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Worlds Without End Blog

Introducing the 2013 Worlds Without End Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge! Posted at 4:45 PM by Dave Post

Dave Post

2013 Worlds Without End Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge

With the Grand Master Reading Challenge coming to a massively successful close we’ve been racking our brains trying to come up with something great for 2013 and we think we’ve done just that. Introducing the 2013 Worlds Without End Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge! The challenge is to read 12 women authors you haven’t read before (including one completely random author pick) in 12 months and to write 12 reviews.  We’ll be using BookTrackr again to help you keep up with your books and so you can follow along with the other challenge participants.

So, why Women of Genre Fiction? Well, we considered many themes like 12 books from 12 different sub-genres or 12 Hugo winners or 12 books from the Guardian list, etc., but in the end they all felt a bit limiting. Don’t get me wrong, any of those would be great for an individual but those challenges would lead to a lot of reviews for the same books. That can get to be a little monotonous for the other participants and visitors to the site. We saw just a touch of this with the GMRC where we ended up with multiple reviews for some of the more famous of the Grand Master books.

We decided to go with something built around authors again but with a much wider author pool to pick from.  We also wanted to define a subset of all authors that would give us a compelling theme to attract more participants to the challenge.  That’s where the women authors idea comes in.  The history of women in genre fiction is already a compelling conversation and has been for years and doing a challenge like this would give us an opportunity to engage the subject directly.

Take a look at our All Women Authors page.  On it you’ll find a photo gallery of all women currently in our database.  If you’re a  WWEnder you’ll recognize the color coding that shows you  exactly how many of these authors you’ve read.  If your list is like mine at all you might be a bit shocked, and even a little embarrassed, about how few you can count as read.  For the record, and I am embarrassed to admit this, I’ve read a paltry 11 of the 330.  On my Authors I’ve Read list that’s 11 women out of 121 total authors – in over 30 years of reading!  I knew it was a low number but I would have guessed a couple dozen had you asked me before I saw those gallery views and I’m sure I’m not the only one in for a bit of a surprise on that front.  Just completing the WoGF will double my count in a year!  What will it do for yours?

Now that you know the why, here are some particulars:

12 women you’ve not read before.  Why?  Because we want to move the conversation beyond Ursula K. Le Guin, C. J. Cherryh and Lois McMaster Bujold and if you’ve found yourself on this site you’ve probably already read these giants anyway.  Try somebody new and get some new names into the conversation about great women authors you’ve read.

1 randomly selected author.  Why?  Well, why not?  It’s easy to play it safe and go with the names you recognize.  Take a chance outside your comfort zone.  Experiment with somebody you would never have picked up on your own.  Go to the All Women Authors page, close your eyes, scroll the page and take a poke at your screen.  Where your finger lands – that’s your next author to read!  Or, have a friend pick one for you and you pick one for them.   Or, poll your blog visitors and leave it up to them which author you’ll read.  I’m sure you can come up with a fun way to make your random pick.  If you’re feeling particularly adventurous you can read more random authors than just the one.

12 reviews.  Why?  Because  your reviews will influence other WWEnd visitors to try the books you like for their own challenge and far beyond.  Your review could be that bit of encouragement another reader needs to branch out and try a new author.  The GMRC has produced over 220 reviews.  That many WoGF reviews would be a great promotion for women authors!

Monthly prizes for the best reviews.  Why?  Because that’s our way of saying thanks for the effort and it helps encourage everyone to write the best reviews they can.  This year the prizes are $25, $15 and $10 Amazon gift cards!  Pretty schweet, huh?  If you write a review every month you’ll have 36 chances to win a prize throughout the year.  Where else are you gonna get odds like that?  Of course we’d like to see you use your prize to buy more books and write more reviews for WWEnd so there’s something in it for us too 😉

So that’s the challenge.  We hope to see all our GMRC participants take up the WoGF and help us make it better than last year, which is a high mark indeed!  If you like the Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge please help us spread the word on your blogs, on Facebook and Twitter and to anyone who’ll listen.  More details can be found on the challenge page and in the forum.  As always we want to hear from you.  What do you think?  Are you up for it?  Have you read many women authors yourself?  Who are you going to put on your challenge list?


