8 Great Books, Chosen By Me, Pay What You Want

all-covers-large-1Well the time has come for the annual recap of the best books to cross my treadmill this past year. And once again, I’ve wrestled those authors into participating in a blow-out event in which you can get the entire set for as little (or as much) as you want to pay. But the big difference this year is that I got my act together sooner and was able to put this deal together before Christmas.

So if you have a reader on your Christmas list this year, or even if you’re loading a sweet new ereader that you bought for yourself, what could be better than eight great books that have been vetted through a gruelling process like IOD? In addition to topping up your tank of new favorite authors to love, you’ll also be supporting charity, and giving a much-appreciated boost of encouragement to some of the most promising as-yet-unknown writers in the field. A single gift that gives in ten different directions? How festive is that?

But be aware, this collection will only be available until Dec 22., so if you’re inclined to get it or to share this post with a friend, don’t wait too long.

The Books

missionBlack Ocean: Mission Pack #1, by JS Morin
The first four installments of a rollicking space adventure serial. Plus wizards. Just when the space hijinx start to settle down, the wizard drops in to kick the story on its ass. If you like your adventure quarrelsome, audacious, and unpredictable, then the good ship Mobius has got you covered.

somnThe Somniscient, by Richard Levesque
Have you ever wanted to be able to control your dreams? Maybe even write the script? But if that became possible, who would bother to write their own? In this chilling exploration of the near future, an entertainment technology giant dominates every facet of human life: from the dreams you dream, to the apps you use to talk about them. They even control the very currency of exchange. So the burning question now is: when dreams are big money, who will be allowed to sleep?

bartleby_and_james_cover_finalBartleby and James, by Michael Coorlim
Start with a Sherlockian detective and then double down on the science by giving him a sidekick who’s a little less Watson and a lot more Tesla. Throw in an intriguing villainess to lead the two on a merry chase, and you end up with something that seems entirely of that era: a mystery that invites you to tea and then remembers to send a thank you note afterward. Think of it as “A Curious Gentleman’s Guide to the Age of Wonder.”

coverWhirlwind in the Thorn Tree, by SA Hunt
One of the promises of indie fiction is that it can bring us stories that just don’t fit into conventional molds, and this is one of the books that actually delivers. In fact, this was the very first book I read that convinced me that indie authors could go toe-to-toe with the majors. If you’re looking for a bold new world of fantastical adventure that harks back to Lovecraft and L’Amour rather than Tolkien and Lewis, then this is the two-fisted, gunpowder smackdown that will take you there.

amber_fang_cover_finalAmber Fang, by Art Slade
Miss Amber Fang is a smart and funny vampire librarian, raised with a strict ethical code: we only eat murderers, dear. And that, combined with her exotic vampire physiology, makes her the perfect candidate for an entirely different line of work: government assassin. Nobody ever suspects the librarian.

2ndSecond Skyn, by Damien Boyes
We’ve all seen the story of the hero whose consciousness is backed up on a computer drive and later re-animated into an unfamiliar world of the future. But what if he’s reanimated the Tuesday after his death and charged with the murder of his wife? And then, what if he’s reanimated again, only this time under the secret identify he used for surfing porn, and given the chance for revenge? I’ll tell you what happens: awesome happens. Two versions of the same man, both investigating the same murder from different ends. And only one of them can be allowed to survive.

warchild_pawn_cover_finalWarchild: Pawn, by Ernie Lindsey
Consider a society where three fundamental forces are in seemingly perfect balance. Where do you pin your allegiance? To the local warlords who are trying to maintain order? To the secret societies who are trying to save the old world, but are still mired in the beliefs that caused the collapse in the first place? Or to the young idealists who don’t understand any of that, and just want a chance to build lives for themselves without having to choose sides? No matter how you slice it, someone has got to lose.

malus_domestica_cover_finalMalus Domestica, by SA Hunt
Real horror, to me, is when terrible things happen to people I know and like. Especially if I can clearly see the long, slow, but inevitable arc of their lives as they begin to slide straight toward the distant wood chipper. Hunt masterfully shows us an early taste of what’s at stake and then settles in to let us get cozy with the family before he brings out the knives. And when he does, the results are chilling. Forget the hags of Eastwick and Oz. If you want your witches to be really scary, put ’em right there in your home town and have them serve cookies to your kids.

So there you have it. Eight champions of indie fantasy and science fiction, chosen through a grueling process and hoisted up onto the StoryBundle pedestal for the world—and you—to enjoy.

And remember: These are the rare indie creatures who are walking the extra mile to ensure that their stories sizzle, their prose is tight, and their layouts glitter. Let’s show them that we’ve noticed. And that we appreciate their commitment to doing it right. You can do all that at StoryBundle.

The treadmill needs fresh meat
Announcing Page Fight!: a fast-paced game where books compete for reader love and authors win

About the author

Jefferson Smith is a Canadian fantasy author, as well as the founder, chief editor and resident proctologist of ImmerseOrDie. With a PhD in Computer Science and Creativity Systems compounded by a life spent exploring most art forms for fun and profit, he is underqualified in just about everything. That’s why he writes.