SPSFC Round 1, Part 9: 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!

Infinite by Jeremy Robinson

Wake up, die, repeat? Infinite has an intriguing premise that combines a number of sci-fi subgenres. Will, our protagonist, wakes up after a botched cold sleep to find himself killed but immortal? Is it a time loop? Is it something else? I don’t know yet, at 15% in. I liked the concept, but didn’t find myself sinking into the main character because it read a bit too much like fantasy fulfillment to me. I truly found the main character off-putting, which made me feel standoffish from the beginning of the book. It’s a no from me.

Of Cinder and Bone by Kyoko M.

There are all kind of vibes from this novel that I enjoyed from the get-go. It has a very light hard sci-fi touch (I don’t know if the science-y portions get more science-y later, but for now it’s basically just a line or two about concepts) with a sprinkling of Jurassic Park and the great character interactions of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. I was immediately drawn into the characters and their interactions with each other. They each showed more depth than I thought they may have at the beginning, and the main plot is off to a strong start. There’s a little bit of made up archaeology, a bit of science fantasy, and a bunch of fun so far. I’m looking forward to reading more of this one, and it’s going on my “yes” stack.

Petra: The Prison World Revolt, Book One by Matthew S. Rotundo

I’m not really sure what I expected here. The subtitle is enough to reveal the basics. I guess I was expecting a kind of campy 50s-60s style sci-fi adventure. What the first 20% showed me is that was not an accurate assumption. The story takes itself far more seriously than that, and I’m not convinced that’s a good thing. What is a plus is that Rotundo amps up the action fairly quickly, making it easier to get into the flow of the plot. As it stands, this one feels like a “not for me” story, but I’m not saying it’s not a good book. If you like action-packed adventures in space, it’s probably worth a look.

Round 1 Status

I’ve now dipped my toes into 27 out of 31 books. I’m now at 9 yes [revised because after reading further in a different book, it’s going to be a “no” instead of a “yes”], 10 no, and 8 maybes. With 4 books left, it’s clear I’ll need to do some re-shuffling. Some of those maybes are calling to me. Once I’ve finished my initial rankings, I’ll start reading a few books completely from both the yes and maybe piles. That will tighten up which ones are true “yes” books for me. For now, off to start those last 4.

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.

Links

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.

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!

SDG.

SPSFC Round 1, Part 8: 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!

The Eye of the Storm by R. K. King

Mad Max crossed with some kind of “Titan A.E.” or Star Trek: Deep Space Nine vibes is what I’d call this one. The I only read 10% of this one because I basically immediately knew it was going to be on the yes pile for me. It feels lazy to just throw a bunch of comparisons around to describe a book, so here’s the elevator pitch: in the [our?] future, humans are surviving in different clans as they race across a scorched landscape trying to gather resources in the middle of a huge storm. The story slows down after the action-packed intro scene, with a younger generation trying to navigate the divided loyalties of clan and humanity. I’m excited to dive more deeply, and if my group doesn’t make this one of our books to read the whole thing, I will still be reading it all myself.

Skybound by Lou Iovino

What would happen if Earth stopped spinning? That’s the single-sentence description for the premise of Skybound, which features one of my favorite simplistic covers for our group’s books. At 12% in, it seems a hard sci-fi read, and I’ve confessed my love for hard sci-fi before. On the flip side, I’m not sure the catastrophic impact of the Earth stopping its rotation or movement is as disastrous as it ought to be. However, a couple strong character pieces got me into the story of this one, such that I think it’s worth delving more deeply into. It’s on the “Yes” stack.

The Lore of Prometheus by Graham Austin-King

Another fabulous cover here, in my opinion. This seems to be a kind of urban fantasy, possibly with hints of superpowers? It’s not clear if it’s going to shape up as a superhero novel or stick to straight urban fantasy. In the latter case, it doesn’t quite meet the criteria for the contest. In the former, I wish it were more clear. It reads like a little bit of mafia-type background, as well. I am intrigued, so this one is going to the ever-growing “maybe” stack.

