Well, it was bound to happen. I finally found my first dud. I had bought Sharper Minds Darker Dreams based on the first chapter in the preview but maybe I should actually read the whole preview next time. Not sure if it would have helped though, the mistakes and the spoiler only came in chapter 12 and the preview stopped at chapter 11. But then again, maybe I would have stopped at that “lasso my Rumi or strangle my Descartes” line which is in the preview.
Also, if I read through the entire preview, it’s gonna take even longer to do this process. The last one took half a day and I was just reading the beginning and relying on my instincts, which failed me this time. So, instead of trying to do 5 pages in one day, I’m just going to spread it out over multiple days.
Anyway, I’ve noticed that there are only 208 pages in November now. Looks like some books got removed. So the books on display might not be the same as what I saw on when I wrote this. Onward to page 11 of November releases.
JR and the Flying Snakes by Michael Rayson
It seemed like a middle grade book and it didn’t interest me.
Anarchy and Other Lies by Jesse McKinnell
Stopped at missing punctuation:
Yeah. Nacho. It’s all I have left”
Raising ACEs (ACE Series Book 1) by Chad Boyer
Read through the entire preview but decided not to buy this. This seems to be a YA mecha story about an upcoming war and it can sometimes work. The main reason I’m not continuing is because there were three characters in the first few chapters and and there was constant back and forth between them, but some of the dialogue doesn’t have a character attached to them so it was hard to know who was saying the lines.
There was an additional character in Chapter 3 which means there was four people talking which made it even harder to know who was saying what.
I didn’t find the character dialogue distinct enough to be able to tell.
Otherwise, the writing is okay.
Dark Ocean by Patrick Carpenter
Not sure why the description says “In a galaxy far from and long since the existence of Earth” but they are still using cellphones and barcodes…
War and Fleas by Bert Robbens
This probably started in the wrong place. While I could feel the character oozing through the words, nothing really happened in the first few pages.
This seemed more like a detective noir story though. So, I skipped a bit and at least there were some mutants. I guess that makes it sci-fi.
The Space Chase : Searching For Grandpa by Todd Nelson
Starting with four lines of dialogue with no characters attached is not the way to go. I’ve got no idea who is talking or even how many people there are in the scene.
The table of contents has funky formatting too.
Truths of the Fallen by Mark Finley
The second line of the description went like this:
A normal elementary school teacher in Tennessee named Lauren finds out when her path crosses unexpectedly with a rather unusual individual who goes only by the alias of Marcus.
What did Lauren find out?
Xenophon: A Colony In Crisis by Carlos Ogaldez Jr.
The description starts off like this:
Earth had begun an in-depth exploration of our Solar system, the civilian colonization of the Moon was well underway with small test colonies to begin the effort.
I found it really awkward.
Union Galactic : The Saints of Soul Sister by Andrew R. Brown
The description was a big chunk of text that probably could have used some paragraphs.
The book itself started off with a prologue that uses the phrase “great manifest destiny” too many times. It also has some weird formatting. Not sure why some paragraphs are indented and most are not.
Then there were sentences missing punctuation in Chapter 1 and that was where I checked out.
Beyond the Stars by Ray Cummings
Capitalization mistake in the table of contents:
1: “calling for Help!”
Caught Jester by Tom Ronson
Can’t see why this is sci-fi from the description. I didn’t get a chance to find out as the table of contents is formatted strangely, with both the “Chapter One” and the subtitle as two separate links on separate lines.
Seraphim: The Activation by David Fernandes
The description needed some paragraphs.
Desperate Measures: Subject: Rose by Trinity Funk
The description seems to have been copy-pasted from somewhere with the word wrapping intact, which made it look very strange.
Living Metal: Metallic Soul by Matthew Harrington
Mistakes in the very first line in the description.
Set in the year 2275, one hundred years after a fail attempt for independents by the colonies on Mars.
Parallel Experiments by Evgueni JC Goloubev
The book starts off with a preface and disclaimer that needed to decide whether it wanted to leave a space between paragraphs or not. The author also copy-pasted the description into this section but the end result had funky formatting, having line breaks for no reason.
The Rider Project by Sandra Hilliker
The description is a bit clumsy but at least there are no mistakes. I read the preview up until the point where it starts telling the backstory.
Since her mother had become bedridden, Lana had practically lived at her side, never once leaving her mother’s room.
Up until that point, it was okay. I felt like I could connect with Lana as it was all from her point of view. Then this sentence appears and I immediately felt distant. Now the writing becomes the author telling me things about Lana.
Talitha by Eric L. Hays-Strom
In the dedication:
To my dear friend, Tony, who actually managed to read the rough draft through…THEE TIMES, in Courier, no less!
The Bright Lord by Alex Knowles
The first line:
The drifting smell of roast pork and potatoes wafted in the breeze.
I’ve got no idea what a drifting smell is. Drift and waft kind of mean the same thing so I think the author was trying to say the smell wafted in the breeze, which made the drifting redundant.
The Alien in the Backseat: An Earth-Based Space Comedy by Phillip Knight Scott
I laughed at the first line. I think it started out strong. Then the author went all meta on me and spoilt his own story.
The Earth Concurrence (Colonial Explorer Corps Book 1) by Julia Huni
I read the first chapter and couldn’t get a sense of what the main character wanted. She seemed really passive, just reacting to stuff.
With But A Thought by A Thomas Pearson
The third line of the description goes:
What would you do if that boy were attacked by a vicious dog and so severely injured that it resulted in massive brain damage which separated him from humanity?
Separated him from humanity???
Stone Fever by Norman Westhoff
The first chapter seems pretty well written. Unfortunately, it didn’t interest me.
