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New Year’s Resolution

Well, I have a lot to be thankful for and I don’t want much, so I think I’ll make a completely ridiculous New Year’s resolution.

I will read one short sf story every day (on average) for the entire year of 2004.

Shouldn’t be too hard, should it?

About John DeNardo (13013 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

23 Comments on New Year’s Resolution

  1. Time to go through your boxes and find all the “Best SF of the Year” books…

  2. The “Best SF” books by Hartwell are great. I’m planning on trying to get the Dozois “Best SF” books this year when I get that “job thing” locked down.

    I posted on my blog an entry on 12/30 a list of what I read this year. SF, non-fiction, etc. Let’s see where 2004 leads me!

  3. You read a lot in 2003 Fred. I don’t think I read even a tenth of what you did. Impressive.

  4. Wow, Fred, you did read a lot. More than a book a week! And, as far as I’m concerned, an omnibus counts one for each story it contains. If you bought the books separately you would count each as one. Why not when the same stories are between the same covers? The word count is still the same. Give yourself those extra points.

    I?m glad to see someone else own up to liking Perry Rhodan. It?s not great sf by any stretch (something lost in the translation?), but it sure is fun! I started collecting/reading them a couple of years ago. I?ve made it through 16 of 118 ACE volumes so far, but it?s been a while since I read that last one. At 120 pages, they are easily knocked off in a day.

    Gotta go now…I have a short story to read. One a day? What was I thinking?

  5. OK, maybe I should set some ground rules for this suddenly-intimidating project o’ mine.

    I am currently in the midst of reading an anthology that contains short stories, novelettes and novellas. These should count, I suppose, so using the SFWA’s definitions we have:

    .25 points = Vignette (less than 1,000 words) [Updated 2/2/04]

    1 point = Short Story (1,000 – 7,500 words)

    2 points = Novelette (7,500 – 17,500 words)

    4 points = Novella (17,500 – 40,000)

    My goal, then, is to accumlate 366 points this leap year in less-than-novel-length stories. I am also expanding eligible stories to be any kind of fiction (sf, fantasy, horror, mystery) as well. Sometimes, I’m just jonesin’ for something different. I’ll blog my progress near the end of each month.

  6. My book count was definately helped by the commute. Three hours a day on a bus you either sleep or read. So I read!

    We’ll see how well I do this year being out of work for now, but hopefully employed in the near future.

  7. John, you could probably stick to SF only if you found a bunch of ‘Best’ anthologies and/or picked up a bunch of Asimov’s or SF&F magazines at HPB…..

    Good luck on the job search Fred. BTW, where do you live? Did I see Dallas?

  8. By “found” I suppose you mean “dig out of a box”? Yep, I already have plenty.

  9. Whoops, missed a comment directed towards me…

    Nope, I live in central New Jersey. I used to work in NYC, very close to the WTC. Our company never recovered from 9/11.

    As for books this year, it’s been a slow start. So I may end up adopting the “one short story a day” idea as well!

  10. Wow, I must have mixed you up with someone else! I hope you’re warm right now. It was a balmy 60 degrees today in Houston! Mmmm, no snow…

    I’m off to a slow start as well. I’ve finished one book, Permutation City, and am about a quarter of the way through Phoenix Exultant. On the bright side, John is waaaay ahead on his short story a day quest. Of course, I have to question his practice of ‘banking’ short stories…

  11. Hey now, there’s nothing wrong with banking short story points. Some days I don’t get to read at all (life keeps getting in the way).

    BTW, JP…did I miss your review of The Golden Age? And waht about the review of Permutation City?

  12. So here’s how the “year in shorts” is going for me so far. I haven’t been able to keep a 1 story per rate rate going, mostly because I keep stumbling across fairly long “short” stories!

    The list…

    “The Saturn Game” by Poul Anderson (in “Going for Eternity” by the same)

    “Gypsy” by Poul Anderson (same collection as above)

    “Sargasso of Space” by Edmond Hamilton (Astounding SF 60th Anniversary collection)

    “The Fifth-Dimension Tube”, Murray Leinster (same collection as above)

    “Shadow Out of Time” by H.P. Lovecraft (same collection as above)

    “The Eternal Wanderer” by Nat Schachner (same collection as above)

    “Cloak of Aesir” by Don A. Stuart (John W. Campbell, Jr.) (same collection as above)

    “The Roads Must Roll” by Robert A. Heinlein (same collection as above)

    “Blowups Happen” by Robert A. Heinlein (The Astounding Science Fiction Anthology, ed by Campbell)

    “Hindsight” by Jack Williamson (same collection as above)

    “Vault of the Beast” by A.E. Van Vogt (same collection as above)

    “The Exalted” by L. Sprague de Camp (same collection as above)

    “Nightfall” by Isaac Asimov (same collection as above)

    “When the Bough Breaks” by Lewis Padgett (Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore) (same collection as above)

    “The Supervisor’s Tale” by Ben Bova (Sam Gunn, Unlimited, by Bova)

    So, four anthologies, reading stories from each, as the whim hits. The 60th Anniversary Collection is actually a trio of books. There’s a bit of overlap between the 60th Anniversary collection and the much older collection edited by Campbell.

    I’m also going to work through the collection that Asimov and Greenberg edited that covered stories on a yearly basis, starting (I think) in 1939 or so (edited retroactively, of course!).

    So, a few stories (15 stories, 21 days) behind schedule, but having a lot of fun at it!

  13. Go Fred!

    It’s OK to count novelletes and novellas as more points (see earlier comment for my patented SF-POINTS© system!).

    Also, check out The Locus Index to Short Stories to see which stories qualify as novelettes (2 SF-POINTS©) and novellas (4 SF-POINTS©). For example, Van Vogt’s Vault of the Beast qualifies as a novella. That’s 4 SF-POINTS©!

  14. See? John’s already trying to work the system to his advantage. Going from ‘a short-story a day’ to this whole points thing which allows him to take a break from reading.

  15. Well, yeah. I still want to read some books.

  16. What about essays related to SF & F? How would they count?

  17. I’m not including sf essay reading in the point count — this is strictly a fiction reading goal.

    I have, though, decided to add “vignette” as a qualifying story length since the current anthology I am reading contains some of them. Based on the word count (under 1000) being one-fourth the length of an average-length short story, I will count 4 vignettes as 1 point.

    [2/2/04 Update: I have modified the previous comment that lists point values with Vignette info]

  18. Update on my list at my blog. I’ve put up a list of the books I’ve read so far, the books I’m currently reading. A second posting lists the fiction and non-fiction “short form” stuff that I’ve read. Looks like I’m doing well in the “one a day” plan!

  19. Wow, Fred. You?re doing pretty well at the short-story-a-day thing and also with the book count. Lot?s of classics in there. Check out the Asiomov?s forum post about the best SS of all time.

  20. Getting close to the year end. It looks like I’ll be around 500 for the short story/essay count. Got four books to finish in the short story category.

  21. Go, go gadget Fred! You’ve way surpassed my story count. My current 358 points mean I’m only 7 points away, but the story count is much less than 358. Nice going. Are you going to continue next year? I still plan on reading short stories, but I’m giving up the count, I think.

  22. I will continue next year, to be sure. There are a couple of collection sets I want to star working on–the Dozois’, the Harwell’s, etc.

    I think books to date are around 81 or so, I’m hoping to hit 90 by the end of the year.

    This is the only good thing about my c*** job, a security guard has lots of time to read!

  23. I for one will be glad if John gives up his count. Or at least publicizing it here on the blog :).

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