Sci-Fi Month

Announcement: Sci-Fi Month 2017

Yes, you read that right – Sci-Fi Month is happening again this year! I think people were a little uncertain because I’ve not been so active in the blogosphere, but I definitely want to continue with this tradition! 🙂 Once again, Lisa will be co-hosting with me for the third year running.

So here’s the important stuff…

What is Sci-Fi Month?

Sci-Fi Month is a month-long blog event during November, that I hosted for the first time in 2013, created to celebrate everything amazing about science fiction. From TV shows to movies, books to comics, and everything else in between, it was intended to help us share our love and passion for this genre and its many, many fandoms. It was such a success – and I honestly wasn’t expecting that many people to join in – that people were already asking in December whether it would be held again the next year! It happened again in 2014, co-hosted by Oh, the Books!, and again in 2015 & 2016, when Lisacame on board.

Sci-Fi Month has a schedule that all participants can add to, meaning everyone can clearly see what is being posted each day. This also encourages participants to comment on and visit other blogs. More information on adding to the schedule below.

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When is Sci-Fi Month?

Sci-Fi Month happens all November long, and takes place online – through each participant’s blog, Twitter feed, and other social media websites.

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Who can participate?

Anyone! Bloggers, authors, readers, publishers – the first year saw over fifty bloggers, twenty-five authors and three publishers taking part regularly, as well as plenty more commenting, Tweeting, discussing and sharing the love for sci-fi, and this has only increased each year since. Even if you’re not a blogger, you’re taking part just by reading, commenting and Tweeting!

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How can I sign up?

As with previous years, there is no deadline for signing up – if you only learn about the event halfway through November, you’re more than welcome to join!

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What sorts of things should I post for the event?

Let your imagination run wild! If it involves science fiction, then post about it! In previous years, we’ve had all kinds of activity, including:

  • reviews
  • interviews
  • discussions
  • quizzes and puzzles
  • bingo cards
  • top ten/favorite lists
  • giveaways

And it doesn’t have to be books. We had so many posts on TV shows, films, video games and all different kinds of things last year.

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How do I add my posts to the schedule?

We are continuing to use the Google Docs spreadsheet. Everyone adds their own details, which makes it much easier. There are tabs for different post types, and details entered include post date, title, author, link to post etc – and these can be added at any time, even before the post has gone up, or several days after if you forget. Please try to add your posts to the appropriate category, although me and Lisa can move them if you’re unsure.

You can find the schedule spreadsheet here.

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Is there a hashtag I can use to promote the event?

Yes! Please use the #RRSciFiMonth hashtag on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and everywhere else! We also have an official twitter account: @SciFiMonth.

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Are there any official Sci-Fi Month graphics I can use on my blog?

Yes, please feel free to use the ones I have created, graphics from previous years, or make your own.

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Who can I contact if I have more questions?

You can email me at rinnreads(at)gmail.com, tweet me at @RinnReads or @SciFiMonth. You can also contact Lisa through Twitter at @EffingRainbow. Or alternatively, you can comment on this post.

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Participants

The participant list can be viewed here.

I will be sharing more information in the run up to November, so stay tuned!

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Prose & Pixels

Prose & Pixels #16: A Journey Through Middle-earth

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Prose & Pixels is a feature that combines two of my loves: books and video games. Here I’ll discuss all sorts of things to do with the two, whether it’s recommendations, influences or just a good old chat.

I have previously used this feature to talk about The Lord of the Rings Online, and used it to show how much dedication and love went into creating the game by comparing paragraphs from the book with screenshots taken by myself in-game.

I enjoyed this feature and how I was able to bring video games into the blog a bit more, and also write about Middle-earth. In February, I started playing again, and started all over on a new server. Instead of continuing what I was doing before – going through the books in order and comparing scenes with the game – I’d like to just share my progress, comment on the areas I visit as I play and any secrets I might find.

Now, what I want to know is this – is this something you would be interested in seeing on the blog?

Review

Review: Notes from the Upside Down – Inside the World of Stranger Things by Guy Adams

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2 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

As soon as Stranger Things was released on Netflix, I watched it all in two or three days. There’s just something about the show – the 80s setting, the dark science fiction theme, the soundtrack, the incredible cast… I love it so much and try and make EVERYONE watch it. Hence why I was interested in reading a book about the show.

Unfortunately, this book does not do the show any justice. It is fan written, and not at all linked to anyone who worked on the show. The formula of each chapter soon became very repetitive: a detailed recap of each episode (which felt so unnecessary, I don’t need each episode described frame by frame thanks), some bonus information such as inspirations, music etc, and then ‘homework’ questions (basically a small quiz about the episode, with things you’d only notice if you’d read the questions before watching).

I appreciate that the author is a big fan of the show, and he tried to inject some humour into the book as well, but it just completely missed and felt a little ‘try hard’. I don’t think I would recommend this book, even to the biggest Stranger Things fans.

Thoughts

Thoughts #62: An ARC Related Conundrum

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Recently, I received an unsolicited review copy from a publisher, that was the third book in a science fiction series. Whilst I have read the first book, I haven’t read the second.

This has happened a couple of times – I’ve been sent books that are halfway through a series, or I receive the first and then a later installment. And this got me thinking: what do my fellow reviewers do when they receive a book that’s part of a series, and they haven’t yet read the previous installments?