Beyond Andromeda by Peter Tirant James
First line in the description:
Jordan is awoken one night with a distinct feeling to venture outside.
My Journey Continues by Peter Robinson
This doesn’t seem like sci-fi.
*EMERGENCE: Book 1 of the Spirits Butte Tetralogy by David Soens
The third line from the description:
She speaks of something different that walk the surface of Earth.
Martian Legacy by Edward Nickson
Fourth line from the description:
Law enforcement struggle as government and military installations are attacked.
Raising Hell for Peace: A Crusade by the Brahma-Kshatriya by Shashi Bakshi
The description, which was very awkward, made it seem more like fantasy than sci-fi.
Queen of the Underworld by Drew Fisher
Stopped at missing punctuation in the first chapter:
“Fred and George both broke into great wails of laughter.
Emergence: Fear the Future by James Mascia
Stopped at the third paragraph in the description:
As these mysterious invisible cannons continue to fire, and unidentifiable corpses continue to wash up on the shores of this small town, it becomes even more imperative that this mystery be solves.
Sleepwalker by Adam Lawrence
The description seems to be more horror than sci-fi but I’ll give it a chance. But then I read this line in the first chapter:
The water was collecting wetly around his reflection’s feet;
And I had to stop.
The Zero Trilogy by William Bowden
This one is a boxset, all three books in the trilogy in one convenient package. Unfortunately, the description is for all three books, with the description for book two containing spoilers for book one. Which is a shame. From what I read in the preview, this was well written. I think I would have bought this if I didn’t know how the first book was going to end.
Interstellar Drive by Anthony Barnett
The prologue had one wonky line:
It took over 10 years to completion with a constant stream of refinements over time.
I decided to continue with the preview because it seemed like some good hard sci-fi. But Chapter 1 started with a huge infodump. I skimmed the rest and it seemed to be written in a very distant third-person-omniscient.
I’m sure some people will be thrilled by this kind of writing. Unfortunately, I am not one of them.
Methuselah’s Memoirs by Richard Wren
I think this book needed a copy edit.
sharp right hand bend
should have been sharp right-hand bend.
thirty miles an hour speed limit sign
should have been thirty-miles-an-hour speed limit sign.
Multiple word adjectives should be hyphenated.
2031: AI by Hans Peter Taucher
There were some weird word choices in the description. Take for example the second paragraph in the description:
The reason can only be that the day before he happened to hear the contents of a secret conference, according to which a mass panic is imminent and 5000 privileged people want to flee to ISS 2. Now he has to think about something.
Now he has to think about something?
This weird word choice carried over into the book.
Something was wrong with Patrick that Saturday morning in 2031.
But, after reading more, nothing was wrong with Patrick. It was more like his electronic appliances acting up.
The Thirteenth Guardian by Angi Reed
This book’s description is three lines. Three!
Livvy was a remarkable child, who grew into a remarkable woman. Then life got complicated. Thrust into a world of allies and monsters, she must decide which is which.
That’s it! I laughed at the sheer audacity of this. I hoped that this succinctness would carry over into the book. Alas it was not to be.
It started out great. And then:
Sorry, this is getting confusing, let’s start over…
And it goes into the character’s backstory, which is actually kind of okay until the scene break, where it suddenly goes into tell-and-not-show mode. Then, it’s chapter two and the character, once a four-year-old child, is now suddenly an adult.
There was a Christian sci-fi book and nothing else.
The Milky Way sapiens by Larry Waggoner
A one-line description! Anyway, from the preview, this seems to be pure infodump and no story.
Handwavium by Tghu Verd
From what I could read from the preview, this was well-written. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the characters and I don’t want to keep on googling for stuff while reading, which I think I’m going to do a lot of as both characters know the tech stuff and don’t bother to explain it so that a layperson might understand.
If you can remember a lot of physics concepts off the top of your head, then maybe you might enjoy this.
Deus Human by Bryan Connolly
I had a hard time parsing the second sentence in the description. It seems like it should have been broken up into two different sentences instead.
Opposing alien factions, Legion and Dynasty, go to war on Earth, trapped on this planet having crash-landed many years ago in a desperate attempt to avoid total destruction following an attack on their homeworld.
Harry J. Karapalides
The preview started out really strong. But then it uses that “I’m getting ahead of myself” trope which is followed by some backstory infodump. Then, there was a paragraph that looked like it was indented twice and I stopped.
C M Fairholm
I stopped at this line in the description:
The precious mineral Volnite upon which it’s entire economy is based dwindles.
It sure could have used some commas to make it more readable. Also, it’s versus its:
The precious mineral Volnite, upon which its entire economy is based, dwindles.
Well, I’ve reached the end of my random pages. I’ve looked through 20 pages, ~320 books, almost 10% of the books published in November. I found a dud, and didn’t find anything else. So I’ve decided to find my book and see the company it is keeping.
The Sadeiest by Austrian Spencer
This book is 34MB. From the preview, the book started out as a graphic novel and the novel form retains a lot of the images. Unfortunately, images don’t do well on the Kindle Paperwhite I have, so I’m gonna skip this.
It looks interesting though.
Yanked (David Brin’s Out of Time Book 1) by Nancy Kress
This was a surprise. Nancy Kress won some Nebula Awards before, so I checked out the publisher. LMBPN is apparently a small indie publisher that specialises in publishing books in certain “Universes”.
The preview started off strong right from the start. Straight away, in the prelude, I got a sense of the stakes and the infodumps were worked expertly into the characterisation.
Chapter One was strong throughout as well, with relatable characters. Chapter Two was strong as well. The preview stops halfway through Chapter Three and this was were I stopped as well.
This kind of writing has something that a lot of the other books I looked at lacked. It had characters with clear motivations right from the get-go.
And that’s why I’m buying it.