Welcome back to the SPSFC! As we read through our thirty allotted books in search of three to send through to the next round, we sadly must bid farewell to the majority. At this stage in the competition, we are making initial judgements based on the first 20% of each book. It is entirely possible that our complaints are addressed in the following 80%. If a book strikes your fancy, we encourage you to pick it up and judge for yourself. For now though, we can reveal the third batch of four books that will be removed from the competition.
Sand Runner, by Vera Brook
The Premise: Kaiden Reed is going to enter the Race, a competition that can change his life for the better, if he can only endure the pain for long enough.
The Verdict: This book ran into the same problem that befell a few others in the competition. It’s very much a Young Adult novel, with all the tropes you’d expect, and it simply wasn’t the sort of book our judges were hoping to find. Fans of YA are likely to get a kick out of it.
Personal Thoughts: I can count on one hand the number of YA series I’m still keeping up with. While Sand Runner is a good example of the genre, it didn’t offer me anything I haven’t seen before.
Rhonday Wray: Raptor Wranger by Charon Dunn and Sally Smith
The Premise: Trapped on a planet inhabited only by Dinosaurs, a young girl must fend for herself.
The Verdict: Who doesn’t like dinosaurs? From six-year old boys to Victorian ladies, everyone loves dinosaurs. But this is another book clearly aimed at a younger demographic than our judges, and not even the interesting dinosaurs could keep it in the competition.
Personal Thoughts: Like everyone else, I was a big fan of dinosaurs growing up, and this book captures the joy of the thunder lizards. But I am well past the age when this book was for me. It’s probably the most juvenile book in the competition, but would be a great access point to the genre for younger readers. Also, science fiction needs more dinosaurs. That’s just a fact.
Melody, by David Hoffer
The Premise: Following childhood trauma, one man loses everything in his search for the truth
The Verdict: Our judges found this a difficult book to get into for two reasons. First is the jarring changes between 1st and 3rd person perspectives, which made for difficult reading. This was also a much darker book than our judges expected, almost immediately featuring child deaths and (at best) conversion therapy practices.
Personal Thoughts: Very few books can pull of a change of perspectives, and this isn’t one of them. For me, the darker aspects of the book weren’t off-putting as such, but they did feel unjustified by the story. Perhaps this changes later on, but Melody certainly isn’t light reading.
The Boy Who Walked Too Far, by Dom Watson
The Premise: In a universe gone mad, one man must solve a most unusual murder.
The Verdict: As fans of the weird and unusual, this is one our judges had been looking forward too. Ultimately, while one of us loved it and intends to read on in their own time, the others found it too difficult to connect to. Perhaps too weird for its own good, we must bid a sad farewell to The Boy Who Walked Too Far.
Personal Thoughts: In complete honesty, I did not understand a single page of this book. I don’t know when or where it is set, or how any of the plot fits together. Weird fiction can be strangely charming, or it can be absolutely impenetrable. For me, this book falls into the latter category.
Commiserations to those who didn’t make it, and we hope you find readers better suited to your books than us. We’ll be back to announce the next round of cuts very soon, but for now, you can find the full list of At Boundary’s Edge’s books by clicking this link.