Below are the six semifinalists of the 3rd annual Self-Published Science Fiction Competition, complete with descriptions, author info, and purchase links.

six finalist book covers for the 3rd SPSFC
Children of the BlackDark TheoryGold Record
KenaiThree Grams of ElsewhereThrill Switch

Children of the Black

W.J. Long III

Humanity has survived

On the far end of the universe, with Earth little more than a faded memory, they thrive on worlds where once they were enslaved. In the millennia since, these persistent beings built new societies, but when the two greatest nations among them met for the first time, there was war. The all-consuming conflict bent the wills and morals of both powers beyond recognition, leading to levels of experimentation and cruelty once thought impossible. Yet, in a universe drowned in blood, an opportunity for peace is seized.

In the uncertain aftermath of the truce, a broken soldier haunted by the horrors of the war and the lost psionic girl he once risked his life to save scratch out a life in the dusty streets of Minerva City. Meanwhile, from worlds beyond, shadows from their past descend to offer a different path.

In exchange, the two must find a powerful secret once thought capable of bringing solace to a desperate wartorn universe, but in this time of uneasy peace, it holds a more destructive power. Uniquely qualified and entirely in over their heads, they put their lives on the line to embark on a harrowing adventure and discover not only answers to their broken pasts but a taste of perils lurking in the Black.

SPSFC Team: Science Fiction News

Genres: Space opera, Military

Dark Theory

Wick Welker

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.

SPSFC Team: Book Invasion

Genres: Science fantasy, Space opera

Gold Record

Leigh Saunders

Tour Guide. Emissary. Diplomat. Thief.
On her 217th birthday, Brianna Rei hooks up with smuggler-thief Jerrold McKell to steal the legendary Voyager Gold Record. But their partnership doesn’t go exactly as planned. Pursued across the Hundred Worlds by bounty hunters, and hiding the secret of her true identity as a Synth, Brianna finds herself having to make a series of increasingly difficult choices – choices that could put both of their lives in jeopardy.

SPSFC Team: Space Stars

Genres: Space opera, Heist


Dave Dobson

A planet steeped in mystery…
Jess Amiko is long past her days as a space marine, with all the glory of that time tarnished beyond repair by what came after. Trying to rebuild from the ashes, she’s taken a job as a security guard on Kenai, a lonely world far from the Council systems. It’s supposed to be easy duty – quiet and peaceful, on a docile world with no real threats, watching over an archeological dig at a site built by a race long vanished.

Betrayed and attacked by forces unknown, and finding that nothing on Kenai makes sense, Jess is plunged into a desperate fight for survival that leads her deep into the mysteries of Kenai’s past, and deep into the hardship and paradox the planet imposes on all who call it home.

SPSFC Team: Peripheral Prospectors

Genres: Space opera, Military

Three Grams of Elsewhere

Andy Giesler

A reclusive empath confronts his role in the war that fractured the United States.

Fifty years ago, a new civil war fractured the United States into a mosaic of polarized nations. Ever since, Harmony “Bibi” Cain has isolated himself: from society, from technology, from family. A powerful empath weary from the constant intrusion of others’ emotions, he’s finally cloistered in his rural Wisconsin retirement community. He hopes to find, if not peace, then at least a little quiet.

But when four impossible-seeming killings shake North America, Bibi is drawn into an investigation he wants nothing to do with. The victims were killed by unstoppable drones only an empath can control—and decades ago, Bibi was an unwitting subject in the wartime program that created them: the program that weaponized empathy.

With his few remaining friends at risk, and tensions between countries of the former United States reawakening, everything may depend on Bibi’s lifelong struggle with his own extraordinary ability.

SPSFC Team: Space Stars

Genres: Near-future, Mystery

Thrill Switch

Tim Hawken

Detective Ada Byron is pumped to finally be assigned her first murder case… until she sees the crime scene. Someone has been killed exactly the same way as her father was seven years earlier.

To see if this is a copycat, or something more sinister, Ada must work with her personal nightmare Jazlin Switch – the programmer who murdered her dad. What follows is a mind-bending, heart-stopping ride through the dark side of reality and the virtual world.

SPSFC Team: Tar Vol On

Genres: Cyberpunk, Near future, Thriller