Sci-Fi & Fantasy Authors

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Sci-Fi & Fantasy Authors

A group for Sci Fi, Speculative and Fantasy authors to discuss the genres, and critique each other's work. 

Please help me choose a winning design for cover art on a story I am about to release. Purpose is to generate reader interest to submit emails for a newsletter subscription on my author platform.

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David Aurelius

Hi all

I'm currently looking for beta readers to give me feedback on my high fantasy debut novel of about 85,000 words. It's already had one round of beta reading on a older version over a year ago, and major re-work based on advice from a professional editor, so I hope it's now quite polished and readable, but I know beta readers are great at coming up with ideas that make a huge difference to the quality.

It's 'high' fantasy because it's set in a world of my own making, but it's not 'epic' fantasy. There are no dragons, elves or dwarves and very little sword action, so apologies to those who enjoy those aspects.

The story revolves around three adult siblings who discover their parents weren't the heroes they'd grown up believing they were, and when their old enemy returns from the dead with some alarming and dangerous plans, the siblings find themselves caught up in events that could devastate their lives and their world.

If that sounds like something you'd enjoy, and have time over the next few weeks to read it, please don't hesitate to send me a direct message.


A M (Andrew) Obst

Just a heads up... As the community manager on Townhouse contacted me about the lack of a more general scifi/fantasy group, the beta readers/critique part can still be here but you can talk freely about anything else related to that topic too, now.

Hello everyone. I am new to Jericho Writer's and to the Sci-fi/Fantasy Beta Readers' group. 

I've written a fantasy novel and am almost half-way through a second revision. Last year a publisher expressed interest but after deliberating for three months, decided to pass. She said "they had trouble connecting with the characters and the narrative. We would suggest deepening the POV and sharpening the voice to make the narrative more engaging and the characters more dynamic. We also felt the story moved a bit too quickly to follow without confusion."  They did share what they saw strong in my writing too:  "This is an interesting premise with strong world-building." So, I guess this means they like my idea and my ability to create another world, but not my ability to write a good story. 

I have been trying to make fixes but find I'm can't quite "see" what that is exactly. I'm afraid I need others vision and insight to help me. Any suggestions, insight, tips, and etc. is very welcome. I'm happy to reciprocate. 

How and where do I post, say the first couple of chapters?


I have posted the opening selection of Black Stripe Trigger Guard.

If anyone would like to read it and give me some feedback I am more than happy to read their work and respond in kind.  In fact, I would be happy to edit their work (light through to heavy edit)

I saw where some people were having issues posting files.  It took me a while to figure out how to do this.  You cannot add from the Files on the menu for the group.  Go to Files under the main menu.   If you need more help drop me a line.

Half way through nanowrimo... Who here is taking part and how are you getting on? thought the group needed something to give it a kick. Maybe a conversation starter's the way to go about it.

Hi, This is my first post. It's my attempt at a non-violent fantasy/sci-fi novel. Sarah is the main character and 2 other important characters are Javi and Aron. The struggle comes when people from various destroyed planets arrive on planet Resta and have to get along, enough that their souls can reach out to others in love.  Easier said than done.        Joan

Old Souls on Resta

Chapter 1    Sarah and Javi

No one thought about their soul very much. Everyone knew they had one, but they didn’t think about their body and soul functioning together as one unit. Certainly not today or on any ordinary day. The soul rarely poked its ephemeral arm outward, a reminder saying, “Here I am. See me.”  No one thought about that in daily life…until coming to Planet Resta—the calmest, most peaceful, spiritual place in the universe.


Screams tore through Sarah’s head as she slowly woke from a terrifying sleep –flying through time and space. Where were the screams coming from? It’s me! I’m screaming! she realized. What’s happening?

She heard someone say, “It’s okay. You’re fine. You’ve made it.”

Sarah calmed down, glad the dream had ended. As she became more awake she looked up to see a man looking down at her.

“Where am I?” she asked. 