Round 1 Status

I’ve now dipped my toes into 24 out of 31 books. I’m now at 9 yes, 7 no, and 8 maybes. It’s becoming more and more clear my “yes” list is going to be too bloated, and some of those maybes are calling to me, too. I’m going to have to be doing some extra-curricular reading on the side. I have 7 books left to sample, with only 1 for sure yes spot left. I do know at least one “yes” that I am going to flip to a “no” based on some later reading, so these numbers will change. For now, I’m enjoying the ride. 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.

Links

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.

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!

SDG.

My Read-Through of the Hugos: 1975

I’m a huge science fiction fan, and, having read a list of what are alleged to be the top 200 science fiction novels, I decided to next tackle a read-through of all the Hugo Award winners and nominees for best novel. Let me know your thoughts and favorites. I’ve marked the winner as well as my own choice for which novel would win, had I the choice among the nominees. I’ve also dropped a short reflection on the year’s Hugo list at the end.

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin (Winner, My Winner)- Grade: A+
Ursula K. Le Guin sketches out a remarkably detailed anarchist society, while pitting its pseudo-utopian problems alongside problems with capitalism and socialism. It’s really well done and incredibly deep. At no point does it seem like the society is merely a foil, except perhaps at times when questions of sexual relations is concerned. Even there, though, Le Guin has in-universe reasons for what is happening and ties it all into her detailed world-building. She also explores the question of how much our upbringing can cloud our thoughts regarding being self-critical and analyzing our own views. Why not the highest possible score? Because other than the main character, an intriguing scientist with a good amount of depth, every other character is exactly what you might expect. They’re created purely for the sake of the plot, but the plot is so intriguing that you don’t end up minding it as much as you probably should. So even the somewhat uneven characterization doesn’t take away from the glory of this novel. It certainly must stand as among the best science fiction novels ever written.

Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick- Grade: C-
Can there please, please be one Philip K. Dick novel where the answer to everything is not “drugs did it”? [Yes, I know there is more than one. But come on.] I saw the “twists” in this novel coming from miles away. I saw the main reveal coming from the beginning of the book. Dick was capable of creating mind-bending plot threads, and this one was no different. Waking up going from famous to a nobody isn’t the most original idea, but Dick’s writing is capable at even the worst, and he had me hooked fairly early on. However, delving deeper and deeper into the book made me think, “Wow, I hope this doesn’t end up as another ‘The answer is drugs’ when the big reveal hits.” Well, sure enough, it is. And that basically sucked all of my enjoyment from the novel. It’s fine. I guess.

The Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle Grade: A-
The authors created a unique first-contact story that I enjoyed immensely. Plenty of twists and strangeness mixed in. It conveys a sense of the strangeness of the alien that isn’t always found in first contact books. They truly do feel ‘other’ in a way that authors don’t always manage to capture with aliens. That’s probably the greatest strength of this novel, and the one that kept me coming back. The aliens are just so much fun to figure out, and the way the humans slowly find out more about them is written such that it is rewarding to keep peeling back the layers. The central conflict surrounding how to deal with the different alien types and the revelations that come with that are intriguing. Quite well done.

Inverted World by Christopher Priest Grade: A
When I write book reviews, I try to avoid words that I think get overutilized in book blurbs or endorsements. One of those words is “engrossing.” But I have to say, Inverted World could best be described as “engrossing.” From start to finish, it is a spellbinding tale that adds complexity nearly every time you turn a page. I thought at multiple points I had figured out the twist for the novel, only to have another puzzle thrown at me that I could not explain. Ultimately, Inverted World is about how we perceive–or refuse to perceive–the world around us. Will we be like Helward, refusing to see reality even as it is shown to us? Or will we be open-minded enough to allow our perceptions to be mistaken? Or do our perceptions confine us to reality in ways we might not anticipate? Priest made me think of all these possibilities while captivating me with his world-building. If there is a flaw in the novel, it’s that almost no one besides Helward is of any interest. Even Eliabeth, introduced late in the novel, has little to offer by way of development. But this is a book that forces you to think about the world after reading it, and I tend to think those are the best kind of novel to read.

