The literary world is on fire with the controversy surrounding this year Hugo rewards. Charges fly, political agendas are conveyed, and the giants of fantasy and sci-fi battle over who will bring home those brilliant rockets.
Same George RR Martin devoted a number of serious words at the question.
In the shadow of these giants, far from politics and adulation, people continue to search for great books, leaving no page unturned, digital or otherwise. Technology has enabled an independent revolution that has evolved far beyond the confines of the traditional publishing world. Recognizing these books has been a tricky business.
In many cases, independent books have developed a bad reputation. With the rise of digital self-publishing, the coveted title of “published author” has been reduced to a click of a mouse. However, writer and creative hacker Jefferson Smith is convinced that this borderline has attracted some of the best writers in the field. Not just A-listers looking to get life out of their backlists, but unknown talent who “have the game.”
Jefferson would be the first to admit that in the independent world, “few of the titles released meet basic professional production standards.” To separate the wheat from the chaff, he developed his own grueling method.
Jefferson is a practical guy, and taking his morning walk on the treadmill while reading independent sci-fi and fantasy books seems like a win-win. Most of the time, this is not the case.
The Immerse or die method subjects each book to a forty-minute test. During those forty minutes, a book receives a three-step policy that it calls “WTFs”. After the third, his immersion in history is considered lost. He throws the book away, records the time in his 40-minute workout, and later completes an account of what went wrong.
Last year Jefferson read 114 titles. Of these, only 13 survived the full 40 minutes.
These thirteen survivors, he read them from cover to cover. He took more notes, checked to make sure everyone had it all: a full and satisfying story, clean production, and an overall entertaining read worthy of storage anywhere, in or outside of circles. traditional edition.
The 13 fell to 8.
Jefferson had a nice website graphic to hand out, but no shiny trophies. Just passing the test was quickly becoming a badge of honor in independent circles. Yet he felt that these books were so good that they needed a larger audience.
Jefferson therefore contacted the authors and StoryBundle.com and the Immerse or Die Bundle was born. Now all 8 books can be purchased for a price you name. (Jefferson even included a ninth bonus book, one of his own, so readers can take revenge on the treadmill.)
If you’re an avid reader of speculative fiction and fantasy, this set covers the gamut. From dark desert fantasy to realistic steampunk, from luscious sci-fi noir to an urban lost souls fantasy, these stories are dripping with originality backed by quality verified to rival the big names.
Over time, I’m sure these literary giants will put their differences aside and find out who deserves the coveted rocket this year. But in their shadow, freelance writers will continue to tirelessly create new worlds and entertain readers with a skill and work ethic that deserve wider recognition. No agenda or political baggage, just pure love of the craft and the hope of overturning a conveyor belt or two.
You can read more about the Immerse or Die pack here. Summaries, reviews and author biographies are presented for each book.
(Full disclosure: I have a book, Crimson son, included in this set, but can personally vouch for the quality of each title and Jefferson’s comprehensive process. If you’re a reader of speculative fiction, you’ll find a lot to love in this bundle of digital goodness.)