“You are on Planet Resta in the town of Sedona,” he said. 

Was he in fact a male? Sarah wasn’t so sure.

“My name is Javi,” the person said. “I am your neighbor. Let me introduce you to your sleeping room. You have a soft bed, a bookcase of popular books from the library, a rocking chair, a prayer rug, and a standing Christian cross, which we know is common on Earth. You may have glimpses of memories from your home planet, but with time more memories will refresh you.

They walked to the next room housing a small kitchen with a table and chairs. The décor was sparse suggesting there was not a lot of reason to spend much time indoors. Javi escorted Sarah out the front door to view flowers covering the entire yard. The house was a cute little white-clapboard with a thin shingle roof. “This is my house?” asked Sarah.

“Yes, of course.”

Sarah looked up and down the road to see a hard packed dirt path wind past small houses, giving the town an old English look. Small trees with bright green leaves and flowers of all sizes and bold colors filed the yards. Friendly people walked along, greeting each other and said, “Welcome,” to Sarah.

“Bodies from Earth enjoy running,” said Javi. “Let’s run the mountain.”

 “Run the mountain?” Sarah questioned. “You mean up? Can we do that?”

“Oh, yes!”

They took off running faster and faster. Sarah followed Javi’s lead skipping over trees, hopping on the cliffs, bounding higher and higher until they reached the top. Sarah was awestruck. Resta was the most beautiful place she had ever seen. The mountains near and far, were majestic, their peaks glistening with silver snow and their cliffs striped with sparkling waterfalls. The skies were bright blue but changed occasionally depending on the Brightness of the Beyond. Hints of purple and orange streaking the blue sky shimmered far away. The hills and valleys held a wealth of farmland and deep forests, animals on the ground and in the air, and farmhouses and mansions. 

Miles away, on the roof of a small white building, a person sat and looked directly at Sarah. She could even see that the person’s face was directed right toward hers. Self-conscious Sarah glanced quickly toward Javi who said, “Yes, you’ve noticed we have very good vision.” She spotted another stunning view—a valley where a silver river ran and herds of tigers and deer grazed. Her eyes filled with tears of joy that there was a place in the universe as heavenly as this, and her heart filled with an exhilaration never felt before. Below her, spread throughout a large valley, was the town, Sedona, her new home.

“You see,” said Javi, “all of Planet Resta is as beautiful as this, both in physical beauty and spiritual beauty. Your family and all Earthlings are happy and loved beyond measure.”

Javi’s blue eyes and aura were warm with love and laughter. Sarah had heard of auras before, the entrancing glow around one’s body, but never saw one, until now. 

“Follow me!” yelled Javi.

They jumped off the mountain and soared like eagles down to the valley. They swerved right and left, boing-ed around the town as if on pogo sticks and landed by their houses. 

She was giddy. “How are we able to fly? Do you have some special powers?”

“No,” said Javi. “Every person does that in these perfect bodies.”

These perfect bodies: no sexes, no man or woman, just “person”. But, Javi explained, some people thought of themselves in their own minds as they used to be on their home planet—“he”, “she”, or “ke” (if something else). On Resta, the pronoun “ke” was used frequently because gender was irrelevant. The major possessive pronoun was “kes” but people also said “his” or “her.” Yet Sarah still thought of herself as a “her” even though she was flat chested and had no hips to speak of. Ke, ke, ke… this would take some getting used to.

Sarah took this time to really look at people and was surprised to find they looked basically the same: smooth, dark tan skin, round face, high cheek bones, flat narrow nose, full lips, and large ears that could turn outward. Besides a brow ridge, there was a smaller ridge running from the eye to the ear. Everyone had dark hair that could be cut to whatever length was desired. 

Sarah asked Javi, “Where are you from?”

“I’m from the planet Algenia in the Milky Way Galaxy, proximate to Earth, astronomically speaking. Life was extinguished on our planet by seismic activity.”

