reading The Martian by Andy Weir. My brother gave it to me a couple of years ago, so it's a past due TBR.

Feb 4, 1:33pm Top

Finished reading Planet Blood by Tae-hyung Kim. Full review written, but I'm afraid I wouldn't recommend it.

Feb 4, 10:35pm Top

Finished in two sittings, could not put it down!

Wave Without a Shore by CJ Cherryh

Wow. Just wow. In this short novel Cherryh does what she usually does in her stories, creates a world, and culture, both alien and familiar...but this time it's on a scale that even she rarely attains. With virtually no fighting or other actions so common in SciFi, she hurls the reader along in this story of an artist who went too far and threatened a society conditioned to be blind to reality. Superb.

Feb 8, 9:29am Top

I've finished Cibola Burn. Another fine entry into the Expanse series by James S. A. Corey.

Feb 8, 11:10am Top

>27 AHS-Wolfy: I loved the first two in that series, but will read Abbadon's Gate eventually.

Feb 8, 11:25am Top

>28 fuzzi: It's a series I keep on dipping in to and after four books so far I've no plans to stop just yet.

Feb 10, 9:50am Top

I read The Last Colony by Scalzi which was a quick read that I enjoyed.

Feb 14, 7:51pm Top

I mentioned above that I was planning to read The Martian, which my brother gave me. By the time I reached page 36, I was so bored that I put it down in disgust. Today I picked up Shards of Honor at the public library. I've read the first chapter and it is definitely much more my thing.

Feb 14, 8:39pm Top

Feb 14, 9:38pm Top

>31 NinieB: That's funny that you would mention The Martian (by Andy Weir) not being your thing: I listened to the audio (narrated by R.C. Bray) and only gave it a "3" out of five stars, my ultimate "meh" rating. Then I took my daughter to see the movie, and it opened up the story for me in a different way, emphasizing humanity's greatness (instead of it being about a guy stranded on Mars, trying figuring out to survive.) I went back to the book, and now I consider one of my favorites :-)

Edited: Feb 14, 10:30pm Top

>32 fuzzi: I've read several chapters this evening, and it's a lot of fun!

>33 Tanya-dogearedcopy: The plot certainly sounds interesting. But my chemistry is pretty rusty, so I found myself skimming the science, and that's 75% of the text. Good to know that you were converted after seeing the movie. I might try again at some time in the future--maybe the movie would help!

Feb 15, 7:09am Top

I read straight through Shards of Honor last night. I liked the character development that propelled the narrative. Bujold's writing is more than competent with some nice descriptions of nature in the different worlds. She also has a great sense of humor which she uses to great effect. The Machiavellian political strategizing I am less keen on--at a couple of points I did not have enugh explanation to keep up, but then I wasn't slowing down to make sure I got it, so that's on me. I will make sure more Vorkosigan is in my future.

I claimed the Debut novel square on my bingo card, and this is my book for this month's SFFKIT.

Feb 15, 8:46am Top

I read Night Train to Rigel by Timothy Zahn which is about a strange tube through the universe that connects multiple alien species and lets humans colonize a few planets. I enjoyed this sci fi version of Murder on the Orient Express.

Feb 15, 10:27am Top

>35 NinieB: woo! Another convert to Lois McMaster Bujold! I got pulled into that series a couple years ago, but am taking my time getting through the books, as I don't want to overdose on the Vorkosigan stories.

Edited: Feb 15, 3:47pm Top

>37 fuzzi: Yes indeed, I am a fan now!

Edited: Feb 16, 2:38am Top

I read Old Man's War by John Scalzi. It was a very pleasant read and I enjoyed the characters' banter and witticism, though maybe the characters would have deserved a better differentiation and more depth. The description of John's wife's death (no spoilers here, we know she died she died before the action of the book starts) did make me shed some tears, though.

Also it's great that macmillan publishers provides the ebook without DRM!

Feb 16, 12:25pm Top

Edited: Feb 18, 8:19pm Top

Finished Children of God by Mary Doris Russell.

