The Discoverability Challenge

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In 2016 and 2017 I took Jo Hall’s Discoverability Challenge. The idea is to read 12 books in a year that challenge your reading tastes, by authors that you haven’t read before, or in a genre you don’t normally read. In 2016, Jo picked female SFF authors because as she puts it…

I’m continuing the trend into 2016 because I think there’s still a need for it, because reviewers and good friends of mine have confessed that they still read far fewer women than men, because a recent Facebook post I read asking people to list their five favourite FEMALE SFF writers was crammed with replies like “Mark Lawrence” and “Brandon Sanderson” and because some idiots complained that Mad Max : Fury Road had too many women in it to be a proper action film…  We clearly still have some way to go *rolls eyes*

My list for 2017

In 2017, I’m amending the challenge a little: I want to read sci-fi and fantasy classics that I haven’t read before. In deference to 2016 I’m picking female authors first, but it’s not a rule I’m sticking to; I simply want to read things that are considered important to the genres that I haven’t yet gotten my hands on!

[Update: I pretty much failed at this, as I either had too much else to read or didn’t manage to actually get through the books I picked up! I’ve still got these ones on my radar, and I’ve been picking them up when I have time.]

I’m partly using this list from Flavorwire and partly this list from BookRiot. So, my list is as follows:

  1. Kindred, Octavia Butler
  2. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
  3. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
  4. Among Others, Jo Walton
  5. The Time Quartet, Madeleine L’Engle
  6. The Female Man, Joanna Russ
  7. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Patricia C. Wrede
  8. The Giver, Lois Lowry
  9. Brown Girl in the Ring, Nalo Hopkinson
  10. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
  11.  The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip
  12. Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey

And a second list…

  1. Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
  2. Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
  3. Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
  4. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
  5. Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury
  6. The Drowned World, J.G. Ballard
  7. Witch World, Andre Norton
  8. Ubik, Philip K. Dick
  9. Nine Princes in Amber, Roger Zelazny
  10. Neuromancer, William Gibson
  11. The Foundation series, Isaac Asimov
  12. Solaris, Stanislaw Lem

And, on the off chance I’ve already read Philip K Dick, Asimov or one of the others (I know I read a lot of sci-fi when I was young, but I don’t remember all of it…)

  1. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
  2. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, Robert A. Heinlein
  3. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne

My list for 2016

In 2016, it was 12 books by unknown (to me) female authors.

  1. Ill Wind by Rachel Caine
  2. Uprooted by Naomi Novik [I have previously read the Temeraire series, so unfortunately I can’t include this!]
  3. The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth.
  4. A Darker Shade of Magic by V E Schwab
  5. Who Killed September Falls? by Annette Young
  6. White Cat by Holly Black
  7. Finding reliable information online: adventures of an information sleuth by Leslie Stebbins (because I might be a fiction writer, but I’m also a librarian!)
  8. Fight Like A Girl [all-female anthology; I’ve read about 1/3 of the authors in there, but there’s certainly been some nice introductions to authors I haven’t read!]
  9. The Stars Seem So Far Away by Margrét Helgadóttir
  10. 25 Ways to Kill a Werewolf by Jo Thomas
  11. Beyond the Veil by Pippa DaCosta [I had to give up on this one]
  12. Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
  13. The Tree of Souls by Katrina Archer [review on SFF World]
  14. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
  15. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
  16. Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
  17. Vermillion by Molly Tanzer [I had to give up on this one]
  18. The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
  19. A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
  20. The Golem and the Djinn by Helene Wecker
  21. One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor
  22. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
  23. Paternoster by Kim Fleet
  24. Eve of War by Mhairi Simpson and Darren Pulsford (eds)
  25. To The Sky Kingdom by Tang Qi (translated by Poppy Toland)
  26. The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter
  27. All The Birds In The Sky by Charlie Jane Anders


A review after three months; March 2016

A review after six months: a chat with Jo Hall

There’s also an excellent list of suggestions and the ongoing challenge at Worlds Without End.

An interview with me by Pete Sutton on BRSBKBLOG about my writing, the challenge and general stuff.