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Short story discussions > A Proposal and Question About Our Story Discussions

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message 1: by Candiss (last edited Feb 23, 2011 01:58PM) (new)

Candiss (tantara) | 1207 comments Hello, everyone. I apologize, but I've managed to horribly ignore the stories this month. I had a stomach flu, then company, then over the last week I've been sick again, which has morphed into secondary bronchitis infection. (I have an auto-immune syndrome, hence if I get sick, my body goes bananas attacking not only the intruder but also my own body, and I can be down for the count for weeks dealing with symptoms and exhaustion. Que sera, sera.)

Anyhow, I'd like to propose a temporary change to the way we do story discussions, and I'd like the group's input. The 2010 Nebula awards nominees have recently been announced, and the winners will be chosen May 21. There are 7 stories nominated in the Short Story category, 5 6* of which are available freely on the web. My proposal: Instead of my choosing a story for Day 5 and then randomly selecting a story for Day 20, from now through May 2011, I'd like to have us read and discuss the Nebula nominees. This would serve a dual purpose:
1) We would have a chance to read some of the best of the best of current SF/F short fiction and discuss among ourselves which we feel deserves the win, etc. I often feel like I miss so much of what is currently going in in speculative writing, and it would be cool to be informed while the blogs and book clubs light up with speculation about this year's Nebulas. The second purpose:
2) Because there is a pre-selected list, I don't have to worry that I will let story selection and discussion slide while I'm on my latest illness/recovery wheel. I feel really bad about my lack of involvement the past few weeks, and I think this could work as a compromise so I don't commit to too much seeking and reading of potential stories, yet we can still dedicate ourselves to discussion.

So...what say you all? Is there any interest in reading the 5 freely available 2010 Nebula nominee stories? We could do 2 in March, 2 in April, and 1 in May, which brings us up to the awards ceremony on May 21.

Please chime in here with input, thoughts, suggestions, etc.

*Realms of Fantasy joined the party and made Harlan Ellison's nominated story freely readable online, too.

message 2: by Kerry (new)

Kerry (rocalisa) | 487 comments Works for me. The less effort you need to make, the better. (I have CFS, so I know about being overwhelmed by your own body.)

message 3: by Random (new)

Random (rand0m1s) | 828 comments I'm game for the idea. We can debate on which one might win. :)

message 4: by Christine (new)

Christine | 604 comments Perhaps someone can read the two less available stories and tell us about them as well. Sorry I haven't been as involved with the SS discussions as I thought I'd be.

message 5: by Nick (new)

Nick (doily) | 971 comments I haven't been as involved in story discussions as I would like, either. But I would really like to do this Nebula nominee thing.

message 6: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (seeford) Sounds like a wonderful idea, and I would like to be more involved as well. I say go for it (and I hope you're feeling better soon. = )

message 7: by Candiss (new)

Candiss (tantara) | 1207 comments Update: Realms of Fantasy just announced this afternoon that they will also be making their nominees (for short story and novelette categories) available for free online. That means the story by Harlan Ellison is also readable for our purposes, bringing our story pool up to 6. I changed the first post to reflect that. (If Asimov's SF Mag gets on board and joins their contemporaries by making their nominated story available online, I'll update again. I hope they do, as it seems a bit unfair to that author if theirs is the only story not freely available.)

message 8: by Kara (new)

Kara (sterlink) | 73 comments Candiss wrote: "...from now through May 2011, I'd like to have us read and discuss the Nebula nominees"

That sounds really great! I really enjoy short stories, and have only just found this little side discussion group. Hope to be reading along with you shortly. (No pun intended - but enjoyed).

message 9: by Shel, Moderator (new)

Shel (shel99) | 2240 comments Mod
sounds like a cool plan to me! I haven't been participating in the short story discussions as much as I'd like to, but I'll do my best :)

colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) I have a suggestion, too, though I have no idea of how it could be implemented.

Is there a way you could bring more attention to when you're starting a short story read? There have been more than a few times where I've completely missed the announcement that one was starting. It's very easy for it to get buried in the series or BotM discussion.

I wouldn't necessarily suggest sending out a group email, because those can be annoying, but I can't think of any other way to bring it to more prominence, either.

As for the OP, I'm game with reading the nominees. It could be cool. I just hope they're more in the shorter side of short. Heh.

message 11: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 626 comments I would suggest a corresponding Twitter or Facebook page for the Beyond Reality group so that announcements, events and links to discussions could be shared and those who wish to receive such announcements can 'like' or 'follow' them.

message 12: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (seeford) I can't link into Twitter or FB, but I would suggest possibly moving the section for the short story discussion up closer to the top of the page, before the BOM sections - right now it's so far down that I think it gets forgotten about.

message 13: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
Candiss, I think that's an excellent idea! Go for it - and I'm going to do my best to read along.

Re: Facebook or Twitter - there are already several ways to track what's happening in the group. Aside from just checking the group's page, you can also easily configure GoodReads to send you an email whenever someone posts something to the group or to a specific topic in the group, or send you a summary of all the new messages.

Or you could do what I do and just bookmark this link, which is a list of all the unread messages in the group:

I've found that's the easiest way to catch up and spot new topics and messages - it's what I do for the other groups I belong to.

