SPSFC Round 1: Self-Published Science Fiction Contest reading

I’m beyond thrilled to be part of the first-ever Self-Published Science Fiction Contest! What is that? Check out the write up over at Red Star Reviews for an explanation. The first round of the contest for we judges is to whittle down the pile of books we’ve been given from the 30 (31 for our group!) to 10 that we’re going to read in their entirety. How do we do that? Well, we read 10-20% of all 30 of the books and then vote on whether we’d like to continue them. I’m going to blog about these as I go, and I want to know what you think! How do you like the covers? Have you read the book? Did my write-up make you want to read it? Let me know!

The Combat Codes by Alexander Darwin

First off, this book has a great cover, with hints of anime/manga mecha combat. I figured this one would be right up my alley. The author graciously provided an audio copy of the book, so I dove in to listening as I folded an embarassing amount of laundry on my day off.

So far, the book definitely seems like it’s in my wheelhouse. It’s the story of a kid with an uncertain background working his way through a cutthroat fighting (martial arts) school in a future (maybe?) in which the fights settle wars or conflicts before they break out… or something. There’s a lot of worldbuilding to happen yet, but it thrust me as a reader right into the action while also giving an intriguing glimpse of a bigger world. I’ll be listening to this whole thing, most likely before we even give it the rubber stamp to continue to the next round.

I should note, too, because this matters: I think the reader does a fantastic job. Fair warning: I always listen to books at 2x speed, so my judgment is based on that.

Wherever Seeds May Fall by Peter Cawdron

I was grabbed by this one the moment I started reading it. It’s got elements of hard sci-fi and first contact, and those are two of my favorite sub-genres. The opening is a good scene, in my opinion, too: it’s a domestic scene as two couples start to chat during dinner, a NASA transmission that one of them is desperately trying to watch on in the background. As they finally settle in and watch, the unexpected nature of the way the comet/asteroid bounces leads to more questions, and those set the stage for the rest of the novel.

I was sucked into this one from the get-go, and I’m now 24% into this book, despite round 1 being “read 10-20%”! Cawdron threw some extremely relevant present day stuff into this novel, and that has me wanting to see where he’s going to take it.

Turnabout by Carmen Webster Buxton

I’m going to file this under “not my type of book.” It uses the term “harem” in one description and the first 20% feels like intense teen-ish drama with a bit of forced action mixed in. Not my style, though I suspect it is for some–if that’s what you enjoy, check it out!

Round 1 Status

I’ve now dipped my toes into 3 out of 31 books, with tons more to go. With two of these three on my “yes” list, I am hoping I won’t have to get too crazy and circle back and uncheck any yes boxes later. Want to know what other books are on the list? Check out Red Star Reviews’ post on my team’s list to see the covers!


Science Fiction Hub– I have scores of reviews of Hugo nominees, Vintage Sci-Fi, modern sci-fi, TV series, and more! Check out my science fiction related writings here.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!


4 thoughts on “SPSFC Round 1: Self-Published Science Fiction Contest reading

  1. […] SPSFC Round 1– I briefly review the first 3 books that I dipped my toes into here, and discovered at least one gem. […]

  2. Kari says:

    I added Wherever Seeds May Fall to my list to pick up soon. I will admit, originally I wasn’t interested in it. I will also admit it’s probably due to the cover, but that’s my shortcoming.

  3. […] SPSFC Round 1, Part 1– I test out three books featuring a battle school (The Combat Codes), some hard sci-fi mixed with first contact (Wherever Seeds May Fall), and one that didn’t strike me at all (Turnabout). The hard sci-fi novel was great! […]

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