Fire Time by Poul Anderson Grade: C-
My overall impression of Poul Anderson is that he comes up with great ideas but doesn’t flesh them out or execute them as well as I’d like. Fire Time is a prime example of that. The premise has a hard sci-fi bend: a planet’s interaction with its three stars cause a “Fire Time,” which is an incredibly hot time every thousand years as the planet approaches one star in particular. Of course, tons of mythos has sprung up around this time, and adding humans into the mix of aliens causes additional avenues for conflict. The conflict itself could be an analogue for a real world conflict, as well. Somehow this promising premise gets reduced to a few vignettes of characters who aren’t terribly interesting. After the first 10% or so, it quickly becomes a tedious read that rides its premise along for the latter portions without any other reason to continue. At no point did any of the characters grab me and bring me along. I just kept hoping for more.

1975- As a follow up to a somewhat disappointing 1974, this year was fantastic. The winner, The Dispossessed, is unquestionably one of the greatest works of science fiction ever written. It stands up under multiple re-reads and continues to find depths to explore each time. The obligatory PKD and Anderson books are there, and if you’re fan of their styles, you probably will like them more than I did. PKD, in particular, is very hit or miss for me. Rounding out the year are two other fantastic reads that are radically different. Inverted World is an absolute mind-bender of a novel from the magnificent Christopher Priest, while The Mote… is a fabulous first contact novel. It’s just a great year for the Hugos with a superb collection of works.

Links

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.

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!

SDG.

SPSFC Round 1, Part 6: 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!

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!

Links

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.

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!

SDG.

Reading the Horus Heresy, Book 16: “Age of Darkness”

I know I’m late to the party, but I finally decided to start reading the “Horus Heresy,” a huge series of novels set in the universe of Warhammer 40,000 (though it is set much earlier than the year 40,000). I thought it would be awesome to blog the series as I go. With more than 50 novels and many, many short stories, there will be a lot of posts in this series (I doubt I’ll get to all the short stories). I’m reading the series in publication order unless otherwise noted. There will be SPOILERS from the books discussed as well as previous books in the series. Please DO NOT SPOIL later books in the series.

Age of Darkness by various authors

Age of Darkness is another collection of short stories in the Horus Heresy line. Like the others, it delivers a collection of stories that provide background to the various conflicts breaking out along with the occasional character piece. For this review, I’ll write briefly about each individual story before posting an overall impression at the end.

Rules of Engagement by Graham McNeill

I loved this story that pitted the Ultramarines’ commitment to their Primarch with his own, in person teaching on how to fight a battle. The Ultramarines are not nearly as boring as I thought they might be.

Liars Due by James Swallow

Lots of buildup that mostly just shows how planets outside big realms of influence might react to the heresy. A decent read with some good intrigue.

Forgotten Sons by Nick Kyme

A seriously action packed novelette about trying to sway a planet’s loyalty towards Horus or the Emperor. I liked how this shows the challenges faced by planets that could be torn apart by conflict.

The Last Remembrancer by John French

Layers of trust are wiped away in this intriguing short story about a remembrancer telling the Iron Fists about Horus. The payoff isn’t as strong as I hoped, but it’s okay.

Rebirth by Chris Wraight

The Thousand Sons are turning into my favorite of the traitor legions, and this short story just solidified that even more. It’s got enough layers in it to make it interesting throughout, and the ending, which apparently reverberates in larger WH40K lore, was great.

The Face of Treachery by Gav Thorpe

A huge battle has its tide turned by betrayal. I loved this one for both its action and the tight plotting Thorpe gave it.

Little Horus by Dan Abnett

Little Horus leads the Sons of Horus in battle and effectively springs a trap intended for Horus himself. It’s got tons of action and great plotting, as is typical of Abnett. A very good read.

The Iron Within by Rob Sanders

Big action with Titans is one of my favorite things about the Warhammer universe, and this short story delivers on that. It’s not as thoughtful as some of the others in the collection, but makes up for it in cool vistas and solid action scenes.

Savage Weapons by Aaron Dembski-Bowden

A surprisingly tight-knit scene is the core of this story, but that scene is set for a clash between Primarchs. It’s got tons of great action and certainly seems to loom larger than the short story itself.