With all of these options, I really don't see the need to duplicate things on Twitter or Facebook. (Besides, Facebook is Evil :) I firmly believe that, if John Lennon had written "God" in the last decade, it would have included the line "I don't believe in Facebook".)

Re: moving the Short Story folder up: if we do that, then another folder has to move down, and I don't want to do that. Right now, we have Group Business on top (for important group announcements), then the current Book of the Month folders, then the series discussion, and then the Short Story folder. After that, the folder for general SFF discussion and for off-topic discussions (Members' Lounge), and then the folders for the older Books of the Month. So the short story folder is pretty high up already!

message 14: by Candiss (new)

Candiss (tantara) | 1207 comments Thanks, everyone, for all your input! I'll think on all this today and get things organized.

Stefan, thanks so much for commenting here. I was just reading through and wondering what could be done aside from a broadcast email. (I'm an anti-Facebook person, too. I was/am ok with blogs, including the old Livejournal and such, but I just can't get behind the whole "Update: I woke up. Update: I have used a tissue." social overload thing. Perhaps I'm something of a Luddite in this specific aspect of modern media.) That link to the "Unread Folder" is great! There's the sort of small Goodreads tweak I wish was more advertised.

I also agree that moving the Short Story folder would do more harm than good to the organization of group folders/discussions. I agree it's already in the most optimal place for overall group "flow".

message 15: by Bill (new)

Bill (kernos) | 334 comments I guess my only problem is that there is over 100 years of literature and this method ignores great works from the past. Short stories Asimov's Nightfall and Clarke's The 9 Billion Names of God spring to mind.

message 16: by Candiss (new)

Candiss (tantara) | 1207 comments Kernos - While I agree with you, there's a roadblock to our reading a lot of classic SF/F short fiction. For our group's purposes, we are sticking to stories that are available online for free (and legally). Unfortunately, a lot of older works are not available this way, and we don't want to ask folks to find/buy 2 compilations/collections per month just to read 2 stories!

I've actually thought that after we exhaust the current list of stories people have suggested, I'd make a list (and invite suggestions/additions) of classic SF/F stories that are available on the web for free to see if there was interest in reading some of those. I know there are some, although the selection is more limited than with newer releases.

message 17: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new)

Kathi | 3219 comments Mod
I rarely, truly rarely read short stories. I'm just chiming in with wishes that Candiss feels better soon...

message 18: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
Kernos - another way to get the group to read stories like those would be nominating a good anthology of classic SF stories, next time we take nominations.

One of my favorites is The Science Fiction Hall of Fame 1, edited by Robert Silverberg - probably the definitive collection of classic short SF, plus it contains both the stories you listed. My copy is a ratty old paperback that's only kept together with tape and hope, but I'm too attached to it to replace it with a newer one. I got it at a library sale for 25 cents, which may be the best value-for-money of any book I've ever bought.

Another good anthology (and more recent) is The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology, edited by Gordon Van Gelder, but that one contains some fantasy too.

Anyway, I'm a big fan of short stories (and somehow seem to have become the "anthology guy" for the site I write for) and wouldn't mind at all if we had an anthology as Book of the Month at some point, but I'm not sure if it would get selected by the group - so if we can figure out a way to cover some classic stories in the Short Story Discussion folder (e.g. the way Candiss suggested), I'd be all for it. After all, the Nebula stories we'll do next will only take a month or two to cover - "Classic SF stories" might be a great theme for after that.

message 19: by Random (new)

Random (rand0m1s) | 828 comments Candiss wrote: "(I'm an anti-Facebook person, too. I was/am ok with blogs, including the old Livejournal and such, but I just can't get behind the whole "Update: I woke up. Update: I have used a tissue." social overload thing. Perhaps I'm something of a Luddite in this specific aspect of modern media.) "

I have to agree with you on that. I was joking with a friend one night that one of these days we're going to see someone hook up an interface between his toilet and a site like facebook. That way all of his friends could look at his page and go, "Looks like John had mexican for dinner again last night."

I have a thing about messages without meaning.

message 20: by Bill (new)

Bill (kernos) | 334 comments @Stephan— The anthology idea is a good one, but I don't think one would win either. There's no rule against someone just starting a discussion about a favorite short story or book is there?

message 21: by Candiss (new)

Candiss (tantara) | 1207 comments Thanks so much, everyone, for your input. I've set up a thread with reading schedule here and will have discussion threads opened for our first month's two stories soon.

message 22: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
Kernos - any discussion about SF and fantasy is welcome! There's a folder for "General SF & Fantasy discussion" where you can start topics about anything that's even vaguely SFF-related:

(By the way, there's also a folder for off-topic discussions, which in our context means pretty much anything, not necessarily SFF-related.)

message 23: by Karen (new)

Karen | 32 comments Just catching up here...

Candiss wrote: "...I just can't get behind the whole "Update: I woke up. Update: I have used a tissue." social overload thing. Perhaps I'm something of a Luddite in this specific aspect of modern media.)"

Thought I was the only one who felt this way and figured I was a dinosaur who needed to find the nearest peat bog... lol!

Have to say I'm not a big short story fan, but I will definitely be here for the Nebula nominees since they should be the creme de la creme of the oeuvre.

message 24: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 132 comments Hi - I'm new here but I was drawn in by your short stories discussions. I'm going to try to catch up and join in.

message 25: by Karen (new)

Karen | 32 comments Hi Sarah!

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