I’m beyond thrilled to be part of the first-ever Self-Published Science Fiction Contest, in 2021. Here, I’ve collected all my posts having to do with this ongoing contest. Below you can find interviews, full book reviews, my first impressions, and bonus reviews for other group’s books that looked interesting to me.
Interview with Malcolm F. Cross, Author of “Dog Country” – read about what inspired Cross’s military sci-fi story that has heavy themes and solid action. Cross also talks about the furry community, and upcoming works.
Interview with Julian North, Author of “Age of Order” – read about the visceral experience that inspired this justice-focused dystopia, what North thinks of dystopias more generally, and what got him into sci-fi.
Interview with Kyoko M., Author of “Of Cinder & Bone”– How did Kyoko M. do research for this Jurassic Park-esque dragon story?
Interview with Edward Nile, Author of “Ironshield”– Come learn what inspired this dieselpunk military epic.
Interview with KT Belt, Author of “Monster of the Dark”– How did KT Belt come to write this visceral thriller?
Team Red Stars Round of 100 reviews
Each team selected 10 books to fully read from which they were to narrow it down to 3.
Above the Sky by J.W. Lynne- A twist on the standard dystopia makes this a novel well worth reading.
Extinction Reversed by J.S. Morin– Robots seek to recreate their makers in this post-human adventure story.
Zenith by Arshad Ahsanuddin– strong characters carry the day in this intensely focused hard sci-fi mashup.
The Shepherd Protocol by Fowler Brown– A noir/robot mashup carries the mystery in this adventure.
The Jagged Edge by AJ Frazer- A climate-terrorist meets up with a journalist in this thriller that stumbles at the start before taking off for a good story.
Refraction by Wick Welker- Three timelines center around one intriguing plot in this lengthy slow-burn sci-fi epic.
Eye of the Storm by R.K. King– Mad Max but with a strong central plot makes this a fascinating, fast-moving thrill ride.
The Trellis by Jools Cantor- A darkly humorous mystery set in the future unites strong character interactions with the dangers of late stage capitalism.
Above the Sky by J.W. Lynne- A dystopia (maybe?) that has readers wondering what’s going on outside the insular world of the main characters.
Extinction Reversed by J.S. Morin- What if humans were killed off but our AI progeny wanted us back?
Zenith by Arshad Ahsanuddin- A character-driven story of a crew set to take on one of the greatest inventions ever–but at what cost?
Of Cinder and Bone by Kyoko M.– Imagine if Jurassic Park had stronger characters and had way more going on. This book is that, and it’s a mighty fine read.
Age of Order by Julian North- Injustice on many levels are featured in this dystopia that goes far beyond what it initially seems.
Dog Country by Malcolm F. Cross- Genetically modified animals were intended to fight humanity’s wars, but instead have to forge ahead in the lives they’ve been given in this brilliant achievement of a novel.
What Branches Grow by T.S. Beier- A relentless post-apocalyptic story that has strong characterization.
I review some of the books from other groups that didn’t make it beyond earlier stages but that I enjoyed.
Along the Perimeter by Steven Healt- Fantastic worldbuilding abounds in this science fantasy that brings more to the table as it builds on itself in a slow-burn epic.
First Impressions Posts
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!
SPSFC Round 1, Part 2– A dark science fantasy, a space dragon romance, and a curiously intriguing conspiracy-driven novel are sampled this go-round.
SPSFC Round 1, Part 3– science fantasy with some horror elements (Things They Buried) goes up against hard sci-fi (Zenith) and a near-future climate thriller (The Jagged Edge) this part of round 1.
SPSFC Round 1, Part 4– I get totally drawn in to a dystopia (Above the Sky) and then take a look at a fun romp (Banneker Bones) and confused by a very unique feeling novel (World of Difference) with my look at these three novels.
SPSFC Round 1, Part 5– post-apocalyptic with some loss of technology (maybe?) (Detonation) goes head-to-head with futuristic mystery (The Trellis) and… weirdness (The Golden Crunk of Cringle).
SPSFC Round 1, Part 6– AIs are the name of the game in two of the entries here (Extinction Reversed and The Shepherd Protocol) while Memories of the Khassos has so much going on that I want to know more.
SPSFC Round 1, Part 7– a dystopic classist nightmare (Age of Order), a thoughtful bit of military sci-fi (Dog Country), and a cool cover (The Revolution Will be Tokenized) make for an intriguing batch of samples.
SPSFC Round 1, Part 8– a Mad Max-style post-apocalyptic novel (Eye of the Storm) meets a hard sci-fi apocalypse (Skybound) and military sci-fi with superpowers (The Lore of Prometheus) in this go-round.
SPSFC Round 1, Part 9– this batch has a time travel exploit (Infinite), hard sci-fi with dragons (Of Cinder & Bone), and an action-packed prison planet (Petra). Which books come out on top?
SPSFC Round 1, Part 10– an action-filled sci-fi thriller (Quinn of Cygnus: Lift Off) squares off against a thoughtful, centuries-spanning epic (Refraction), a time-bouncing, question-everything novel (The Echo Effect), and a dystopia, but with aliens (The Coldsuit) in my final round of samples.
Battle Royale Posts (These posts determined my personal top 10)
SPSFC Round 1, Battle Royale Part 1– cli-fi thriller The Jagged Edge faces off against the dark Edge of the Breach and the time bouncing The Echo Effect to see which book comes out on top!
SPSFC Round 1, Battle Royale Part 2– a robotic mystery in The Shepherd Protocol contends with the time bounce-y Refraction and kaleidoscope conspiracy fest This Blue Ball.
SPSFC Round 1, Battle Royale Part 3– a first-contact/dystopic mashup with The Coldsuit, military sci-fi Dog Country, and the science fantasy Lore of Prometheus stare each other down.
SPSFC Round 1, Battle Royale Part 4– Wildly different books square off in the science fantasy Things They Buried, space opera-ish Memories of the Khassos, and the AI-driven Extinction Reversed.
SPSFC Round 1, Battle Royale Part 5– hard sci-fi thriller Skybound starts out strong, World of Difference is… different, and Age of Order enthralls in this battle.
Announcements for Cuts and Advancements
Team Red Stars First Round Cuts– I announce several of my team’s cuts, along with my thoughts on these books.
Announcing Team Red Stars SPSFC Round of 100 reads– the top 10 books chosen by my SPSFC team are here!
Announcing the SPSFC Semifinalists– I have links, covers, blurbs, and first impressions for all 30 semi-finalists!
Full Book Reviews
SPSFC Book Review: “Wherever Seeds May Fall” by Peter Cawdron– I started this book as a sample and then couldn’t stop as I got totally sucked into the story. This was my first full book review for the SPSFC.