I’m a bit torn about this. Firstly, it was an unsolicited review copy, not one I’d asked for, so I don’t feel there’s as much pressure to review it. But I also really love this particular publisher, and appreciate the crazy amount of books they’ve sent me over the past (almost) five years. I suppose I would have a few options here:

  • do not read the book
  • offer the book to a fellow blogger who has read books one and two, so that they can provide the publicity I cannot
  • buy or borrow the second book in the series as soon as possible, so that I can catch up before reading the third
  • just read the third as it is and review it, but then chances are I won’t enjoy it as much as I’ll have missed out a whole chunk of the story
  • read the third book after reading a detailed plot synopsis of the second book – but I don’t like the idea of this because what if I have a chance to read the second book later on? And it kind of feels like cheating
  • keep the book, read the second if I can get round to it but do not rush or prioritise it, as it was an unsolicited review copy

To be honest, the last option feels like the best one for me. I’m already quite behind on reviewing books I requested (story of my life), so this doesn’t feel like a big priority. It still leaves me feeling a bit guilty though!

Have you ever been in this situation? What did you do, or what would you do in my shoes?

Review

Review: A Mighty Dawn (The Wanderer Chronicles #1) by Theodore Brun

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4 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.

A Mighty Dawn was offered to me by the publisher, because of my love for archaeology and history. The book itself is written by an archaeologist, specialising in the Dark Ages. I have to say the fact that the publisher clearly researched bloggers with these kinds of interests really impressed me, and immediately warmed me to the book.

The story follows Hakan, the young heir to the Lord of the Northern Jutes. His life seems calm, uneventful – until one day, their village is struck by tragedy, and Hakan leaves, unable to bear his grief. I have some familiarity with the history and mythology that this book is based around, but I feel that any reader would understand Hakan’s world regardless of their background knowledge. However, there were some instances of unexplained terminology, and it would have been nice to fully understand these.

The battle scenes in this book were so well-written, I found myself flying through the pages and following the action with bated breath. It was easy to read, but also so gripping and somehow even managed to drag me away from Mass Effect: Andromeda – an impressive fate when it’s a game I’ve been anticipating for years.

With a truly detestable antagonist, a dark historical fantasy setting and the genuine feeling that the protagonist is slowly crumbling away and perhaps slightly losing his mind, A Mighty Dawn was an enthralling read that should appeal to all fans of the genre. It is a shame that I felt less drawn into the story during the second half, but following Hakan along on his journey from the heir of a lord, green in battle, to something very dark and twisted, kept me reading.

If you’re interested in this period of history or want something a little dark, or a historical fantasy, then this is a great choice for your next read!

Dragons and Jetpacks

Dragons & Jetpacks: Books of the Month, July 2017

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Dragons & Jetpacks is a science fiction and fantasy bookgroup, based on Goodreads. The group is open to all, all that is required is a Goodreads account. We read two books a month, one fantasy and one sci-fi – the second week of each month is when members make suggestions, and the third is used for voting. We’re always happy to meet fellow fans of the genres, so you’re more than welcome to join the group!

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Goodreads

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.

This is the twelfth expedition.

Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.

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Goodreads

Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best — the meanest, dirtiest, most feared crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld.

Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk – or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay’s door with a plea for help. His daughter Rose is trapped in a city besieged by an enemy one hundred thousand strong and hungry for blood. Rescuing Rose is the kind of mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for.

It’s time to get the band back together for one last tour across the Wyld.

Have you read either of this month’s picks? What did you think?

Thoughts

Thoughts #61: The State of the Blog

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Hello, lovely followers! I am sorry that I have abandoned you for so long. As you may now, in March I moved to a new city and began a new job. I have my own little flat (which I love!), really enjoy the job (working in university admissions), and I’m living in a gorgeous city.

And whilst I’ve read quite a bit, thanks to my commute and lunch break, I’ve not really been sharing my thoughts so much. Over the past year or so, my love and passion for book blogging has waned. If that wasn’t already obvious. And I know it’s the same story for many of you bloggers out there, in fact a lot of the bloggers I met when I first started blogging nearly six (!) years ago no longer seem to be around.

Now, this is not a ‘this is the end’ post. This is more of a ‘things are going to be a little slower around here’ post. I don’t like the thought of giving up on the blog; it’s a huge part of my identity (I feel like ‘book blogger’ is one of my big defining characteristics, and it’s actually also a pretty nice ice-breaker!) and I am way too proud of it to just give it up. But I put unnecessary pressure on myself to get things done, even when I don’t want to.

So it’s time for a change. If I want to post, I post. If I don’t feel like it for a few weeks, I won’t. Simple. I just wanted to let you know, as so many of you have been following me for nearly my entire journey, and I don’t want you to think I’ve just disappeared.

I’ll start off with catching up on reviews (five or six review copies read since March and not reviewed oops), and then move onto other posts when I feel like it. Maybe I could even start posting more about comparisons between The Lord of the Rings Online and Tolkien’s works, since I’ve starting playing it again – and we’re getting Mordor this summer. 😀

See you around, lovelies!

Are you also a fellow blogger who is struggling to stay motivated? What do you do in these situations?