“How many people came to Resta?” Sarah asked.

 “All 50 million.”

Sarah noticed that Javi’s lip movements did not match the words she was hearing.

“What’s your native language?” she asked.

“Algenian, of course. But you automatically translate my language into your English. I automatically translate English into Algenian. It’s one of the senses of our bodies.”

“How many senses do we have?” she asked, suddenly feeling ignorant.

“Many. Too many to learn about now. You will discover them soon enough, and I will help if you so desire,” he said.

“Are there many people from Earth here in Sedona?” Sarah asked. 

“Quite a few. I enjoy talking with them. They are always eager to discuss family, employment, and recreational activities. I believe many lived only to retire and play that game. What is it called? Golv?”

“Golf,” Sarah corrected.

“There is a golf site and many other activities around town if you wish to participate.”

Sarah smiled. “Thank you. I’ll have to take a look.”

“I am impressed that many Earthlings strove to develop spiritual lives by attending church or temple. This is a laudable practice. On Algenia, every soul prayed at the temple three times a day, thanking the One Great One for all the blessings given to us. We, who deserved nothing, had everything required to be happy.” Javi put an arm around Sarah and said, “I am glad you are present. I am fortunate to have a new friend.”

Sarah felt such love in that simple hug, warmed that she had made a friend so easily.

They decided to go to the Tall Grass Restaurant for dinner, a small diner that specialized in celery, rye, and oat dishes flavored with herbs whose names Sarah couldn’t pronounce. Javi selected Sautéed Rye Soup, and Sarah started to order the same.

“No, no, no!” said Javi. “You order a different item, and if you don’t savor it, we can exchange.”

Sarah selected Oat Cake with bell pepper and various herbs. 

While eating their equally delicious meals, Sarah and Javi discussed food and daily activities on their home planets. Javi had been a teacher of agriculture and volunteered at a hospital. He did not mention any family. He liked living in Sedona. There was no government, no laws, no angry people and all the freedom and surprises a society could ask for. Coming from many, many planets that were destroyed, residents now had wonderful new lives. 

Sarah explained that on Earth, she had been a woman, happily married with two sons, a so-so career, and too short a life when the asteroid hit. As she recounted the story, more and more memories surfaced. She had huddled with her family in the basement waiting for the end: a tsunami, hurricane force winds, starvation, or whatever.   Even though she talked about her family, she didn’t become teary-eyed over missing them and briefly wondered why that was so. “Do you know where my family is?” she asked.

“Somewhere on Resta, but I don’t know exactly where.  They are completely happy and well cared for,” said Javi.

I am richly happy, too, she thought. Was it the environment, the aroma of the food, or the people? It’s so peaceful and calm here, she thought. Heavenly, hmm.

In the candlelit restaurant, Javi’s warm blue aura shifted to gold.  Sarah wondered if he, or ke, back on Algenia, was a man or a woman.

Chapter 2     Aron

The next morning, Sarah rose early, donned a black robe, looked in the mirror and saw the Wicked Witch of the West.  So she changed into a light green one. She took a good look at her face and confirmed that she did bear a striking resemblance to Javi. Is this the image of God? Maybe. A person’s death should eliminate human traits and express Godly traits, she surmised. 

She sauntered into town to peer into the restaurants and shops. The streets were filled with friendly people who introduced themselves or touched her hand as they passed. She occasionally saw two people walk up to each other and touch hands, wriggling their fingers, bending their wrists, and tapping fingertips, all four hands busily communicating in a high speed sign language.  But mostly, people communicated orally, and she heard it in English. There were lots of smiles and hugs. These people are so kind she thought, believing she could easily grow to love this place and these people. She truly wanted to belong to this wonderful community since this is where God put her. It affected her in a surprising way—like wind was blowing though her mind, expanding it and opening it up. She thought she heard voices; no, whispers of words. How calming.

