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General - Group Business > Bi-weekly short story discussions

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message 1: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
As I mentioned recently, I've been toying with the idea of setting up a regular, maybe bi-weekly short story discussion here. This would be fun for people who don't have enough time to read the Books of the Month, and for anyone who enjoys SF&F short fiction. I've set up a poll to see if there's enough interest - please take a moment to go vote here.

While we're waiting for the poll results, here are my ideas on how this could work:

- There's a ton of great, free short SF&F fiction out there, so the short stories we read would have to be available online and for free, in places like Clarkesworld, Lightspeed Magazine, Locus, the Infinity Plus archives, author websites, and so on.

- Rather than setting up a poll to decide what we read, we'd make a master list of nominated stories and choose one randomly every two weeks.

- There'll be a dedicated folder for the short story discussions, so people who join in later can still add to the older discussions, and people who aren't interested can easily avoid them.

- In order to avoid overlap with the monthly Book of the Month discussions, we'd start the short story discussions on e.g. the 5th and the 20th of every month.

- Because your poor moderator (that's me) is already completely overworked, I'd like someone who is interested in SF&F short stories to help manage this. All this would involve is: maintain the master list, randomly select a story every 2 weeks, read it if possible, and post some topics for discussion. This isn't a full "moderator"-type job, but since I may be adding another full moderator in the near future, it's a way to get your feet wet.

That's what I have so far. Please post reactions, opinions and suggestions in this thread rather the poll comments, so we can keep everything in one place.


message 2: by Candiss (new)

Candiss (tantara) | 1207 comments As I enthused when you mentioned the idea earlier/elsewhere, I think this would be great fun. I love SF/F short fiction (and short fiction in general.)

If no one who is more suitable and psyched presents themselves, I would be pleased to manage the short fiction discussions and area. I have a decent amount of free time right now (whether I like it or not) and am very organized, so I feel I could commit to the job and keep things going smoothly.

message 3: by Random (new)

Random (rand0m1s) | 805 comments Love the idea.

Wish I could volunteer to help but my free time has been pretty nil this year and my organizational skills are pretty much non existent. :D

message 4: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) I can help manage as well.

message 5: by Jane (new)

Jane (hippygoth66) | 101 comments I have just started a college course which is two evenings a week and 8 to 12 hours on top. So not sure I will getting through many novels in the coming months (well not long ones).
So a short story discussion would be good.

Have an author to recommend, John Wyndham wrote alot of short stories and they are collected in three books. (I think). Alot deal with time travel and many of the ideas will be familiar to anyone who reads sf. But when you put them in context of when they were written it makes you realise that he was one of the first to use them.

message 6: by Shel, Moderator (new)

Shel (shel99) | 2118 comments Mod
I like the idea and would love to read more short stories, since I tend to forget that they exist :) I can't promise to participate in all of the discussions (kind of swamped already this year with full-time teaching and an online graduate course) but will definitely poke my head in from time to time.

colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) I like the idea of it, but not entirely sure how often I'd get to participate.

message 8: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
The main thing I'm still pondering is how we decide which stories to read. I definitely don't want to do polls. We could have a list of nominated stories and then pick one randomly every two weeks, but that would involve actually collecting those nominations and maintaining the list. We could also have our short story moderator hand-pick stories from the various webzines and author sites. We could also alternate those two options, or go with an entirely different one. My main goal is to find a way that gets us a good selection of stories to read with a minimum amount of leg-work for the person running it. Ideas?

message 9: by Candiss (last edited Sep 10, 2010 10:08AM) (new)

Candiss (tantara) | 1207 comments I agree with Stefan that it would be good to keep things simple. I'm sort of brainstorming here, but I'll try not too ramble too badly...

I don't know how many of you are members of or have visited the sprawling SciFi and Fantasy Book Club (I've seen several Beyond Reality members there), but they have a suggestion system that might be adaptable for our purposes. They keep a Monthly Book Suggestions folder, with a Master SF list and a Master Fantasy list, and people can nominate things in those threads. A mod then compiles a neat Master List in the first post of each thread, as well as a shelf for each list. Then each month they rotate: They have a SF nom/poll one month, and a mod chooses a random Fantasy book from the Master Fantasy List, and the next month the nom/poll is for Fantasy while the SF book is randomly chosen. (You can view the system here, for clarity.)

What I was thinking is that having a Short Story Suggestions Folder with a thread for everyone to nominate stories (and perhaps give a blurb on the story's theme, if it's SF, F, or a hybrid, why we might enjoy it, etc., and folks could chime in whether they've read that story, find it intriguing, etc.) that the mod can then compile into a Master Story list. The mod can also actively seek out a larger number of stories. Then stories can be chosen at random each month, (to read on the 5th and 20th, I believe Stefan suggested) having been nominated/advocated by members, but without a big poll rigmarole. (Perhaps have one of the monthly stories randomly chosen and the other mod-picked, to add some surprises and ensure that members don't have a bunch of added work?)

Just thoughts.

message 10: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
All of this sounds good, Candiss. Definitely no polls to pick the stories. A combination of random and mod-picked sounds good. I'd love it if at least some of the stories were recent ones, just to keep in touch with what's currently happening in the field. The topic that lists the nominated stories can also contain a list of websites, so members can explore there and look for more stories.

We have 30+ "yes" votes in the poll right now, which should be enough to get some discussion going. Let's see if more ideas come in over the next few days, then maybe we can shoot for starting this off in early October?

message 11: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
Hi everyone,

It looks like we have enough interest to give the bi-weekly short story discussions a go, and hopefully more people will jump in as we get things going. I think this will be a great way to find out about new authors, stories and websites, especially for those members who often don't have enough time to read the Book of the Month novels.

I've just created a folder for the short story discussions. Candiss, who has offered to organize and moderate this feature, will soon post some information there about how things are going to work, so please keep an eye out for her messages. I'm pretty excited about this new feature and hope you'll join us in the discussions!


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