Forget the Hugos, Nominations for the 2015 Planetary Awards are due February 14th!
In the Small Press / Self-published category, I’d like to nominate Karl Gallagher’s Torchship.
Torchship is a hard sci-fi adventure story in the vein of Firefly* about an interstellar freelance cargo-freighter and its crew. Torchship is set in something of a post-empire future in which both Earth a sizable portion of the colonized worlds have fallen to a devastating AI rebellion, leaving a few highly advanced but paranoid cyber-isolationist worlds and a tough-as-nails frontier beyond. As a fully analog spaceship, the Fives Full is one of the few interstellar craft permitted to travel between the “Disconnect” and “Fusion” worlds. In the course of taking odd jobs to make ends meet, the Fives Full’s crew stumbles upon the opportunity to hunt for buried space treasure. The catch? It’s deep in the heart of the AI ravaged ruins of humanity’s former dominion!
Torchship is Karl Gallagher’s and Kelt Haven Press’s first book; Gallagher’s amazing and Kelt Haven Press has a real winner on their hands. You should keep both of them on your radar.
My interview with Karl Gallagher can be found here.
I’d also like to plug Matthew D Ryan and his book Sceptre of Morgulan as something of a runner up. Everything I’ve read by Ryan has been great, and I’ve also had the opportunity to interview him and have him do a guest post, and if the award were broken down into SF and Fantasy instead of story length and small press/indie vs. trad published, I’d be able to nominate them both. Torchship breaks the tie by being the first book in a series; rather than nominate the third book in a series, I’ll just say “Go and buy Drasmyr; you can download it for free, but you should really buy it, too.”
* If Firefly were written by someone who actually knows a thing or two about spaceships and engineering.