SPSFC Round 1, Part 10: 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!

Quinn of Cygnus: Lift Off (Quantum Fold Book 1) by AM Scott

Quinn is off to Adzari Net Academy where she is confronted by uneven standards, punishing physical er… punishments, and a Mean Girls like environment. It’s got the pieces there, but I struggled to find the voice in the first 15% of the novel. Is Quinn a hero orphan? Is she a Chosen One? Is she a teen? Or an adult? And why do the others at the academy act so much like pre-teens? I honestly felt pretty lost as I read this one, and Quinn didn’t grab me as a character. It’s on the “no” pile.

Refraction by Wick Welker

Three characters connected (maybe?) by a strange phenomenon of hearing voices are at different times in this intriguing hard sci-fi novel. I’ve gotten into the characters from the beginning and I’m super curious about the way the psychological and physical science is going to play out. It’s got no small amount of social commentary, as well, if the first 14% is any indication. What especially drew me in is how each time period seems distinct but very lived-in. They don’t feel artificial at all so far. It’s an easy “yes” on the stack.

The Echo Effect by John McGuire

The book starts with our protagonist going suddenly from New Year’s on a Mars mission to waking up back at home with everything changing and a loss of memory of what his “real life” is. After some confusing back-and-forth with his partner, he encounters someone who seems to know too much about what’s going on. It feels a little bit like a time loop, a little bit like an interesting mystery. I’m hooked. At this point, I could feel this needed to get onto the list for a “yes” (more on that later).

The Coldsuit by Andy Wright

A young human man has to deal with the fact that he is human and effectively used as slave labor by some aliens while also trying to reconcile that with his alien “family.” It’s a decent premise, but it seems to throw too much at the reader all at once. Is it a dystopia? A utopia gone wrong? Are we supposed to empathize with the aliens or hate them? The aliens seem nefarious, for sure, and the “coldsuit” people are a wild card factor as well. Nothing seems terribly clear at 15%, and while it’s not bad, I’m not totally sold on it at this point. I give it a “maybe.”

Round 1 Status

I’ve sampled at least 10% of all 31 books my group has ben assigned. I’m now at 11 yes [revised because after reading further in a different book, it’s going to be a “no” instead of a “yes”], 11 no, and 9 maybes. I have too many ‘yes’ reads, and too many ‘maybes’ that are calling to me. To resolve this issue, I’m going to start a Battle Royale of the maybes vs. some of the “yes” books that I wasn’t 100% all in on. My next post will be a list of the books I am 100% sure on continuing. Then, I’ll be having at least 2 battle royale matches in which I read the entirety of some of the maybes and “yes” books to determine the final slots. Buckle up, because it’s going to be some great reading!

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!

All links to Amazon are affiliates.


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.

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One thought on “SPSFC Round 1, Part 10: Self-Published Science Fiction Contest Reading

  1. […] 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. […]

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