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Preface for the SPSFC2 Finalist Round



The Last Gifts of the Universe, by Rory August

Those Left Behind, by N.C. Scrimgrour

Aestus, by S.Z. Atwell

Melody, by David Hoffer

Hammer and Crucible, by Cameron Cooper

Night Music, by Tobias Cabral

Percival Gynt and the Conspiracy of Days, by Drew Melbourne


As a member of Team Escapist, all opinions are my own and do not reflect those of other team members.


Coming into the finalist round, I have already read four of the seven books; three I read for the competition, and one that was read prior to SPSFC2. I have already posted reviews for; Those Left Behind, Melody and Night Music, which were all books I loved and gave high praise. It’s nice to see them doing, deservedly, well. Over the coming weeks, I’ll be posting reviews for the other four books.

Like the semi-finals, I will not post actual scores; leaving those for the final post from Team Escapist.

I’m looking forward to reading these three other books, and will confess, that I know nothing much about them except some other judges have given them high marks. So, I’m expecting some great reading.

I will be using the exact same criteria as before. Story structure is my utmost priority. Dystopian, humour, colonization, first contact, romance … doesn’t matter to me. I want to read a well thought-out, well plotted and paced, non-padded story that understands what the story is that it’s trying to tell. A story that encompasses all that a good book should have, and nothing else holding it back. A book that should live up to the title of SPSFC2 Winner.

I love characterization, and I love reading about new worlds and universes, but first and foremost, I want a story, not just world building and back story. Especially if it’s a first book in a series. Whether you need to set up all that or not, it should be incorporated into a story with a proper beginning, middle and end. I don’t want to do homework so I can enjoy the story that actually comes in the next book in the series.

I also believe that withholding information from a reader does not create suspense, but rather, frustration, if not handled well. Especially if that information is vaguely hinted at or used as a constant cliffhanger. And chapter breaks do serve a purpose. They don’t just start and stop where ‘it feels right’, nor are they a way to dump information on a reader that the author couldn’t find a way to incorporate into the story flow. Certain elements combined together make a chapter.

I also don’t think a book should be heavy handed with too much detail that has nothing to do with moving the story forward. For example, I don’t think pit-stops should be made to show day-to-day life or back stories of characters, that have nothing to do with the story. That’s not showing or creating deep, rich characters, that’s padding a word count. That’s, not knowing what to edit out of a story. That’s, not understanding pacing. That’s, not knowing what your ‘real’ story is. That’s, boring.

I don’t expect constant excitement, but a book should be continually interesting to the reader, not just the author- who is obviously in love with their own characters, world and settings.

At this point, based on my reading of four of these books, the actual writing itself will most likely be good. As in, the prose, wording, copy editing and flow will be top notch. So, fingers crossed, I won’t be looking too hard into that aspect of the writing. The four books I have already read, were, in this regard, well written.

So let the reading begin!


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