Thursday, January 31, 2019

2018 SFR Galaxy Awards Round 5 - Marlene Harris



Home Again Award 
(Dance with the One that Brung Ya)


Edge of Eon
by Anna Hackett


It’s no secret to followers of the SFR Galaxy Awards that Anna Hackett is not just one of my favorite SFR authors, but one of my favorite authors of any genre. Period. Exclamation Point.

But as much as I love all of her work, my favorites of all of her books are those that hearken back most closely to the book that made me fall in love with her writing in the first place. I’m talking about space opera type science fiction romance like At Star’s End and her Phoenix Adventures series.

So I was really excited to see her return to space opera with her new Eon Warriors series, specifically Edge of Eon.

The Eon Warriors series is a delicious blend of so many of the tropes that made me love SFR in the first place.

We start with humans in charge being prideful idiots. Then follow with humans in charge covering their own asses. And then we get to the really good stuff - the kick ass heroine in the brig for a crime she didn’t commit, and the top brass sending her on a suicide mission to save their bacon and hopefully the planet from the really evil aliens who want to have us for lunch.

Where she manages to turn the whole thing on its head and stick it in their collective ears by not merely completing the mission but getting the super warrior race not so much on Earth’s side as on her side, personally. (I want to see some heads roll later!)

That Mars, or rather the Eons, turn out to need Earth women is just a happy accident, but certainly adds to the fun.

So if you like sprawling space operas, evil alien bugs, disgusting bureaucrats, hot warriors, kickass heroines and saving the world, this book is a terrific introduction to a marvelous series.

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Firefly Redux Award


Entropy
by Jess Anastasi


For a TV series that didn’t really last one full season, Firefly has cast a really, really long shadow over the science fiction romance genre. While not every Firefly-a-like has hit that “space western” vibe in the way that previous award winner Lace & Lead captured, there have been plenty of stories that tap into the “plucky underdogs subverting galactic tyranny” mindset that was also a big part of Firefly’s appeal.

However, while it’s the captain of the Imojenna who serves as this universe’s combination Mal Reynolds AND River Tam, this particular story in the series isn’t about him.

Instead, we have one of the really, truly fun staples of SFR - because we have a book about SPACE PIRATES! YAY!

Even better, this is the story of a space pirate’s daughter who decides to take a walk on the even wilder side with Captain Qaelan Forster, a former officer who has followed his crazy cousin (the aforementioned combination Mal and River) to hunt for the shapeshifting enemy who has them all on the run.

The romance between Qae the flirtatious captain and Cami the space pirate’s daughter provides the lighter moments - for select definitions of “light” - in what feels like a turning point in this multiple-award-winning SFR series.

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Meow it Again Sam Award


Pets in Space 3: Embrace the Passion
by S E Smith, Anna Hackett, Ruby Lionsdrake,
Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Carol Van Natta,
Tiffany Roberts, Alexis Glynn Latner, 
E D Walker, JC Hay, and Kyndra Hatch


Please tell me that you didn’t miss your chance to get Pets in Space 3? Because you don’t want to miss this treasure trove of SFR stories - and January 31 is your last chance to get a copy of this year’s collection.

But just in case you need a bit of convincing…

I’ve snagged a copy of this every year - because each year is a real treat - whether that treat is a galactic milk-bone or space-y catnip mousie. This collection is a combination of stories in familiar SFR universes with stories that are always new-to-me. I always discover someone I just have to read that I haven’t met before, along with several someones who woof, meow, squeak or squawk their way into my heart from worlds that I’m already in love with.

This year’s entry in the already in love with category was Fiend, making Desert Hunter a bit of a shaggy dog story in Anna Hackett’s Galactic Gladiators world. As much as I love both the Gladiators and the Earth refugees they fall for, this particular story was terrific because all of its characters are natives of Kor Magna, and none of them are gladiators. Not that Fiend doesn’t put up one hell of a good fight to protect the people that he’s decided to call his own - whether they’re ready for him or not.

When it comes to the new to me stories, I always gravitate towards the cat stories. You might say that there’s catnip in all of them, at least for this reader. And this particular collection had several kitties that made me purr.

But Fiend stole my heart!

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Shoulda Been a Contender Award


Nightchaser
by Amanda Bouchet

As someone who has been involved in best of the year awards at multiple venues, one of the unfortunate trends that I am all too aware of is the way that books that come out at the very beginning of the year tend to get lost in the shuffle by the end of the year.

Nightchaser was released on January 1, 2019 and should not be eligible for this year’s SFR Galaxy Awards. But, Nightchaser is also quite definitely an award-worthy piece of SFR - and I hope that others remember it come award time next year. But that’s a long time from now, in a galaxy far, far away.

So I’m giving it an award now - so it isn’t left out. Because it shouldn’t be.

Tess Bailey and her crew are on the run from the oppressive Galactic Overlords in this space opera type SFR. But there are plenty of twists in that “on the run”. Because Tess isn’t just running from the evil Overlord. She’s running away from “Daddy Dearest” who just so happens to ALSO be the evil Overlord.

An evil Overlord who used her as a lab rat, and created “super soldier serum” from whatever element it is in her blood that makes her “freakish” and him certain that he wasn’t the sperm donor no matter what his wife - his late wife - said. And not that there’s not plenty of really interesting story stuff wrapped around that bit of the plot.

And there’s a romance in the making. Tess doesn’t trust anyone - and why should she after her own father betrayed her? So when she starts trusting the slightly shady Shade Ganavan, things have to go wrong before they even have a chance of going right.

Nightchaser is a thrill a minute ride from beginning to end, and I can’t wait for the next book in the series. I won’t forget Tess and her crew in the meantime, and I want to make sure that you don’t either!

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Marlene Harris is a professional book-pusher, being both a librarian and a book blogger at Reading Reality, as well as on the Book Pushers site. Read more on the Judges page.

4 comments:

  1. Great picks Marlene. Nightchaser was almost on my list too since I read it in December, but it'll be in the running next year. And I always love Pets in Space!

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  2. Thank you for judging, for your support of SFR and Pets in Space!

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  3. Many thanks, Marlene, for all your great picks this year. My Leaning Tower of TBR continues to grow!

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  4. I have my copy of Nightchaser ready to read and I'm excited about it!

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