Jeremy F   |   29 Dec 2012 @ 00:54

I had not imagined that the new challenge could be this great. What a great idea. This made me so so happy! Great job guys!

jynnantonnyx   |   29 Dec 2012 @ 13:16

Excellent. I’ve already marked 9 authors To-Read for the next year. There’s nothing like a bit of peer pressure to force you to read all those books you’ve talked about reading.

Dave Post   |   29 Dec 2012 @ 14:53

@Jeremy F: Glad you like it! We’re rather excited and we’ve gotten a good response so far.

@jynnantonnyx: It’s a benign peer pressure at least 😉

Emil   |   30 Dec 2012 @ 06:16

And here I was thinking we’ll be reading another list – and then you come up with this awesome challenge! I’ve prepared myself for the Guardian list, but fortunately found that the books I got prematurely are 80% female authors! So I’m now 80% prepared for this challenge. How I’ll juggle the reading with a very hectic farm schedule remains to be seen. But read I shall!

Triseult   |   30 Dec 2012 @ 08:04

Ya know, even though I LOVED the 2012 GMRC, I was on the fence as to whether I wanted to commit to a new one in 2013… Then I saw the announcement and got really excited. This is great!! I think the Amazon cards are a fantastic idea, too. Way to go!! I’m in for 2013!!

Dave Post   |   30 Dec 2012 @ 11:27

@Emil: The Guardian list was the front runner for some time but WoGF is a much more open challenge. Sorry for the switch a roo but all’s well that ends well! Best of luck with the farm and the challenge!

@ Triseult: Fence sitting can be uncomfortable. I’m glad we pulled you down on the right side of it! The cards are going to make things much easier and we can spread the love a bit more with 3 great prizes and you’ll get instant gratification with the cards delivered via email. Especially if you’re an ebook reader!

Here’s the part I really like: The gift cards are a direct result of member/visitor purchases through the site so essentially you all are rewarding yourselves for the excellent reviews! The reviews in turn encourage folks to buy more books which provides us the means to sustain the prizes each month. Kind’a has a nice symmetry to it don’t ‘ya think?

Mattastrophic   |   30 Dec 2012 @ 23:38

I think this is a very good idea. I’ve thought of doing something similar on my own accord for my blog, but the author listing attached to this challenged helps a great, great deal. I fizzled on last year’s challenge, but I think I can plan this one out better and I’ve already got several of the books for this challenge on my shelf, unread. I have Mary Robinette Kowal on my list even though I’ve read one short story by her (“For Want of a Nail”), and I’m on the fence as to whether or not that that violates the spirit of the thing. Thoughts?

Dave Post   |   30 Dec 2012 @ 23:51

@Mattastrophic: I don’t think one short story should stop you from reading Kowal. We were thinking more along the lines of a novel or perhaps a whole collection. I say fair game and welcome to the challenge!

Kata   |   01 Jan 2013 @ 11:23

Thank you! I was going to pass on the Challenge this year, but this one is exactly what I want and need.

Dave Post   |   01 Jan 2013 @ 12:27

@Kata: Excellent! It seems like we’re on to something here.

Durand Welsh   |   05 Jan 2013 @ 00:18

I’m going to give this a go. My partner sent me the link and told me about it and I tend to mostly read male spec fic authors so I thought this might broaden my reading.

Dave Post   |   05 Jan 2013 @ 00:23

@Durand: Welcome aboard and best of luck with your challenge!

Glenn   |   05 Jan 2013 @ 16:56

What I hope to do is pick women authors and their books which are also on one or more of the other lists, so I’m doing the old two birds with one stone action. That will help carve down those best of lists.

Dave Post   |   05 Jan 2013 @ 17:00

@Glenn: That’s a solid strategy. Be sure to look over the Award Winning Books by Women Authors and SF Mistressworks lists for the books with the high red and black numbers.

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