The Self-Published Science Fiction Contest (“SPACEFIC”) is underway, and my group is going through one of my favorite parts of the contest: sorting through a slush pile. Basically, we get a stack of books and need to sample them all to narrow down our selections for quarter- and semi-finalists. Here, I’ll be going over my first impressions of some of these books. Please note my “Yes,” “No,” or “Maybe” vote is only indicative of my opinion and may not reflect the opinion of our whole group. Since we advance books as a group, it’s possible a “Yes” from me may end up a “No” overall and vice versa. Let me know what you think of the books in the comments!
Tracker220 by Jamie Krakover
People have implanted devices that let them basically be walking repositories of information and neural networks connected with others. But Kaya questions the validity of the system as it prevents her family from Shabbat observance in the way they’d prefer. Moreover, her Tracker seems to have a glitch that lets her access anyone and anything. This sets her on the run from the authorities and throws her in with some members of a budding resistance community. The novel reads as a YA-aimed dystopia, and since that’s right in my alley, I had a blast reading and sampling this one. It’s a “yes” from me.
Qubit by Finn Mack
Quantum computers are the goal in this tightly paced (so far) techno-thriller by Finn Mack. A few different viewpoints offer ratcheting tension throughout the early stages of the book, and I was easily sold on the hard sci-fi/techno-thriller mashup. Some mathematics and made up science accompany some real science and mafia-esque action behind the scenes. I’m enjoying my time with Qubit and plan to finish it even if it doesn’t advance from our group. “Yes” from me, now excuse me while I keep reading.
Along the Perimeter by Steven Healt
A young man lives “along the perimeter” of a shield that keeps out a malevolent gas and raiders that threaten the last vestiges of humanity. An alien race paints itself as benevolent saviors of humanity–but are they, really? This atmospheric first entry in what’s to be a lengthy science fantasy epic had me thinking of some of my favorite epic fantasy novels for its world-building. The world really is the star of the novel, as layers are peeled back in interesting ways throughout. I actually read this book last SPSFC on a whim from another group’s slush pile, so I have a full review and even an author interview! As one might guess, this is a “Yes.”
One might notice I have 3 “yes” votes in this batch, and going with my previous two batches, I’m already at 6 “yes” votes. Maybe I say “yes” too easily, but the good news (or bad news) is that if we have too many “yes” votes we just do a ranked choice and the top votes move on! As always, I’d love to read your thoughts on these books. Let me know what you think in the comments.
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