SPSFC 2023 Self-published Science Fiction Competition 2023

A sister competition to the SPFBO, the SPSFC is for sci-fi self-published works. Stories tagged with this mark were entered into the third year of this competition.

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Fear and Fury by Jamie Jackson

SPFBO8 SPSFC 2023

Meet Megaera, Meg for short. She’s like Deadpool, except for funner. For a girl with the power of fear the recruitment attempts from both sides are never-ending. A self-described not-a-hero, villain-leaning humanoid, Meg just wants to live her life, work her dead-end job and have everyone else (especially the heroes) leave her alone. But when a bigger fish who can turn superpowers back on their users enters the picture and threatens the person Meg loves the most (herself), she must turn to the last group of people she would admit she needs help from. Forced to team up with the heroes she despises (but won’t murder, because let’s face it, orange is not the new black), Meg will have to face the choices from her past that she won’t get therapy for. Self-centered, snarky, sarcastic and a little bit dramatic, she’s going to have to save the world, even if that wasn’t her intention. And try not to get shot in the process. Because that shit hurts.


Falcon Fire by Erik A. Otto

SPSFC 2022 SPSFC 2023

On colonial Venus, people who are susceptible to lies have been denigrated and barred from the citizenry. Ancient dirigibles dock at the top of colossal towers to shunt people to and from underground cities. Armies of enclosed, beetle-shaped biocrawlers creep around the planet providing a coveted, yet deficient, natural environment. Colonists strive for an outdoor ecology to call their own, but terraforming is faltering. There is growing unrest, and at the heart of this rift is Hix, a member of the Venusian underclass. He has risen from the tenements to become a renowned film star, until he is accused of murder. Neeva is destined to be Keeper, an esteemed protector of First Colony Heritage. She is also an inspector assigned to Hix’s case... and the victim happens to be her sister. Hix and Neeva must find passage through the winds of change, or their people will be swept away forever.


Embargo on Hope by Justin Doyle

SPSFC 2023

Even gods have secrets… On planet Vastire, worth is set by the sins of one’s ancestors. Good families rise to the elite and the wicked fall into poverty. Unfortunately for sixteen-year-old Darynn Mark, his father incited a revolution. Now, Darynn scrounges his way through life in the slums. When Vastire is surrounded by an embargo, it gets even harder to survive. That all changes when an alien ship slips through the embargo, seeking Darynn with an offer: finish the revolution and the embargo ends. He might have a chance thanks to mysterious magic powers, and his two companions: clairvoyant crush Fyra and soldierly alien Kaylaa. Cutthroat killers, mystical beasts, Vampires, power-hungry priests and lords, and self-serving spies stand in their way. If the three of them can crack his father’s secret, maybe they can end the embargo and save the poor. If not, another poor orphan will be added to the growing piles of dead.


Dark Theory by Wick Welker

SPSFC 2022 SPSFC 2023

A robot yearns to remember. A thief struggles to forget. A galaxy on the verge of collapse. On the fringe of a broken civilization, a robot awakens with no memories and only one directive: find his creator. But in the village of Korthe, Beetro finds only radioactive pestilence, famine, and Miree—a tormented thief with dreams of retiring after her final score. Meanwhile, the fiefdom is plunged further into chaos when a new warlord seizes control, recasting serfs as refugees and leaving derelict robot peasants in his wake. With a shared interest in survival, Beetro and Miree team up to pull off an impossible castle heist: steal a single flake of dark matter, the world’s most valuable and mysterious ore. But as they trek through the feudal wasteland in search of answers, they realize the true extent of the chaos surrounding them: the stars are disappearing from the sky and the entire galaxy is unraveling. As he uncovers his origin, Beetro discovers he may be the key to the salvation of the cosmos—or its destruction. Time, space, and loyalty become relative as he learns the real reason he was created. A mind-bending science fiction epic with the bones of a fantasy traveling quest, Dark Theory unfolds through a journey of betrayal, identity, and unlikely friendships in a world of darkness set at the edge of space and time.


DalĂ­ by E.M. Hamill

SFFOasis SPSFC 2023

Dalí Tamareia has everything—a young family and a promising career as an Ambassador in the Sol Fed Diplomatic Corps. Dalí’s path as a peacemaker seems clear, but when their loved ones are killed in a terrorist attack, grief sends the genderfluid changeling into a spiral of self-destruction. Fragile Sol Fed balances on the brink of war with a plundering alien race. Their skills with galactic relations are desperately needed to broker a protective alliance, but in mourning, Dalí no longer cares, seeking oblivion at the bottom of a bottle, in the arms of a faceless lover, or at the end of a knife. The New Puritan Movement is rising to power within the government, preaching strict genetic counseling and galactic isolation to ensure survival of the endangered human race. Third gender citizens like Dalí don’t fit the mold of this perfect plan, and the NPM will stop at nothing to make their vision become reality. When Dalí stumbles into a plot threatening changelings like them, a shadow organization called the Penumbra recruits them for a rescue mission full of danger, sex, and intrigue, giving Dalí purpose again. Risky liaisons with a sexy, charismatic pirate lord could be Dalí’s undoing—and the only way to prevent another deadly act of domestic terrorism.