Feb 18, 5:14pm Top

I finished my February selection:

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
In Prentisstown all men and boys can hear each other's thoughts all the time, and there are no women or girls. Boys become men, in a secret ceremony, on their 13th birthday, but Todd's family want to get him out of town before then. A month before his birthday he discovers something that makes his escape even more important, and once he starts running, it seems he'll never be able to stop, because how can you hide from those who can hear your every thought?
Welp, this is definitely a page-turner and at first I thought I was going to love it absolutely. But then two things kept that love from happening:
1) After a while the whole thing started to seem like a very long episode of The Perils of Penelope; the main characters just keep falling from one urgent danger right into another and eventually it was just exhausting.
2) The dog. Oh, the dog. The best character of the book by far, he's treated so miserably through the whole thing until the ultimate Bad Thing happens and I nearly through the book across the actual room. Just, NOPE.

So I almost didn't even finish it, but then curiosity about how it ended won out over my despair about Manchee. I won't be continuing with the series, though.

Feb 18, 6:24pm Top

>42 scaifea: Yeah, I had virtually the same reading experience that you did: I was so excited with it when I started but when "2" happened, I was absolutely over it. I'm not planning to continue either.

Feb 18, 7:08pm Top


Did you read a book for the February challenge?

Did you add it to the Wiki yet?

Please take a couple minutes to record your challenge on the wiki, we only have six (6) listed for February!


Feb 19, 5:29am Top

>43 Tanya-dogearedcopy: Yep, I just can't take that sort of thing. It's two days since I finished it and I'm still upset about it!

Feb 19, 6:42am Top

>44 fuzzi: I am almost done with Artemis and will add it then.

Feb 19, 6:57am Top

>46 MissWatson: thank you!

>45 scaifea: I read what you wrote under the spoiler. I don't like that sort of thing, either...it's a cheap way to get a reaction from the reading audience, imo.

Feb 19, 7:17am Top

>47 fuzzi: Yep, generally I think it's a pointless kick in the feels, honestly. And the dog gets mistreated throughout the entire book, too, which really bothers me. I want my books to leave the dogs and the children alone, please!

Edited: Feb 19, 10:31am Top

>48 scaifea: agreed. Even though I don't think it was a cheap plot, that's one reason I don't reread Old Yeller, I just can't handle it emotionally.

Feb 20, 3:41am Top

>46 MissWatson: And I have finished it. Sorry to report that I did not like Jazz very much...

Feb 20, 5:27am Top

>49 fuzzi: Yep, same. Also Where the Red Fern Grows. *shudders*

Feb 20, 7:01am Top

>51 scaifea: that is one book I have reread, have been able to get past what happens near the end, maybe because it wasn't just a cheap plot twist. But torture and abuse is never, ever okay, and when I come across it in my reading, I generally close the book and abandon it.

Feb 20, 7:32am Top

>52 fuzzi: I like your distinction and definitely agree with it. That one, though, absolutely traumatized me as a kid; just too, too sad.

Feb 20, 5:00pm Top

>42 scaifea: I think that scene from The Knife of Never Letting Go is so devastating because you can hear the dog's thoughts *sniffle* I read the whole trilogy because I wasn't going to go through all of that for nothing. You can skip it though.

>50 MissWatson: Don't be sorry - she wasn't likable, but by the end of the book I felt like I understood her better. Still didn't like her, but didn't hate her either.

>51 scaifea: I started to read that this summer and just knew a chapter or so in that I wasn't going to like it, so I put it down. The book I hated as a child was The Yearling.

For this challenge, I read The Disasters by M. K. England. It's a first novel and it shows - no world building, except that there are colonies in space. The characters are mostly funny and likable, if somewhat shallow and not entirely believable. The intended teen audience might not be put off so much by this as the book was quite readable.

Feb 21, 5:24am Top

>54 BookLizard: Exactly. And yes, I really didn't like that book as a kid, either.

