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!
Extinction Reversed by J.S. Morin
I’ve been listening to Morin’s “Black Ocean” series and loving it. It’s self-described as “Firefly with magic” and I think that’s largely accurate. I was hugely looking forward to diving in to Morin’s work for the SPSFC. It’s a story about a future on Earth without humans. Instead, there are AIs that are attempting to recreate humanity, which is seen as a kind of blasphemy by some. I found it difficult to get into the characters, though. In part, this was because their names are variants on common names and a number (eg. Eve318). I also think I went in thinking it would be a light-hearted romp similar to Morin’s “Black Ocean” series and it’s clear this one requires the reader to slow down and think quite a bit more. That is obviously not a bad thing, but my expectations being so thrown off made it hard to orient myself. I consider this one a maybe, though I lean yes.
The Memories of Khassos by Leah Flaherty
There are quite a few threads happening in this book, and it was confusing to start off. At 20% in, things started to pull together. The plot seems to be about surveying the multiverse to see what events may or may not become important in the “real” or preferred universe. Another thread follows someone trying to sell information but running afoul of the law in a way that surprised that character far more than it surprised me. There are maybe too many plot threads going on all at once, to be honest, but each one is interesting in its own way. I’m intrigued enough to slot this one into my “yes” category.
The Shepherd Protocol by Fowler Brown
I’m a sucker for AI stories or stories about android like things or sleeves (people wearing robot bodies). Brown’s The Shepherd Protocol is a story about a synth—an AI in a metal body—trying to figure out what’s happening that’s killing others like her. Melos is an interesting protagonist, and the way humans treat synths reads like a commentary on our society. It’s got quite a bit of mystery thrown in. One issue I’m having is that I haven’t found the characters compelling yet at this point. Thematically, it’s all right up my alley, though. I’m torn about it. Consider this on the “maybe” list.
Round 1 Status
I’ve now dipped my toes into 18 out of 31 books. I’m now at 5 yes, 6 no, and 7 maybes. I obviously have far too many on my “maybes” list. I’d love to hear from you what you think if you’ve read any of these books or want to see them on my longer reviews! 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!
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