Overall Thoughts

I greatly enjoyed Age of Darkness. Every single story included was well done, with some standouts mixed in to an overall great collection. To me, these short stories help prove a point I’ve made several times in my reviews of the series: a lot of the novels would make better short stories. Too often, there is excess fluff that keeps readers away from the action or plot. In these short stories, we don’t encounter that issue. One problem that did arise is that I was listening to this as an audiobook on Audible. I have listened to a few of the Primarchs novels as well, and they all have the same issue this collection did: the sound balancing is terrible. The readers shout, whisper, etc. and do it all to the point where I find myself constantly having to adjust the volume as I listen to it on the go. It’s quite annoying, to be honest. The readers do a good job, but all of these audiobooks could do with much, much better sound balancing, so that as a listener I’m not straining to hear one moment and then having my eardrums pummeled the next.

Age of Darkness is a great collection that should not be skipped. There’s a lot here that fills in details of previous and future conflicts, along with great character building throughout. I definitely recommend the collection.

(All Links to Amazon are Affilliates.)

Links

Horus Heresy and Warhammer/40K Hub– All my posts on the Horus Heresy, as well as books throughout the Warhammer and 40K universe can be found here.

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

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!

SDG.

SPSFC Round 1, Part 5: 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!

Detonation by Erik A. Otto

I don’t know what to make of this book. I read the first 15% and I just genuinely don’t understand where it’s going. It seems like it’s a kind of pastoral setting for a post-nuclear holocaust, but the action ramps up almost too quickly. I wasn’t able to get my feet under me on the new set of characters before they got thrown into intense peril and everything was happening at once. It looks like it could shape up into an interesting post-apocalyptic novel and does remind me a bit of Leigh Brackett’s The Long Tomorrow in that sense. I’m not sure where to go from here. I may read more of it myself. It’s a maybe.

The Trellis by Jools Cantor

I’ll admit it; I’m a sucker for the combination of science fiction and mystery. Here, Jools Cantor sets up an intriguing future with self-driving taxi systems, late stage capitalism, and more surrounding a murder mystery. There seem to be two primary plot threads: one, being a young woman seeking a job amidst corporate surveillance of the highest sort. Legitimately, the scenes with her make me think about how plausible and scary the future Cantor creates in this book is. The other scenes follow the future of detective work, and it’s bleak. I love this novel’s first 10%, and I am definitely putting this as a firm “yes.”

Golden Crunk of Cringle Ken Rudisill

A brother-sister pair are stowaways on a spaceship and go to steal various things on board. Lots of sexual fantasies, no small amount of what I took as sexist or homosexual language or use of terms, and even some jokes about incest started off the novel. I just don’t really get where it’s going at all apart from some artifact that sets off sexual fantasies or something, and it doesn’t feel compelling to me. This one is a no.

Round 1 Status

I’ve now dipped my toes into 15 out of 31 books. I’m now at 4 yes, 6 no, and 5 maybes. I’m definitely going to need to circle back to my “maybes” and revise that list down quite a bit. 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!

Links

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.

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!

SDG.

SPSFC Round 1, Part 4: 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!

Above the Sky by J.W. Lynne

First of all, J.W. Lynne shares a great name with yours truly, who has gone by J.W. his whole life. Lynne is a woman, and her writing rocks. More on that now! Second of all, this book’s description makes it sound possibly derivative–shades of The Hunger Games and Divergent and we’ve already gotten about a million of these copycat books, right? Yes, we do, but Above the Sky grabbed me at the beginning with some great characterization and, more importantly, an intriguing overhanging threat that is alluded to from the beginning of the story–something that is above the sky. As the teens deal with Ender’s Game like scenarios, that lingering threat looms in the reader’s head. What exactly is “Above the Sky”? I don’t know, but I can tell you right now I’ll have this on my yes list because I want to find out.

Banneker Bones and the Giant Robot Bees by Rob Kent

Other readers in my group noted that this one seems aimed towards a younger age group. That is a disqualification based on our rules, but we in the group were also interested enough to investigate by reading to see if that was the case. I’ve enjoyed quite a bit of juvenile fiction as an adult, and Banneker Bones and the Giant Robot Bees does read like an enjoyable romp. It’s on the “no” list because of the contest rules, but readers who enjoy (intentionally) silly robot stories and juvenile fiction should check it out.

