r/Fantasy Bingo 2020 – First Draft

The /r/Fantasy Bingo is a yearly Bingo hosted on the /r/Fantasy subreddit, created by Lisa from WayTooFantasy. Like the name implies, this is a 25-square book-themed Bingo with each square holding a different challenge. Each author can only be used once and only one square can be a re-read. Learn more about the challenge here. You can check out my past attempts in the /r/Fantasy Bingo page.

My first thoughts for this card were ‘well, that’s not too shabby’. Genre-wise, it’s definitely more aligned with my tastes than last year (certainly less stalker-ish), although I still maintain the 2018 card is superior. Most of these cards would probably cover books I’d likely read over the year anyway, so the only couple I really see myself struggling with are ‘Canadian Author’, ‘Big Dumb Object’, and ‘Magical Pet’. As usual, I never go into these cards planning to sub out a square, so unless April comes around in 2021 and I’ve hit another reading slump, I do plan to get this card done.

While I’ve prepared a ‘first draft’ so to speak of the books I plan to read (with a couple already covered!), the essence of a TBR is to change and so I have no doubts squares will shift and change as the year progresses.

2020-2021 Bingo Card


Row 1

Novel Translated from its Original Language

The spirit of this square would be to read a book that’s originally not written in English. But you can also read books in another language you speak. Doesn’t matter what language you read the book in, as long as it’s not the original language it was first published in.

HARD MODE: Written by a woman. Coauthor does not count.

First Thought: Heaven Official’s Blessing/天官赐福 by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu/墨香铜臭

At the time of writing this post I’m on chapter 159 of 244 in this utter chonker of a webnovel and I’ll probably be in the 200s by the time it gets posted. This one’s amazing, the main couple is so so adorable and extremely functional, there’s a lot of suffering. It’s a good webnovel.

Setting Featuring Snow, Ice, or Cold

This setting must used be for a good portion of the book.

HARD MODE: The entire book takes place in this setting.

First Thought: Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence

I read Red Sister two years back and I absolutely love that book so picking up Grey Sister for this square is a no brainer.

Optimistic SFF

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and while we’ve come across some trouble, we’re going to overcome it *together*. Sometimes very bad things happen (like an entire apocalypse) but ultimately you’re left feeling things will get better, with a sense of hope. Includes genres like hopepunk and noblebright.

HARD MODE: Not Becky Chambers

First Thought: Hallow Empire by Sam Hawke

If The City of Lies (book 1 of the Poison Wars) could be described in one word, it would be optimistic. I expect Hallow Empire to be similar in tone.

Novel Featuring Necromancy

Raising the dead, woot! Self-explanatory.

HARD MODE: Necromancer is the protagonist.

First Thought: Gideon the Ninth by Tasmyn Muir

Another highly anticipated 2019 book who’s released I missed due to hiatus. Definitely going to be picking this one up as soon as possible

Ace / Aro Spec Fic

A novel featuring Asexual and/or Aromantic character(s). It should be explicitly stated (either by the character themselves, another character, or the author) that a character isn’t interested in romance or sex.

HARD MODE: Ace / Aro protagonist.

First Thought: Vengeful by VE Schwab

For someone who falls on the aro/ace spectrum, this one took an embarrassingly long time to figure out. Then I remembered that VE Schwab had confirmed Victor from Vicious was ace, and hell I was going to read it at some point

Row 2:

Novel Featuring a Ghost

This one is pretty self-explanatory.

HARD MODE: At least one main protagonist is a ghost.

First Thought: ??

Leaving this one blank for now, I’ll probably pick something up around Halloween

Novel Featuring Exploration

Boldly go…. Again, pretty self-explanatory.

HARD MODE: The exploration is the central plot.

First Thought: The Tropic of Servants by Marie Brennan

I loved book 1, so book 2 makes perfect sense for this square

Climate Fiction

Climate should play a significant role in the story. This includes the genres of solarpunk, post-apocalyptic, ecopunk, clifi.

HARD MODE: Not post-apocalyptic

First Thought: Becky Chamber’s untitled Solarpunk novel

Assuming the book gets published this bingo cycle (Goodreads says 2020), I’ll be reading that. Solarpunk has been one of the more interesting ‘-punk’ genres for me after all. Otherwise, I’ll hunt something down

Novel with a Colour in the Title


HARD MODE: Not black, red, grey, or white.

First Thought: Jade City by Fonda Lee

I’ve put Jade City off for sooooo long and it just sits there, collecting dust on my Kindle library and glaring at me. This year, it’ll happen.

Any r/Fantasy Book Club Book of the Month OR r/Fantasy Read-along Book

Any past or still active book clubs count, as well as past or current read-alongs. NOTE: All of the current book club info can also be found on our goodreads page.

HARD MODE: Must read a current selection of either a book club or read-along and participate in the discussion.

First Thought: City of Brass by SA Chakraborty

Like how Jade City glares at me from my Kindle shelves, City of Brass glares at me from my physical shelves.

Row 3:

Self-Published SFF Novel

Only self-published novels will count for this square. If the novel has been picked up by a publisher as long as you read it when it was self-pubbed it will still count.

HARD MODE: Self-pubbed and has fewer than 50 ratings on goodreads.

First Thought: Icarus, Burning by aladyinbooks

This is a delightful original work I discovered on Ao3 last year featuring excellent sci-fi worldbuilding, a lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers m/m relationship, and very fleshed out characters. I dropped it sometime in the summer, but since it’s close to wrapping up, that gives me the perfect excuse to read it in full!

