Hello, ghouls, gals, and non-binary pals.
Following yesterday’s announcement of our top 10 quarterfinalists, we are excited to bring you Team 7’s top 3 semifinalists advancing to round two of the Self-Published Science-Fiction Competition (SPSFC)!
These semifinalists will now fly freely into the hands of the other teams and will be getting full-length reviews from our team throughout the upcoming week.
Not sure what SPSFC is yet? Read more about this competition, co-hosted by Hugh Howey (author of the Silo series) and Duncan Swan (author of Monstre), on Hugh’s announcement post or by visiting the SPSFC’s official website.
300 books, 10 teams, 1 winner. That’s the baseline of SPSFC, a competition spotlighting the self-published gems of the science-fiction genre.
Our judges joined the competition for the love of the genre and admiration for the blood, sweat, and tears of self-publishing. Avid readers and lovers of both, we jumped on the chance to join the first annual SPSFC.
We want to thank every author who ended up in our batch as well as all others who joined the competition and whose works we have yet to read. To all authors paying close attention to our batch, it’s been an absolute joy reading your work.
Although reviews aren’t required for any books other than the semifinalists, you can expect to see reviews from me (Arina), for at least the quarterfinalist here on the Asylum. Hopefully, I can extend that to all 30 books in our batch. I hope writing about my personal feelings (not the team’s, mind you) on each book will be helpful to authors in any capacity!
Unfortunately, the competition must have its due. And at the end of round one, there can only be three…
Iron Truth by S.A. Tholin
When miners on a remote colony dig too deep, the golden age of space exploration comes to a bloody end. A corruption springs from Xanthe’s alien soil, possessing every mind it touches.
Embroiled in civil war, the galactic community spirals into panic, and the Primaterre Protectorate seizes control. In order to preserve Earth, its surface is quarantined, and all further deep space colonisation is outlawed.
Aboard one of the last colony ships, junior botanist Joy Somerset slumbers in cryostasis, unaware of war and corruption. Expecting the clear skies of a garden world, she instead wakes stranded on Cato – a planet whose menacing sands seem to share a hunger with the crazed locals – and Joy faces mortal peril at every turn.
Commander Cassimer, troubled by a past of epic proportions, is a Primaterre veteran dedicated to fighting the corruption. Now he leads Scathach Banneret Company’s elite strike team on a mission to recover a clandestine starship lost on Cato. On this storm-lashed world, surrounded by shadow and ruin, Cassimer risks not only failure, but the loss of what little sanity he has.
Joy and Cassimer must trust each other long enough to uncover Cato’s dark secrets, and work together to survive deranged cultists, terrorist rebels and the IRON TRUTH.
Steel Guardian by Cameron Coral
Can a gentle robot win the fight for humanity’s last hope?
Before the Robot Uprising, Block the CleanerBot dutifully followed his programming as part of a hotel cleaning crew. Now in the aftermath of the AI Apocalypse that annihilated the world, he tries to simply do his job, avoiding the dangerous SoldierBots who wage war on the last human survivors.
But when Block discovers a human infant, his surprise attachment to the girl compels him to protect her while traveling across the metal infested wastelands of America to a safe haven. Without his help, the abandoned baby could die before they reach safety. When he encounters Nova – a surly soldier who becomes an unlikely ally – they must tackle the biggest challenge of their lives.
Together, they face mortal danger from bands of scavengers, militaristic SoldierBots, and Combat Mechs. A cyborg Bounty Hunter will stop at nothing to find Block and the child – an infant who holds the key to humanity’s future.
If you enjoy robots with a heart like WALL-E plus the action-packed adventure of The Mandalorian, then you’ll love the first book of this thrilling post-apocalyptic sci-fi series.
ARvekt by Craig Lea Gordon
Will the battle for humanity be fought in reality? Or in her mind?
Tannis Ord is a black-ops cyborg assassin. A highly-trained human-weapon, dedicated to hunting down the last of the brain hacking syndicates. There’s just one problem…
Her mind was broken from a psychotic episode. Neural programming erased her trauma, gave her a fresh start. But when an old brain hacker cult resurfaces, and a sentient AI is set to govern the entire human population, she starts seeing things. Horrors that can’t possibly be real… that make no sense… that only she can see.
Ix, their AI Guardian, is abducting innocent citizens from the streets in broad daylight. And it’s using the Augmented Reality it has thrown over the world as cover. Is the AI hellbent on humanity’s destruction? Or is her mind tearing itself apart again?
Congratulations to Team 7’s top 3! And for those not featured in this post, we want to congratulate you on joining SPSFC and putting your work in the hands of readers. Whether you advanced forward into the competition or not, we hope to see more of you.
Here at the Asylum, we’re always happy to spotlight self-published/indie authors. We have an upcoming interview series featuring SPSFC authors, so if you’d like to get in on that, or be hosted on the blog in any way, hit me up via the email in my carrd page.
To all readers following the competition along, we strongly advise you to pick up all the books we’ve spotlighted so far and discover for yourself the scope of self-published sci-fi!