Feb 23, 8:06am Top

>42 scaifea: The knife of never letting go is on my wishlist, but your comments make me think I should reconsider (even without reading the spoiler). Luckily I have more than 300 books on my wishlist. ;)

Feb 23, 8:42am Top

>56 chlorine: I always feel a little bad when someone passes on a book because of something in my reviews, but yeah, if you don't like animal cruelty in books then you really should consider skipping it, I think.

Feb 23, 4:42pm Top

>57 scaifea: I appreciate a warning about it.

Feb 24, 11:01am Top

>57 scaifea: Don't feel bad, I feel this way because your review spoke to me. I'm sure it wouldn't turn people who are the correct audience for this book from it!

Feb 24, 12:14pm Top

57> I hope not too many people "like animal cruelty in books," but I know what you mean. Some of us are definitely more sensitive to it than other people, and I for one appreciate that type of warning. I'll never have time to read every book I want to read, so I'd prefer to read books that will stick with me for the right reasons.

This weekend I read (and I'm already rereading) The MurderBot Diaries series by Martha Wells. It's a series of 4 novellas told by a SecUnit construct (half robot/half cloned human used to provide security in hazardous environments). MurderBot has hacked its Governor Module so it doesn't have to obey orders, but rather than going on a murderous rampage as its name would imply, it instead downloads movies, books, and serial shows to view in its downtime - or when it gets bored on the job. It's a funny and fast-paced adventure, but more importantly, an examination of identity. What makes one a "person" instead of a "thing"? How is our opinion of ourselves influenced by others? How do we know what we really want versus what we've been conditioned to want?

Feb 24, 7:08pm Top

Finished my book for this month's challenge: Grass by Sherri S. Tepper is one of her earliest books and one I read probably, um, a couple of, um, decades (?) ago? Yeah, probably that long ago.

It's a fantastic bit of world-building, off-worlding, and a planet with entire grass coverage and an attempt by the humans to meld their human culture onto that of the alien world. Love Tepper's themes and the ability to look into her characters.

Feb 24, 10:55pm Top

I finished Lockstep, a YA novel by Karl Schroeder, which has a very interesting premise. There is no FTL (faster than light) space travel in this universe. Colonies on different planets agree to a common wake/sleep cycle so that people can travel between planets (for trade purposes, mostly) hibernating during the long trips without being out-of-sync with their loved ones when they return. Apparently, this idea is very controversial, as can be seen by the comments in this article written by the author!

Feb 25, 5:27am Top

>58 fuzzi: >59 chlorine: Thanks, that makes me feel better!

Feb 25, 11:39am Top

I have not yet got to my book for this month, and if I do start it by the end of the month, probably no chance that I'll finish it. I still plan to read it sometime this year though. I guess if it doesn't fit into another month, I can still list it here. I could use the 2-3 extra days we usually get!

Feb 26, 12:25am Top

I have completed my read of The Final Six by Alexandra Monir. I didn't realize that this is the first book in a trilogy or series, but I am hooked now so I will be reading on.

Feb 27, 8:37am Top

Just finished Salvation by one of my favorite authors, Peter F. Hamilton. His world-building is superb and I really enjoyed a series set early on in his universe, having seen where things go in the far future. Colonies exist but are still being created, as a new alien species appears near Earth.

Feb 28, 2:55pm Top

I read and did not really care for, The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury for this month's challenge.

Feb 28, 3:05pm Top

>67 staci426: Yeah, I'm not a fan either.

Mar 2, 10:27am Top

>60 BookLizard: I really enjoyed the Murderbot series and I think you gave a very good description of the questions it raises.

Mar 2, 10:29am Top

>62 mathgirl40: That's a very interesting premise indeed! How did the book live up to it?

Mar 2, 1:46pm Top

>62 mathgirl40: I think the book explained the ideas fairly well. As some of the critics pointed out, there was an element of implausibility to it, in that it's hard to imagine so many people would adhere to the rules. On the other hand, it's more plausible than faster-than-light travel. :)

Group: 2019 Category Challenge

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