SFINCS Finalist Announcement

The Speculative Fiction Indie Novella Championship (SFINCS, pronounced “sphinx”) is a yearly competition to recognize, honor, and celebrate the talent and creativity present in the indie community. We are a sister competition to both SPFBO and SPSFC, and we highlight greatness in the novella format in all areas of speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction, horror, etc.).

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After reading and reviewing the five novellas assigned to us in this semifinals phase, we have reached a decision. Congratulations to the selected ones and commiserations to those that have fallen.

Our finalists are:

Blackcap by Benjamin Aeveryn

Blackcap by Benjamin AeverynBlackcap by Benjamin Aeveryn

Kade Blackcap was once a famous detective. Overburdened with guilt at sending a man to the noose, he finds himself unable to take a case for fear of the consequences. But with the taxman breathing down his neck, he has to find work soon, or he'll lose the house his father left him.

He has one hope left.

Long has he suspected the myths of old were creeping back into the world, and with his detective background he has all the skills to hunt them. But once he finds himself on the trail of a monster, he realises how out of his depth he is.He might have the skills to track such a creature, but what will he do when he catches up with it?

Our reviews:
Trudie Skies
Nils Ödlund
C.J. Daley
Jamedi

* * * * *

We're All Monsters Here by Amy Marsden

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When Anna is invited to a secluded retreat full of selfish, greedy humans, of course she doesn’t say no. Not only did she manipulate the CEO of the world’s largest oil corporation, Peter Beyer, into organising the four-day getaway in the first place, but no self-respecting vampire would ever turn down such easy prey. Her weekend gets even better when she meets Saira, one of Peter Beyer’s employees, and they begin a whirlwind affair. Blood and beautiful women are Anna’s idea of a great time.

She should have known it was too good to be true.

Hunters are dangerous, deadly, and dedicated to eradicating vampires. When a group of them turn up at the retreat, Anna must use her centuries of experience to escape their ever-closing net. Will she get out unscathed, or will they finally catch up to her? Will she give into her intense and unexpected feelings for Saira, or will she leave her to burn as she destroys all evidence she was ever there?

A fresh twist on urban fantasy, with an added splash of sapphic romance.

Our reviews:
Nils Ödlund
Jamedi
Trudie Skies
C.J. Daley

* * * * *

Competition has been fierce, so it's fair to give a shot-out to our other semifinalists, as it wasn't easy to choose between them:

From the Ashes by B. S. H. Garcia

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The civil war ends now.

Igtheos and his rebels have fought tirelessly against a would-be dictator and his army for almost two years. The city they’ve holed up in has become a prison, soon to be a tomb if they cannot arrange a means of escape.

When the enemy leader offers an armistice that’s too good to be true, Igtheos reluctantly accepts, thinking it will buy him enough time to smuggle those loyal to him out of the city. But he quickly learns the cost of choosing hope over caution as he finds himself caught in his enemy’s sinister plan, fighting a final unexpected battle. Failure means death, or worse, the loss of his loved ones.And he only has one night to determine everyone’s fate.

From the Ashes is a prequel novelette that takes place over two thousand years prior to the events in Of Thieves and Shadows—volume one in the epic fantasy series, The Heart of Quinaria.

Our reviews:
Nils Ödlund
C.J. Daley
Jamedi
Trudie Skies

* * * * *

The Choice of Weapons by Alex Valdiers

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Ren is an officer on the rise, going from planetary conquest to conquest, until he crosses path with a senior female officer from his native Japan. His meeting with Izuna ends in a bloody duel — the first of many. As the war against other species progresses, Ren’s obsession for Izuna grows and his discontentment for army life along with it. When Izuna gets isolated on an icy hell, Ren volunteers to rescue her for what may be his ultimate mission.

Our reviews:
Jamedi
C.J. Daley
Trudie Skies

* * * * *

Your Blood and Bones by J. Patricia Anderson

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Kill the monsters when they’re found.

No matter who they used to be.

The girl with secret feathers in her skin and strange bones jutting out beneath her clothes is resigned to her fate. Her deformities mark her a monster and the stories say monsters must die.

When her family finds out and turns on her, a village boy saves her and leads her on a frantic escape. The girl believes her death has merely been delayed—until he mentions a cure.

With the world against them and the monstrous change progressing, they must cross water, forest, and field to chase the rumor that fuels their desperate hope. But is hope enough to keep them going?  

Our reviews:
C.J. Daley
Nils Ödlund
Trudie Skies