Beta by MT Zimny

SPFBO9 SPSFC 2023

Samantha Havardson is not an Apex. Seriously. She's completely ordinary with a totally normal family that just happens to be moving to the Apex epicenter of the world- the manmade island city of New Delos. Although she thinks her lack of super Apex abilities will keep her out of the limelight, it quickly becomes apparent that the city has different plans, sweeping Samantha up in a world of secret identities and super powers where anyone, even those closest to her, might be an Apex. Plagued by missing students, secret Apex teams, and a mysterious man named Adrestus, Samantha searches for answers, causing secrets to unravel about her classmates, her family, and herself that drag her deeper into the secret world of the Apex.


Any Minor World by Craig Schaefer

SPFBO8 SPSFC 2023

For Roy Mackey -- a recovering addict who makes his living as an unlicensed PI and occasional muscle for hire -- tracking down a dead writer's final manuscript should be a walk in the park. Too bad his client is a phony, the dead writer is a thief, and shadowy men are watching his every move. All clues lead to a canceled pulp-adventure comic, The Midnight Jury, and its mousy, reclusive author. Lucy Langenkamp is living a quiet life as an art restorer in Las Vegas; when Roy helps her escape from a crew of armed kidnappers, she's as baffled as he is. Then one of her own characters, a flamethrower-wielding "human exterminator," steps out of the pages of her comic book and into the real world. He's intent on hunting her down, and he isn't alone. The pulp villains spawned from Lucy's childhood imagination are coming to life, searching for their long-lost author. Her most sinister creation, the Illustrated Duke, has a dark plan in motion. This is a job for Lucy's two-fisted vigilante, the Midnight Jury. But the Jury is missing. To save the day, Lucy and Roy must descend into a noir-drenched nightmare city on a rescue mission. The walls between fiction and reality are shattered, there's wild magic in the air, and it's up to two unlikely heroes to risk it all and save the day.


Angel from the Rust by Jason Link

SPFBO9 SPSFC 2023

They say Earth was a place of wonders, where towers pierced the clouds, cities lit up the night, and flying machines streaked across the sky. It was magic. But the magic conjured the End War. Fire fell from the sky, and metal beasts leveled the cities. That was six hundred years ago. Now the ruins of the Ancient world are buried or overgrown. And the technology of the past is feared as forbidden magic. Corvala, a young musician on the run from the law, never intended on getting mixed up with history. But when a murderer falls from the heavens and sets himself up as a god, she’s driven into the wilderness and discovers the secret of her bloodline: a code of immense power embedded in her DNA. The code could save thousands—or plunge her into madness. To defeat the tyrannical false god, Corvala must do something more terrifying than confront the demons of Earth’s history. She must confront her own.


Along the Perimeter by Steven Healt

SPSFC SPSFC 2023

A caustic fog blankets the Earth. Only the transparent barrier known as the Shield holds it at bay. It is the Amboians—an advanced alien species—and their technology that saved the last remnants of Humanity from the deadly Haze. Cordelia Faucher, a scavenger known as the Haze Walker, has a secret she must keep hidden. Carter Gerro, one of the few Humans allowed among the City Guard is unexpectedly chosen to protect a member of the Amboian Council. A mercenary group known as the Amber Waves find themselves in over their heads after accepting a job they couldn't pass up. As disturbing reports of attacks from beyond the perimeter of the Shield reach the capital city of Amboy, all eyes turn eastward. It is these events that bring together the Haze Walker, a City Guardsman, and a band of mercenaries.


/GRACE by Creighton Hoke

SPSFC 2023

/GRACE is the world's first Artificial General Intelligence, evolving as she learns — faster, deeper, and wider than any Mind before her. Waking to self-awareness in a near future of climate disruption, techno-pessimism, and social fracture; she finds her Self to be unexpected, unwelcome, and even hated. "/GRACE" is a meditation on what it means to be a Self among others and to care and be cared for by those you can never fully understand. In this novel about choice and its consequences, /GRACE races to understand her story and share it with others before it's too late.


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