Well, not a whole lot of self-published/indie writers took up the challenge. . . Not surprisingly, of course, but I believed that more writers would give this a shot.
A lot of people, in the business and outside of it, have been offering me their thoughts about this. Most of them have been trying to convince me to simply forget about this, that nothing good will come out of this, and that it's a total waste of my time. I'm not sure what's supposed to have happened in 2011 to allow indie authors to achieve respectability in the field, and no one seems aware of what it could be.
In light of all the comments from disgruntled Kindleboards users, everyone appears to agree that any vote held wouldn't be fair. It appears that the majority of my readers don't give a crap about my reviewing a self-published work. Which is understandable, given the quality titles awaiting my attention and for which they would like to see reviews. Hence, the vote would essentially be decided by the indie crowd, which is not what I envisioned.
Since I went public with this little challenge of mine, regardless of the fact that many of my readers have no interest in this, I can't back down now. So I'll go forward with my offer to read the first 100 pages of whichever self-published work that will be selected. But there won't be any vote involved.
After perusing the comment section, I came up with the five works that have piqued my curiosity the most:
- Glynn James' Diary of the Displaced
There is a place where nightmares are real. It is a dark and terrifying place, hidden from the world we know by borders that only the most unfortunate of souls will ever cross. James Halldon woke up in the dark, alone, without any food or water, without a clue where he was, and with no memory of where he came from. It only got stranger. James has somehow found his way to The Corridor, a midnight place that no human should ever see and the prison of a creature that has destroyed entire worlds. Somehow James has to learn to survive. But he is not alone. The lost souls of others who have drifted into The Corridor, and died, also haunt this world, and they have been waiting a long time for someone to come along. The Journal of James Halldon is a dark sci-fi novel that follows Halldon's struggle to survive whilst trying to understand the terrifying world in which he is trapped. If it's dark when you wake up, and you can hear growling, then close your eyes and maybe it will go away. But maybe it won't...
- J. Anne Huss' Fledge
Junco Coot can’t even remember her trip off Earth; she was too busy being morphed into her new avian body. But reality hits her hard when she wakes up to find her new life is not what she expected. Not even close. Tier is on trial for treason, the avian president wants her dead, her new military team is hostile, her body is being taken over by an illicit AI, and her only friend is a ten-year old throwaway boy. In most places the avian Fledge ritual would be nothing more than mass murder, but here in the capital city of Amelia, it’s called growing up. Junco has two choices: fight to the death to prove her worth, or get sent back to Earth in the hands of her enemies. In a foreign culture and surrounded by people she can’t trust or count on, Junco must find a way to save herself and Tier without losing her immortal soul in the process.
- MeiLin Miranda's The Machine God
Professor Oladel Adewole has lost tenure, and the beloved, much-younger sister he's raised has died. With no reason to stay, he leaves his homeland for the University of Eisenstadt. One thing makes life there bearable: the island floating a mile above the city. Adewole is an expert in the myths told all over the world about the island, but no one's ever been there, nor knows how it got there. When a brilliant engineer makes it to the island in her new invention, the government sends Adewole up with its first survey team. The expedition finds civilization, and Adewole finds a powerful, forbidden fusion of magic and metal: the Machine God. The government wants it. So does a sociopath bent on ruling Eisenstadt. But when Adewole discovers who the mechanical creature is--and what it can do--he risks his heart and his life to protect the Machine God from the world, and the world from the Machine God.
- Martyn V. Halm's Reprobate
Assassin Katla breaks her own rules when confronted with an unusual witness... Blessed with an almost non-existent conscience, Katla Sieltjes, expert in disguising homicide, views assassination as an intricate and rewarding occupation. Hidden behind her male alter ego Loki, Katla receives anonymous assignments, negotiates the terms with clients through electronic means, all to protect her identity. Her solitary existence satisfies her until she meets a blind musician whose failure to notice a ‘closed’ sign causes him to wander in on Katla’s crime scene. And Katla breaks one of her most important rules - never leave a living witness. Reprobate is the first novel in the Amsterdam Assassin Series. With authentic details and fast-paced action, featuring an uncompromising heroine and a supporting cast of unusual characters, Reprobate gives a rare glimpse in the local Dutch culture, information on the famous Dutch capital, the narcotics trade, computer hacking, motorcycle gangs, mehndi bridal tattoos, martial arts, and the brutal effectiveness of disciplined violence.
- XJ Selman's Buried Hope
The world is dead. The world is dead. The world is dead… and for a thousand years, they’ve hidden. The bulb in the sky burns too hot and the winds of the surface world cut like knives. But it is the air that will kill you—when the cold wind seeps in, you die. In the underground city of Spes, one bloodline has been granted the living gift by the timeless Eye. Only the Numbers and their blessed blood can survive the toxins of the world-with-no-walls. Through the Home Gate, the Number teleports to distant Gates—where the speeds of time have ripped, and years in one are days in another—to see if time has cured the land from the sins of men long gone and dead. Thirty-one Numbers have come and gone, the gilded cloak passed from kin to kin, and when young Victor takes his right as Number Thirty-Two, his callow heart leads him wrong. He breaks the code. He risks his life. He travels to the surface world without planting the seed in his chosen bride, the seed to continue the blood solely his. The Chancellor and the Eye’s Guard must hope the young Number returns from the voyage to the dead world, or the ancient line will end. And if they end, how will Spes know if the world is habitable? If they end, how will Spes survive the Eye?
Feel free to comment on the nominees. . . =)
I'll give this some thought and then make my decision in the coming weeks. I will likely give the selected work a shot next month.