What? You've missed what the The Subjective Chaos Kind of Awards are?
Well, it's a totally hype (seven pretty obscure readers and bookbloggers), very glamourous (mostly reading in their PJs at home), completely professional (making it up as they go along) new SFF award (we will hand out paintd pebbles to the winners if we meet them). Oh, also, there'll be drinking, as Bethan says. (For more information, please, check here.)
Anyway, here's a first update on what's happening in the offing.
Basically, we are reading. Well, that's surprising!
So far, I've made good progress, though I had already read a lot of the shortlist. Here in yellow, you can see what I've read.
Recent reads include: H(A)PPY, Raven Stratagem and Passing Strange which I will review on 10 February.
Raven Stratagem proved a bit of a challenge: I didn't like Ninefox Gambit but since I barely remembered it, I had to re-read it again (using my trusted methode of skip-skim) before getting into Raven. I ended up spending about two weeks on these two!
Passing Strange was an interesting experience: because the bulk of the novella is a romance story and that I'm not into romance at all, I was bored (a lot). But the conversation with my fellow jurors of the SCKA helped me put aside that subjective vision of the novella to consider it more objectively. In the end, even if I may not support it as much as others novellas (though, who knows...), I can say that I see why it is very worthy of being on this shortlist.
Currently, I'm onto Binti (which I will review exclusively for Black Girl Nerds in the coming weeks). Next reads include: Dogs of War and Jade City. From there, I will probably finish The Divine Cities series as I've already read two out of three volumes.
As you can see, I'm kind of category hopping, though my initial goal was to read all of the science-fiction category first. Well, I never was someone to do things in order!
So far, none of us has finished reading a category and we are all moving where we want, without any order. We have set up DM threads on Twitter to discuss the books privately and we have started discussing Raven Stratagem, Passing Strange, Under the Pendulum Sun, H(A)PPY, The Murders of Molly Southbourne, Binti, The Ninth Rain and White Tears.
Snippets of conversations:
"I find the writing style good and the plot moves in a strong fashion but I just can't get interested in the situation or the characters."
"The world she builds is immense and you sense so much more underneath the surface. This though for me is balanced with a fascinating lead character."
"One other thing I wanted to mention is the beautiful Joie de Vivre which pervades the central story, which I loved."
"Overall, I did like the design, the experimental side and the use of the visuals in addition to the words. I just didn't find myself gripped as much by the end as I was at the beginning."
"I was very impressed with it and I probably wouldn't have read it if it hadn't been a nominee here."
The conversations range from subjective impressions to detailed critiquing. We even ended up discussing genre, particularly on magical realism and military SF (I may make a blog post out of those).
It can be difficult to move past our subjective impressions to get what the others are saying, but we are in for the long haul and those initial reactions will probably have time to be observed more objectively, particularly when we will start comparing the stories. (Researchers in the aesthetics of reception would have a field day with our conversations!)
Is there any favourite yet? Well, it's too early too tell... Though, I could say that... No, I won't!
If you want to follow The Subjective Chaos Kind of Awards, you can also read what Bethan, Runalong, Imyril, David and Hammard are saying on their own blogs.
Do you want to know what I thought of some of the books on the shortlist? I've already reviewed some of them: click on the image and follow the link!