2022 r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge: Initial Plan and First Impressions

Official announcement thread HERE

So! The time for the new Bingo has finally arrived! The time when we excitedly, foolishly make plans, only for the card to look completely different when the turn-in time comes around. Having the moderator privilege of being able to peek at the card early means that I was able to plan in advance, so here’s my plan for this year. Like the last few years, I’m not trying for hard mode, or doing a themed card, or a double – just your ordinary Bingo, especially since I’m finding this year’s card a lot more difficult.

We’ll see what it looks like by the time I’m done!

πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ A Book from r/Fantasy’s Top LGBTQIA List

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Plan: The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers
Hard mode: No

This one was, shockingly, one of the most difficult ones – because I read damn near everything on the list! But, luckily, I have not read the conclusion to the Wayfarers series yet, since I was waiting for it to be released in paperback (they need to match, dammit), so that’s it sorted.

🌡 Weird Ecology

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Plan:Β Call of the Bone Ships by R.J. Barker
Hard Mode: Yes

Another square where I thought I was pretty out of acceptable options. Looking at my owned books, this fit, and I do hope I can get around to continuing this series, but given my fondness of weird books, perhaps something else will turn up!

πŸ‘₯ Two or More Authors

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Plan: Daughter from the Dark by Sergey & Marina Dyachenko
Hard mode: No

More or less a placeholder I picked out from my owned books – but who knows, maybe I’ll end up reading it. It’s not like I have many options for this square since I don’t want to read another anthology.

πŸ› Historical SFF

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Plan: Under the Poppy by Kathe Koja
Hard mode: Yes, I think?

An extremely easy square for me, since this is one of my most often-read subgenres. For now, I decided to double up and plan one of the suggestions from that “get friends to rec you books” challenge that was floating around twitter in January.

🌌 Set in Space

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Plan: Machine by Elizabeth Bear (ARC)
Hard mode: No clue

Harder than I initially thought – my first pick was Winter’s Orbit, but it turns out it doesn’t count because it’s set on a planet. Luckily, one of my ancient ARCs did.

πŸ“” Standalone

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Plan: The Bruising of Qilwa by Naseem Jamnia (ARC)
Hard mode: Yes

I’m not sure what was I thinking to request a novella about an epidemic, but oh well, I’ve always been weak to pretty covers. Since I’m going to read it anyway, probably quite soon, I decided to put it here.

🦹 Anti-Hero

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Plan: Of Charms, Ghosts and Grievances by Aliette de Bodard (ARC)
Hard mode: No

This has been another tough square for me, but mostly because the definition confused me and I couldn’t think of anything that could fit. But Asmodeus should count I think.

πŸ’¬ Book Club OR Readalong Book

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Plan: Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell
Hard mode: No

Another doubling up with the “get friends to rec you books” challenge. Unless, unless I end up leading another bookclub sometime this year. Which is not at all unlikely.

πŸ—‘ Cool Weapon

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Plan: The Hourglass Throne by K.D. Edwards (ARC)
Hard mode: Maybe?

Another square where I could not think of any options, though it’s probably one of the easiest to stumble across accidentally. But this book should have at least a few. And I can always shift it down to UF.

πŸ”₯ Revolutions and Rebellions

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Plan: Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi
Hard mode: Yes

A ridiculously hard square when you don’t want any dodgy French revolution retellings sympathetic to nobility (aka 99.9% of them out there). But this should do nicely and I’m probably going to cross it off quite soon.

πŸ™‹ Name in the Title

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Plan:Β The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling
Hard mode: Yes

I had already started this book (got it when the ebook went on sale), then a few pages in realised it’d be perfect for this square, and quickly put it down. So I suspect this is another square that will not change.

πŸ”  Author Uses Initials

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Plan:Β The Unbalancing by R.B. Lemberg (ARC)
Hard mode: No – I think?

Another square that’s basically a free square and no trouble at all. Very, very excited to get around to this one. It’s one of my most anticipated releases of this year.

