I’m going to be off work for a whole month, and with all that time I decided to see if there were any fun readathons to keep me occupied. As you can tell by the timing of this post, this was a pretty last minute decision. Fortunately, I came across a really fun looking Readathon called Space Opera September, hosted by SFF180. It was originally run in 2019, and is about to start a season 2. Follow these links for more info: 2019 or 2021.
I’ll repeat the basic summery here. In Season 1, we rank up with each book we read. There are also challenges we can do to get ships in our fleet. The challenges are:
- Challenge 1: Read a space opera novella (unlock Shuttlecraft)
- Challenge 2A: Read TWO space operas by women (unlock Fighter)
- Challenge 2B: Read a space opera by a diverse author featuring a diverse protagonist and/or major character (switches Rankings to the Rebel Track, and unlocks the Rebel exclusive Blockade Runner.)
- Challenge 3: Read a space opera published before you were born (unlocks Explorer)
- Challenge 4: Read a space opera 500 pages or longer (unlocks Dreadnaught.)
These season one challenges are all still active, and they’ve added a new challenge for season two:
- Season 2 Challenge: Complete a space opera trilogy/duology (no ship rewards as far as I can tell. I’ll imagine this unlocks an entire space station though.)
To rank up, you simply need to read. Each book read moves you up a rank. After reading one book and becoming a space cadet, you can rank up on either the Federation Track or the Rebel Track, depending on if you complete challenge 2B. I’m aiming for the Rebel Track. I want to be a Space Pirate by the end of the month. More details about the rules can be found on the official Youtube videos and on twitter @SpaceOperaSeptember.
The biggest addition in Season 2 is the book battle and buddy read challenges. In an effort to bring peace to the galaxy, members of both factions can challenge members of the other faction to a book battle. In the book battles, each combatant gives the other a book to read, and if you read your assigned book and your opponent doesn’t, you win. Of course, the goal is for both combatants to finish their book and achieve a draw, which brings peace to their quadrant of the galaxy. Alternatively, you can also work co-operatively, doing a buddy read with either someone from your own faction, or someone from the enemy faction who you have made peace with. There is a discord server available for players to find match-ups for book battles or buddy reads.
I’m really looking forward to participating in this. I have a few books in mind, but since I want to do a book battle and have no idea what I’ll be assigned, I’m not setting anything in stone.
I’m thinking of reading Aliette de Bodard’s On a Red Station Drifting. This novella has been on my radar for a while, and I do usually enjoy de Bodard’s stories. Being a novella it will complete challenge 1, and being written by a woman it will contribute to challenge 2A. I’m pretty sure the characters in this story are Vietnamese, and de Bodard is of Vietnamese decent, so it should also complete 2B. I also plan to read Becky Chamber’s The Galaxy, and the Ground Within. This is the final book in her Wayfarers series, and I’ve been looking forward to getting back into that world. It will also contribute to challenge 2. As for space opera written before I was born, I’m thinking about Dan Simmons’s Hyperion. It was written the year before I was born and I actually have a dead tree copy on my bookshelf that I haven’t read yet. Alternatively, I could start Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga. I love her fantasy work, and in the last readathon I did I saw the first book in the series, Shards of Honour mentioned favourably a few times. For the 500 page plus challenge, I am thinking about Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson. This will also fill a square in both of my book bingo challenges, but I’m conflicted; where is the line between space opera and planetary romance?
In summary, these are the books I am planning to read this September:
- On a Red Station Drifting – Aliette de Bodard
- The Galaxy and the Ground Within – Becky Chambers
- Hyperion – Dan Simmons
- Red Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson
- A book battle recommendation
This list could change. I might get challenged to read a book from a series I am then compelled to binge. I could decide that one of these doesn’t fit the criteria well enough. I could run out of time. Or end up with enough time to read the Peter F. Hamilton Void Trilogy. Becoming a Space Pirate is going to be unpredictable.
If anyone else is doing this readathon, let me know. Maybe I’ll get that book battle sooner than I think.
In the meantime, happy reading,
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