World of Difference by WJ Donovan

So close to having two people with the same initials as myself in one book contest! That would have been awesome. WJ was a nickname I had in grade school, though. Anyway, I am guessing readers are more interested in the contents of the book than my musings about people’s names, so here goes. At 11% in, I’m not sure what to make of this novel. There are a lot of character threads being introduced and it’s a bit hard to get my legs under myself as it goes. On the flip side, there’s enough action and intrigue here–and weird technology combined with today’s technology–to make a mashup of interesting that makes me want to keep going. I’m going to push my read of it to 20% and make a decision then, but I’m thinking this is a firm maybe right now.

Round 1 Status

I’ve now dipped my toes into 12 out of 31 books. I’m now at 3 yes, 5 no, and 4 maybes. That “maybes” list is going to have to get cut down for me at some point, but I don’t want to think about that right now. 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!

Links

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.

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!

SDG.

SPSFC Round 1, Part 3: 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!

Things They Buried by Amanda K. King and Michael R. Swanson

Kids are disappearing, and only a few people are paying attention. Things They Buried sucked me in with it’s intriguing world-building but left me a little confused about its direction and tone. I read 23% of this one so far, and I am enjoying it. It’s got a sense of lost-ness and bewilderment at times that is almost as unsettling as some of the horror-ish elements. I’m not really sure how to categorize this one, either. Science fantasy seems accurate, but how much of the fantasy elements are really science? I don’t know. I’m interested enough to read more, though this remains a maybe for me.

Zenith: The Interscission Project Book One by Arshad Ahsanuddin

I’m not really sure what to make of this one. The cover had me thinking far future, but the story itself seems like it could be happening today. The premise is some kind of group of corporations is working together to try to get technology to travel between stars. The problem is finding a crew willing to risk their lives on an unproven technology. At 20%, not much has happened, and I don’t think it’s making the cut for me.

The Jagged Edge by AJ Frazer

Frazer’s book reads like a thriller more than sci-fi, but it’s got traces there, too. I am not sure what to make of it at 20% in. Shadowy insinuations about eco-terrorism and the possibility of changing the ecology as well as environment are starting to appear, but the bulk of the story so far is some rich guy having fun climbing mountains and having sex. It seems like the story is just about to take off, which has me interested, but also at 1/5 into the book, I lean towards thinking I should be more invested. This one sits firmly in the “maybe” category for me.

Round 1 Status

I’ve at least sampled 9 out of 31 books. I need to eliminate 2/3 books every time, and this part of round 1 has me with one maybe and one yes. So far, that means I have 2 yes, 4 no, and 3 maybes. See my previous posts in this series to read my other sample thoughts. 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!

Links

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.

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!

SDG.

SPSFC Book Review: “Wherever Seeds May Fall” by Peter Cawdron

The Self-Published Science Fiction Contest is well underway, and I’m bringing you reviews as I finish books.

There will be some minor spoilers in my reviews.

Wherever Seeds May Fall by Peter Cawdron

There’s an object in space, but it’s behaving in a way suggests more than it just being an asteroid. As the evidence becomes more and clear that there’s more than meets the eye, people on Earth race to do the math, figure out what’s happening, and manage the political consequences of whatever news they come up with.

It’s a pretty fantastic premise, though it’s been done before. What makes Cawdron’s work stand out is a combination of great characterization, contemporary issues, and adept use of science and action to keep the plot moving.

Cawdron introduces a number of very contemporary issues in the novel. One character is a full-on conspiracy theorist with a huge platform for spreading misinformation. But Cawdron gives even this character development, so that even what could turn into a caricature has more dimensions than may initially seem. Other characters get development throughout the book, but largely are there to help push the plot along. That said, they all have clear personalities and are well-written.

There’s science in this book–and as far as I can tell as a lay person, it’s pretty accurate. There are even a few illustrations throughout the novel showing how the object might be impacted by various bodies in our solar system. I’m a huge fan of hard sci-fi, and so I ate this all up. It’s quite well done.

Wherever Seeds May Fall was the first book I started reading for the SPSFC and I gotta say that for me it’s a frontrunner to win the contest. Have you read it, and if so, what do you think?

All Links to Amazon are Affiliates

Links

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.

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!

SDG.