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 fifth batch of books that will be removed from the competition.
The Shift, by Mihai Pruna
The Premise: When Earth is shifted into another dimension, it finds itself accompanied by other versions of the planet where history took a very different path.
The Verdict: This one had some interesting ideas, but for our judges the execution was lacking. Too many PoVs is a problem that’s come up a lot, and this is another example. Our judges also found the prose to be too basic.
Personal Thoughts: I quite like the idea behind this one. Parallel worlds aren’t used enough in books. But the alternate history presented is still one I’ve seen before. Coupled with some rather simplistic prose, and this one just didn’t work for me.
Tracker220, by Jamie Krakover
The Premise: In a word where the authorities track everybody through microchips, one young woman fights for freedom.
The Verdict: As with several other books in this competition, Tracker220 failed to find favour with our judges due to the young age of its protagonist. There was some debate over whether the book was aimed at a younger market than our judges, but ultimately the simple prose failed to engage us.
Personal Thoughts: Jewish cyberpunk was not something I expected to find in this competition, and it certainly offered a unique approach to the genre, and the interplay between religion and technology was an aspect that really worked for me. Unfortunately, character driven stories with young protagonists aren’t what I’m after any more.
Time Burrito, by Aaron Frale
The Premise: A man called Pete travels through time in search of the perfect burrito.
The Verdict: This is a book we talked about a lot, and it’s certainly one of the more unique entries in our allocation. Our judges enjoyed the fact that Pete’s goals are non-violent, but struggled with the comedy aspect of the book. Unfortunately, this long-form prose humour wasn’t a winner for our judges.
Personal Thoughts: I find written humour very difficult to get into. For me, comedy is all in the delivery, and on paper it all too often falls flat. And if the humour doesn’t work, a comedy novel is always going to be a miss.
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 very soon, but for now, you can find the full list of At Boundary’s Edge’s books by clicking this link.