I’m hijacking the IOD report stream to share this exciting announcement with everyone. This has been brewing since last fall, but at last everything is in place and I can finally announce that on April 15, ImmerseOrDie will be partnering with the good folks at StoryBundle.com to offer an exclusively IOD-selected bundle of Fantasy and Science Fiction titles. Last year saw 114 contenders cross my treadmill, and of the thirteen books that survived, only these eight made it through the secret second round to earn their place in this collection. And now I’m tickled mauve to be able to bring the whole set to indie fiction fans everywhere, for the low, low price of “whatever you want to pay.”
What is ImmerseOrDie?
For those who don’t know about ImmerseOrDie, it’s simple. Every morning, I get on my treadmill, open a new indie ebook, and start my morning walk. Any book that can hold my attention for the duration of that 40:00 minute stroll gets labeled a survivor and recommended to folks around the globe. But getting there is not easy. Every time I read something that breaks my immersion in the story—bad grammar, inconsistent worldbuilding, illogical character behaviors, etc.—that book earns a red flag, called a WTF. If I find three WTFs before I finish my walk, the clock stops, the book closes, and I go off to write up the report of what went wrong. (You can read more about the IOD and see all the archived reports here.) At the time I selected the books for this StoryBundle, I had read 114 titles, of which only 13 had survived.
How were books selected?
But this upcoming StoryBundle is not just a random grab-bag of some books that managed to squeak past my 40:00-minute guard dogs. The survivors were all run through a second gauntlet and these eight champions are the ones that came out of that round unscathed as well. See, unbeknownst to any of the authors, every title that joined the IOD Survivor’s club was then entered into a secret Round Two. To survive that round, they had to do more than simply avoid WTF triggers. They had to grab my attention and hold it, and then deliver a complete and satisfying story. Not just clean, but entertaining. And not just for 40 minutes, but for the entire book.
How do StoryBundles work?
So that’s exactly what these eight books have done, and I’ll stack this list up against any collection, anywhere—indie or otherwise. In fact, that’s exactly what I am doing. When I approached the guys at StoryBundle.com and hit them with my proposal, they were on board in a heartbeat and offered me their next available slot. So on Apr 15, when the doors open on this collection, you’ll be able to get all eight of the winners (plus a surprise or two that will be announced later) for the low, low price of “whatever you want to pay.” That’s right. Just decide how much you want to tip the authors, type that number into the box, and then download the entire set. And as an added bonus, every StoryBundle has a designated charity that will receive a portion of the proceeds.
What books are in the bundle?
But you probably want to know what books are in the collection. So without further blathering from me, here they are, your 2015 ImmerseOrDie Double-Champions, in alphabetical order:
Century of Sand, by Christopher Ruz (Fantasy)
An old warrior rescues a young girl from the clutches of an evil wizard and then flees with her into exile. It’s a desperate bid to find something—anything—that can put the world right again, and hopefully, undo whatever darkness has been done to the girl. His daughter. (Read the full IOD Report.)
Crimson Son, by Russ Linton (SF)
In a world where government-manufactured super-heroes have replaced war and terrorism as the world’s greatest threats – and it’s only source of salvation – there’s only one thing that sucks worse than having no powers at all. And that’s being the powerless son of the greatest hero of them all, and a prisoner inside the family fortress of solitude. For his own protection, you understand. Well, Spencer Harrington, son of the Crimson Mask, has had enough. He’s tired of playing by dad’s rules, and this time, he’s going to do things his way. (Read the full IOD Report.)
The Improbable Rise of Singularity Girl, by Bryce Anderson (SF)
A scientist’s life is thrown into chaos when a grad student’s suicide turns out to be more than it seemed, and ends up triggering a singularity breakthrough in AI computing. What follows is a tour-de-force adventure in politics, technology, and human achievement, with some epic smack-down battles to top it all off. (Read the full IOD Report.)
The Journeyman, by Michael Alan Peck (Fantasy)
To Paul Reid, life as a homeless teen seems pretty bleak. But it turns out that was nothing compared to being dead. After an untimely accident takes him out of the world, Paul finds himself locked in a battle between the forces of light and dark – a battle that dark appears to be winning. And light seems too apathetic to care. (Read the full IOD Report.)
Mad Tinker’s Daughter, by JS Morin (Fantasy)
In a dual reality, where people live free on one side, but are enslaved by aliens on the other, a young woman and her crew of renegades have formed a resistance of sorts. Armed with the bits of tech they can either steal or reverse-engineer, these few hope to change the world – both worlds – for the better. Or die trying. (Read the full IOD Report.)
Pay Me, Bug!, by Christopher Wright (SF)
If you miss Firefly, this is the kind of book that’s gonna ease your goram aches and lamentations, for a spell. Join Grif Vindh and the space-faring crew of the Fool’s Errand as they try to pull off the greatest heist in history. Again. (Read the full IOD Report.)
Strictly Analog, by Richard Levesque (SF)
In a decaying world where even your pet ferret has a live-to-net video feed, some problems require a guy who couldn’t leave a bit-trace if he tried. In that case, you go to Lomax. Ex-military, tough as nails… And strictly analog. (Read the full IOD Report.)
Untimed, by Andy Gavin (SF)
Charlie is a young man who’s been entirely forgettable for as long as he can remember, but on his 16th birthday he suddenly learns the reason why: he and his family are unstuck in time. But before he learns what that means, his father disappears. In a desperate bid to find him and finally get some answers, Charlie follows a strange man into a dark alley. And emerges into 18th century London. (Read the full IOD Report.)
Sounds like a great collection, right? Well it is, and I hope you’ll join us over at StoryBundle.com on Apr. 15 to show your support for indie writing. And can I ask for a favor? Please consider sharing this announcement. If you or your friends have ever complained about the tide of low-quality books that swamp the indie byways, this is your one-stop opportunity to set the record straight. There really are some great books out there in indie-land. And here are eight of them to prove it.