SPSFC2 First Impressions: “Intelligence Block,” “The Treasure of Lor-Rev,” and “In Times of Peace”

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!

Intelligence Block by Kit Falbo

The first 10% of Intelligence Block is largely made up of a tech wizard at a birthday party. It’s silly, delightful, and charming. It’s got shades of LitRPG and cyberpunk. I was a fan of the main character, the Wizard Joontal. It’s possible that his introspective narrative style and lofty self-opinion may become grating, but for now I found it genuinely endearing. I’m on board to see what happens with Joontal, what kind of wrinkles Falbo might introduce to the world, and what’s going on with the tech/magic. It’s a yes.

The Treasure of Lor-Rev by Bryan Asher

An explorer finds a high-tech artifact but doesn’t realize just how important it is. I am all about future archaeology. It’s honestly one of my favorite things in sci-fi. Here, I was excited to see a favorite trope utilized. I didn’t find the way information kept getting fed to the reader to be the way I’d prefer. It felt more like several info dumps than like a naturally evolving story. The world itself has a lot going for it, and it feels like there’s potential for a huge story building behind the scenes. There just wasn’t enough in the nuts and bolts for me to advance this one on my list. It’s a no.

In Times of Peace by The Loneliest Lone Wolf

I read 15% of this and honestly I’m very confused. What, exactly, is it? Characters are introduced as they show up with comic book-like pictures and quick description placards. The first portion of the novel reads like it’s all set up for those very cards. It’s a jarring way of presenting the story. And what’s there so far doesn’t grab me like I’d hope it would. I think the book has potential as a kind of comic book presentation of a big story, but I didn’t find the substance behind the style enough to grab me. It’s a no.


This is an intriguing batch of books. Each has a lot of potential. Unfortunately, it’s the nature of this contest that not every book can make it and even some good books may not make it farther. Both books I said “no” to had aspects that made me think about continuing, but neither had enough in the portion we sampled to make me want to definitively say yes and potentially kick off another book I’ve said “yes” to. Readers looking for indie books should check out any of these three, though!

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The Self-Published Science Fiction Contest (SPSFC) Hub– Check out all of my posts related to the SPSFC 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!


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