Main Street was lined with robe stores, wildlife supply shops, shampoo and lotion shops, game shops and bookstores. Sarah noticed that all the restaurants were vegan. There was a town hall, library, and theater. In a park she noticed little round, furry balls, rolling about. Hmm, a new kind of animal, she thought. 

She passed by some people talking in one word sentences.

“Food. No,” said one to another.

“Now. Food. Later. Play,” said the other.

“Bull. Tiger. Farm.”


I wonder where they are from, she laughed. She walked down a lane to find a mill grinding grain into flour. The mill structure was roughly hewn boards making three walls and a large roof. Empty carts lined a large wooden platform. Next to a large pile of sacks was a giant gadget which, Sarah thought, filled the sacks with flour. She watched the millstone for a while, a huge wheel-shaped stone on an axis, unable to ascertain how it turned unassisted.

Suddenly, she was startled by a person who came up behind her and gave her a firm hug. 

“Welcome to Mill Creek! My dear Soul, it is an honor to greet you on this beautiful day, beautiful day! The Brightness of the Beyond is great and your joy will be complete!”

That was by far the happiest greeting Sarah ever heard in her life. She smiled wide and turned, expecting to see a grinning old man, but of course it was a person whose face and body looked just like her own. “Th-thank you! My name is Sarah.”

“And I am Aron, the miller here. Unfortunate we have not met before, not before this. Are you new to Resta?”

“Yes, I am,” said Sarah with a gentle breeze wafting through her mind. “I am curious what turns the stone.”

“An underground river powers this mill to provide all the meal and flour for Sedona, for our little town! We are grinding wheat today. Would you like to place an order?”

“Oh, no,” said Sarah. “I don’t have plans to do any baking. I’m just learning my way around and meeting new people.”

“Well, I am delighted, so delighted, you strolled down this lane to meet me. Would you like a job?” He laughed and gave her another great big hug, lifting her briefly off the ground.

“A job?” said Sarah, surprised at the question and the lift. She hadn’t thought about finding a job. It took a moment to formulate a response. “I don’t think I’m ready to commit to a job. I’m still trying to understand why I’m here. But thanks for the offer!”

Aron was glad to meet the newcomer. He didn’t have to delve behind her eyes too much to know that she was an honest open person, no threat to anyone, and no preconceived notion how Planet Resta could benefit her.

Sarah turned and walked quickly toward the town. What a happy person! How can a person be so happy? Is he that happy every day? She loved the way Aron spoke in sing-songy phrases, a rhythmical cadence so easy to listen to. And did he have an aura? Yes, she thought so. 

Suddenly, a person jogged past her toward the mill. Thrusting arms into the air, he said to Aron, “I can’t find Paul. Curses! I can’t find Paul.”

Aron gave instructions to the other mill workers, and several of them headed off in different directions. Sarah wanted to help, but she didn’t know the person and didn’t really know the town. So she headed to Main Street, entered a bakery and asked for a chocolate croissant. She shook her head when she realized she didn’t have any money, then remembered from the restaurant the previous night that there was no money. Good. 


Hi folks, I'm delighted to announce that I have now published my novel 'The Hammond Conjecture' on Amazon Kindle. It's an alternate-history comic sci-fi psycho-techno-thriller. I plan to run a three-day free book promotion starting 1st November, so please take advantage to download a copy then. The url is

Please let me know of any glitches or typos. All feedback and reviews very welcome too.

All the best, martin reed


I will return every critique I receive with a critique in kind (though it may take me a while to get round to).

I've been doing a mentorship with The Literary Consultancy, London (actually thought they were the same as JW originally, but that's a story for another time...) and they are going to feature the first 2000 words of my manuscript on their website in November. 

My mentor has read and critiqued it already, but I'm looking for as many fresh eyes to input on it as possible. Please see the file I will attach for critique.

I need to get the final draft of the extract to TLC by October 16th, so it's a bit of a tight turnaround!

The manuscript is a YA sci-fi novel called Captain Weakling. 

Many thanks,