Novel with Chapter Epigraphs

A quote used to introduce a chapter, it often serves as a summary or counterpoint to the passage that follows, although it may simply set the stage for it.

HARD MODE: Original to the novel (i.e., not a quotation from another source).

First Thought: Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft

Same situation as Jade City. My Kindle Shelves are so dusty

Novel Published in 2020


HARD MODE: It’s also a Debut Novel.

First Thought: Whichever NetGalley debut strikes my fancy

Leaving this one blank for now since I read plenty of debut/new releases ever year

Novel Set in a School or University


HARD MODE: Not Harry Potter or the Magicians.

First Thought: Vita Nostra by Marina Dyachenko

I’ve heard some great things about this book and I think I snagged it in a sale a while back.

Book About Books

Books must be central to the plot somehow.

HARD MODE: Does not feature a library (public, school, or private).

First Thought: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E Harrow

It seems everyone in my blogging circles and Twitter feeds seem to be yelling about this one so bandwagon it is

Row 4:

A Book that Made You Laugh

Doesn’t have to be a comedy, but should make you laugh at least once while reading.

HARD MODE: Not Pratchett.

First Thought: The Legend of Sun Knight by Yu Wo

Using my re-read for this square. The Legend of Sun Knight is another fan-translated Chinese webnovel that I absolutely adored in highschool and I can genuinely say this one is hilarious. Really looking forward to this re-read.

Five SFF Short Stories


HARD MODE: Read an entire SFF anthology or collection.

First Thought: Exhalation by Ted Chiang

Exhalation’ the short story was the first Ted Chiang short story I ever read, back around the time Arrival came out and it still remains my favorite. I love Chiang’s work and can’t wait to see what else the collection has in store.

Big Dumb Object

A novel featuring any mysterious object of unknown origin and immense power which generates an intense sense of wonder or horror by its mere existence and which people must seek to understand before it’s too late. In this case, we are counting mythical forests, objects under the sea or in space, mysterious signals or illnesses, and science that is too futuristic for our protagonists to understand. NOT a monster.

HARD MODE: The classic golden-age of science fiction definition of Big Dumb Object – Dyson Spheres, alien spaceships, a BIG thing that appears with no explanation.

First Thought: The Tyrant Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

This is definitely a ‘fitting the book to the square’ picks, but Baru Cormorant is my all-time favorite fantasy series and supposedly this book features a plague, so it fits?

Feminist Novel

Includes feminist themes such as but not limited to gender inequality, sexuality, race, economics, and reproduction. It’s not enough to have strong female characters or a setting where women are equal to men, feminist themes must be central to and directly addressed in a critical manner by the plot.

HARD MODE: (Updated 4/4) Feminist novel by a person of colour or Indigeous author.

First Thought: The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

I finished this novella about a week ago and it was one of the easiest 5 stars I’ve given. Totally recommend.

Novel by a Canadian Author

Canada has a fantastic SFF scene, let’s explore some of the authors there using this square.

HARD MODE: Book from an Canadian small press OR self-published Canadian author.

First Thought: ???

Leaving this one blank too since I don’t usually look up author countries. Maybe KS Villoso’s Isekar Falcon if that comes out in time.

Row 5:

Novel with a Number in the Title


HARD MODE: Also features a colour in the title.

First Thought: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

This one’s a little more tenacious but technically my friend’s copy has been sitting on my TV stand for two years now…..

Romantic Fantasy / Paranormal Romance

Romance needs to be central to the plot and the story would not make sense if it was removed. Should also either have a happily ever after or a happy for now ending.

HARD MODE: Read and participate in HEA Book Club pick.

First Thought: Guardian by Priest

This card’s just rolling in Chinese BL webnovels haha. I’ve watched about 3 episodes of live-action, still no clue what the overarching plot is but a ton of people have told me to read the webnovel so here goes

Novel with a Magical Pet


HARD MODE: Magical pet can also speak.

First Thought: ???

the only thing my excel sheet says right now is ‘temeraire doesn’t count 😦 ‘

Format: Graphic Novel (at least 1 vol.) OR Audiobook / Audio drama

This is a format, not a genre however, please stick to something within speculative fiction. If you are reading individual comics for this square please read a volume’s worth. You can also use a manga volume for this square (again, please keep it to speculative fiction genres). You may also choose to listen to an audiobook OR an audio drama for this square – any speculative fiction audiobook / audio drama will count (novel length).

HARD MODE: Graphic Novel – stand alone graphic novel. Audiobook / audio drama – has to be over 25 hours long.

First Thought: ???

Intentionally leaving this one blank since I read a SHIT TON of manga and occasionally an audiobook when that strikes my fancy

Novel Featuring Politics

Politics are central to the plot. This covers everything from royalty, elections, wars, and even smaller local politics.

HARD MODE: Not featuring royalty.

First Thought: Pheonix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee

This one’s already read too (so sad pub date got pushed back to October). Not my favorite of Yoon Ha Lee’s works, but still great in it’s own (4/5)

4 thoughts on “r/Fantasy Bingo 2020 – First Draft

  1. I had no idea that Schwab series would count for that square or I might have used that one myself and the first one is in my TBR already… I’m happy with my picks for bingo though. Maybe I’ll end up doing two cards…. lol

    Liked by 1 person

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