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 Round 1, Part 2: 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!

Edge of the Breach by Halo Scot

Ever read a book that is well-written and even engrossing but also turns you off based on the world? That’s kind of how I felt through the first 20% of this one. The world is honestly depressing. I enjoy my share of grimdark–I’m a huge fan of Warhammer 40K, for example–but this just felt relentless in a feeling of hopelessness and even anger. The main character is like wandering around in a future Earth that was literally turned upside down by apocalyptic war. He’s traveling with his mom, who hates him and they talk about how they want him dead a bunch. It’s relentlessly dark almost to the level of being a caricature. I honestly am guessing some of the other reviewers may vote for this one to be one we finish because it reads as some quality writing, and I’ll read it if it comes to that. For now my vote is against it. It’s too sad.

Dragon’s Baby by Miranda Martin

I’ll be honest up front: romance is just not my genre. Don’t get me long, I enjoy romantic connections between characters and enjoy many classics that might be called “romance,” in a sense, but the genre that is largely considered “romance” now is just not my cup of tea. I decided to give Dragon’s Baby a fair go, and read 30% of it instead of the 10-20% we’re committed to for each book before moving on. I was surprised because it didn’t really seem like anything happened… at all. Like, there’s some space dragon guy with multiple man-parts who is sad or something, and there’s some women over in this other part of the universe who are joking about guys and that’s… really about it. I almost want to keep going just to see if anything at all happens, but this just isn’t my style.

This Blue Ball by Wayne V. Miller

The award for the most minimalistic cover goes to… this book! I don’t dislike minimalism, though. As of my look at this book, it has no reviews on either Amazon or Goodreads. That certainly makes it feel like among the most indie of the indie titles we have in this contest. The story is told through a series of “weblog” entries as a kind of found story. The main character of these weblogs is… not a very good person as far as I can tell. There’s some subtle racist and sexist tones here, but I can’t tell if the author is critiquing them or not. The guy writing the weblog isn’t the most likable, but the story is intriguing to me. I can’t decide if it’s a yes or no yet so I’m putting it on my maybe stack.

Round 1 Status

I’ve now dipped my toes into 6 out of 31 books, with tons more to go. I need to eliminate 2/3 books every time, and this part of round 1 has me with one maybe out of 3. So far, that means I have 2 yes, 3 no, and a maybe! 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.

SPSFC Round 1: 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 Combat Codes by Alexander Darwin

First off, this book has a great cover, with hints of anime/manga mecha combat. I figured this one would be right up my alley. The author graciously provided an audio copy of the book, so I dove in to listening as I folded an embarassing amount of laundry on my day off.

So far, the book definitely seems like it’s in my wheelhouse. It’s the story of a kid with an uncertain background working his way through a cutthroat fighting (martial arts) school in a future (maybe?) in which the fights settle wars or conflicts before they break out… or something. There’s a lot of worldbuilding to happen yet, but it thrust me as a reader right into the action while also giving an intriguing glimpse of a bigger world. I’ll be listening to this whole thing, most likely before we even give it the rubber stamp to continue to the next round.

I should note, too, because this matters: I think the reader does a fantastic job. Fair warning: I always listen to books at 2x speed, so my judgment is based on that.

Wherever Seeds May Fall by Peter Cawdron

I was grabbed by this one the moment I started reading it. It’s got elements of hard sci-fi and first contact, and those are two of my favorite sub-genres. The opening is a good scene, in my opinion, too: it’s a domestic scene as two couples start to chat during dinner, a NASA transmission that one of them is desperately trying to watch on in the background. As they finally settle in and watch, the unexpected nature of the way the comet/asteroid bounces leads to more questions, and those set the stage for the rest of the novel.

I was sucked into this one from the get-go, and I’m now 24% into this book, despite round 1 being “read 10-20%”! Cawdron threw some extremely relevant present day stuff into this novel, and that has me wanting to see where he’s going to take it.

Turnabout by Carmen Webster Buxton

I’m going to file this under “not my type of book.” It uses the term “harem” in one description and the first 20% feels like intense teen-ish drama with a bit of forced action mixed in. Not my style, though I suspect it is for some–if that’s what you enjoy, check it out!

Round 1 Status

I’ve now dipped my toes into 3 out of 31 books, with tons more to go. With two of these three on my “yes” list, I am hoping I won’t have to get too crazy and circle back and uncheck any yes boxes later. 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.

The Self-Published Science Fiction Contest is on Eclectic Theist!

I’m happy to announce that this blog, Eclectic Theist, is part of the Self-Published Science Fiction Contest! What does that mean? Well, it means I’m part of a team of judges that will be filtering through 30-some self-published science fiction novels, narrowing it down to some amount of novels to read, picking some semi-finalists, and ultimately helping to decide an overall winner of the best science fiction novel out of over 300 entrants! I’m thrilled to be part of this! Readers of this blog know I’m enthusiastic about indie publishing. I’m actually just enthusiastic about books in general, however they’re published. But indie publishing and self-publishing allows even more avenues for authors to get their books in the hands of readers.

I’ll be reviewing as many books from my group’s novels as I can, along with reviewing semi-finalists from other groups. I can’t wait to continue this epic journey and I hope not only to find some new great reads for me, but also to lead you to some new reads and authors as well.

For now, whet your appetite by reading all my Indie Highlight posts on science fiction over at my Science Fiction Hub!