πŸ“… Published in 2022

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Plan: Dead Collections by Isaac Fellman
Hard mode: No

Here’s where I’ll be beginning the challenge. It’s been very, very hard to keep myself from starting it – and it’s short, currently I want short.

πŸ§› Urban Fantasy

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Plan: Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell
Hard mode: Probably not?

Initial owned book placeholder was Strange Practice, but I was not feeling it. Far more excited about trying another novella. It’s a difficult square because UF is really not my thing. Sexism or weirdly rigid gender roles seem hard to avoid when it comes to the most obvious choices, and as far as reliable series go, I’m already using a Tarot Sequence book for another square.

🌍 Set in Africa

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Plan: Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko
Hard mode: Yes

This square will be giving me some trouble if I DNF and find myself in need of alternatives, I admit, and I’m not totally sure if it’ll be up my alley. But it’s another book from the “get friends to rec you books” challenge (as is the next one), so I’ll at least attempt it.

πŸ‰ Non-Human Protagonist

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Plan: Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Hard mode: Yes

I think it’s been on my kindle long enough and it’s, well… high time I finally start it πŸ˜› If it counts for two reading challenges, all the better to motivate me. Also good I’m not afraid of spiders!

πŸ•° Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey

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Plan: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
Hard mode: I don’t think so

Sometimes, it’s nice to have the obvious choice still available. I really don’t know what I would have read otherwise.

5️⃣ Five SFF Short Stories

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Plan: The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories edited by Mahvesh Murad and Jared ShurinΒ 
Hard mode: YesΒ 

I got persuaded to try another anthology, though I’m really not a huge fan of short stories and fully intended to do the bare minimum of effort with five free short stories again before. But the lineup is good, the theme is good, and it’ll make at least two friends happy.Β 

πŸ™ Features Mental Health

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Plan: In the Serpent’s Wake by Rachel Hartman
Hard mode: Yes

The first book focused heavily on mental health, so I hope the second will too. Otherwise…well, I’ll find something, I like the theme of this one a whole lot, definitely one of my favourite squares.

πŸ“ Self-Published OR Indie Publisher

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Plan: The Sign of the Dragon by Mary Soon Lee
Hard mode: Yes

Wouldn’t normally be one of the easiest squares as I don’t read a lot of self-pub, but I got lucky. As soon as I heard that the story is told though about 300 poems, I knew I must try it. Sounds very interesting and unique.

πŸ₯‰ Award Finalist, But Not Won

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Plan: The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie
Hard mode: Yes

Another duplicate from the other challenge I’m doing and a book I had on my kindle for a while but never quite got around to.

For anyone who wants some help with this square, I recommend this website. Not only does it have lists of all the awards, if you input a book into the search engine, you can see what (if anything) was it nominated for or won.

✍🏽BIPOC Author

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Plan: Babel, or The Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution by R.F. Kuang
Hard mode: No

The only book on the list I can’t yet read since it’s still a while until release and I won’t be requesting and ARC since I already preordered. But I knew I’d manage to fit it somewhere.

✨ Shapeshifters

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Plan: Aurora’s Angel by Emily Noon
Hard mode: Yes

This is honestly my least favourite square. Shapeshifters don’t particularly appeal to me (especially werewolves) and finding something secondary-world was…challenging. Until another moderator saved me by highly recommending this. So, we’ll see. Hopefully I won’t need to swap any squares this year!

🚫 No Ifs, Ands, or Buts

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Plan: Two Dark Moons by Avi Silver
Hard mode: Yes

Another contender for my favourite square, I like that it’s quirky and makes you look a bit harder at your TBR, but not, ultimately, impossible or limited by subgenre.Β 

πŸ‘ͺ Family Matters

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Plan: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
Hard mode: No idea

I’m really hoping Bone Gap fits and that I won’t have to swap. It’s only an averagely difficult square, and one I don’t mind at all, but still. I like my pick. I impulse-bought it a while ago and the blurb indicates it might…but then again, it might not. But I’ll read it either way, I think.

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