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.

SPSFC Round 1, Part 7: 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!

Age of Order by Julian North

A dystopian story of classism gone to the extreme, I enjoyed the beginnings of Age of Order by Julian North. The characterization is there, and the plot grabbed me fairly early on. There’s a reason dystopian fiction is so popular–it engages with problems in the here and now in sometimes overt, sometimes subtle ways. This one seems like more of an overt look, but I’m not sure of the exact direction North is going to take it. There is classism taken to the extreme, and that has me interested. I want to know what’s going on enough to place this one on my “yes” stack.

Dog Country by Malcom F. Cross

This was my pick for the best cover on our team’s books. As for the content, we have a bunch of genetically engineered dogs put into battle in a kind of Forever War-esque setting. It takes some time to get going–at 10% I wasn’t sure I’d want to continue–but once it does, it is a much more thoughtful sci-fi story than I was expecting. I am only at 14% now, but I can already get the sense that this is going to be a powerful read. It’s on the yes stack.

The Revolution Will Be Tokenized by Christoph Brueck

The Revolution Will Be Tokenized is a kind of cyberpunk/dystopian mashup that thrusts readers into a refugee camp in Africa, where almost everything is a commodity or able to be stolen. I had a few problems with this one from the beginning, one of which is how casually rape is mentioned to one of the protagonists, who then shrugs it off. It just didn’t sit right with me. There are also a decent amount of grammatical errors or strange uses of terminology that put me off. I read 10% and I was forcing myself to continue. I put this one down as a “no.” Its Amazon ratings are pretty high, so maybe I’m an outlier here.

Round 1 Status

I’ve now dipped my toes into 21 out of 31 books. I’m now at 7 yes, 7 no, and 7 maybes. That “maybe” list is looming large compared to the number I’ll be able to allow on it. Let’s see how these last 10 books go. 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.

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 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.