A look at the charts

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Today I’ve decided to check out the lastest top ten in the Kindle’s Science Fiction & Fantasy chart, the basic idea is to understand a bit more about what’s trendy on the market and state a bit of facts about it. If you want to be a professional you have to understand the markets you’re in and what the most part of the public is reading. So buckle up your seat belts, we’re in for a ride!

Place #10 in the chart is for “Pennsylvania“, a novel by Michael Bunker for Refugio Publishing (here); this is the book description:

Young Amishman Jedidiah Troyer is now a traveler. He’s signed up for an emigration program that is colonizing the planet of New Pennsylvania. He just wants to start a farm and homestead on affordable land in a new Amish community. Space pioneering isn’t as easy as it sounds when you’re “plain.” Jedidiah and his new friend Dawn arrive on New Pennsylvania in the middle of a rebel uprising, and TRACE, the resistance group that is rising up against TRANSPORT, has taken on the mission of getting Jed from the City to the Amish Zone. Being a stranger in the old world doesn’t even compare to being a stranger in a new world… a world that is at war and where nothing is what it seems.

So we have: space colonization, rebel uprising, a bit of romance and a number of plot twist under way.  246 reviews for a 4.3 out of 5 stars average, just for 1.11 $ (Kindle Edition).

Place #9 in the chart is for “The Rosie Project“, a novel by Graeme Simsion for Simon & Schuster (here); this the book description:

The international bestselling romantic comedy featuring the oddly charming, socially challenged genetics professor, Don, as he seeks true love. The art of love is never a science: Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers. Rosie Jarman possesses all these qualities. Don easily disqualifies her as a candidate for The Wife Project (even if she is “quite intelligent for a barmaid”). But Don is intrigued by Rosie’s own quest to identify her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on The Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie―and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you.

Here we have LOTS of romance and a tiny frame of science fiction. Actually this book is not available for the purchase. 6.707 reviews for a 4.5 out of 5 stars average.

Place #8 in the chart is for “The Martian“, a novel by Andy Weir for Brodaway Books (here); this the book description:

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

I’m quite partisan here, Weir hit the jackpot with this novel and I love this kind of story. It’s hard sci-fi at its best. This book is not available for the purchase, 7.146 reviews for 4.6 out of 5 stars average.

Place #7 in the chart is for “Warship“, a self-product novel by Joshua Dalzelle (here); this is the book description:

In the 25th century humans have conquered space. The advent of faster-than-light travel has opened up hundreds of habitable planets for colonization, and humans have exploited the virtually limitless space and resources for hundreds of years with impunity. So complacent have they become with the overabundance that armed conflict is a thing of the past, and their machines of war are obsolete and decrepit. What would happen if they were suddenly threatened by a terrifying new enemy? Would humanity fold and surrender, or would they return to their evolutionary roots and meet force with force? One ship—and one captain—will soon be faced with this very choice. Against incredible odds, Jackson Wolfe is determined to save humanity–and in the process, might end up saving himself.

Hello Mr. Dalzelle! This is one of the self-publishing stars of the genre. Space opera and war, a real classic for the plot. 80 reviews for a 4.6 out of 5 start average, price set to 3.84 $.

Place #6 in the chart is for “A Shade of Vampire“, a self-product novel by Bella Forest (here); this is the book description:

On the evening of Sofia Claremont’s seventeenth birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake. A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a pale creature that craves much more than her blood. She is kidnapped to The Shade, an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine. An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains. Sofia’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is selected out of hundreds of girls to take up residence in the tree-top palace of Derek Novak, the dark royal prince. Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night. Will she succeed? Or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?

Well, this is another self-publishing star. Vampire and romance, with more than a shade from other books in the same genre. Oriented for a very targeted audience, by the look of it. 4.015 reviews for a 4.3 out of 5 stars average, price set to 1.24 $

Place #5 in the chart is for “Burned“, a novel by Karen Marie Moning for Delacorte Press (here); this is the book description:

It’s easy to walk away from lies. Power is another thing. MacKayla Lane would do anything to save the home she loves. A gifted sidhe-seer, she’s already fought and defeated the deadly Sinsar Dubh—an ancient book of terrible evil—yet its hold on her has never been stronger.  When the wall that protected humans from the seductive, insatiable Fae was destroyed on Halloween, long-imprisoned immortals ravaged the planet. Now Dublin is a war zone with factions battling for control. As the city heats up and the ice left by the Hoar Frost King melts, tempers flare, passions run red-hot, and dangerous lines get crossed. Seelie and Unseelie vie for power against nine ancient immortals who have governed Dublin for millennia; a rival band of sidhe-seers invades the city, determined to claim it for their own; Mac’s former protégé and best friend, Dani “Mega” O’Malley, is now her fierce enemy; and even more urgent, Highland druid Christian MacKeltar has been captured by the Crimson Hag and is being driven deeper into Unseelie madness with each passing day. The only one Mac can depend on is the powerful, dangerous immortal Jericho Barrons, but even their fiery bond is tested by betrayal. It’s a world where staying alive is a constant struggle, the line between good and evil is blurred, and every alliance comes at a price. In an epic battle against dark forces, Mac must decide who she can trust, and what her survival is ultimately worth.

Oh my, this look like an all-out magic war. Clans, families and a taste for epic. Not my cup of tea, I have to say. 336 reviews for a 4.0 out of 5 stars average. Price set to 14.56 $

Place #4 in the chart is for “Outlander“, a novel by Diana Gabaldon for Dell (here); this is the book description:

While on her second honeymoon in the British Isles, Claire touches a boulder that hurls her back in time to the forbidden Castle Leoch with the MacKenzie clan. Not understanding the forces that brought her there, she becomes ensnared in life-threatening situations with a Scots warrior named James Fraser. But it isn’t all spies and drudgery that she must endure. For amid her new surroundings and the terrors she faces, she is lured into love and passion like she’s never known before. “I was lame and sore in every muscle when I woke next morning. I shuffled to the privy closet, then to the wash basin. My innards felt like churned butter. It felt as though I had been beaten with a blunt object, I reflected, then thought that that was very near the truth. The blunt object in question was visible as I came back to bed, looking now relatively harmless. Its possessor [Jamie] woke as I sat next to him, and examined me with something that looked very much like male smugness.”

Magic leading to time travel… I’ve already read something like that. Anyway, Ms. Gabaldon is just great when it comes to romance and history. This book is not available for the purchase, 10.458 reviews for a 4.5 out of 5 stars average.

All right, we’re heading for the the podium right now. So far it’s two self-publishing novel out of eight and three books that are not available.

Bronze medal is for “Saint Odd“, a novel by Dean Koontz for Bantam (here); this is the book description:

Odd Thomas is back where it all started . . . because the time has come to finish it. Since he left his simple life in the small town of Pico Mundo, California, his journey has taken him to places strange and wonderful, mysterious and terrifying. Across the land, in the company of mortals and spirits alike, he has known kindness and cruelty, felt love and loss, saved lives and taken them—as he’s borne witness to humanity’s greatest good and darkest evil. Again and again, he has gone where he must and done what he had to do—for better or worse—with his courage and devotion sorely tested, and his soul forever changed. Every triumph has been hard won. Each sacrifice has taken its toll.  Now, whatever destiny drives him has finally steered his steps home, where those he cares for most surround him, the memory of his tragically lost true love haunts him, and one last challenge—vast and dreadful—awaits him. For Odd Thomas, born to serve a purpose far greater than himself, the wandering is done. Only the reckoning remains.

This is from a great veteran, Mr. Koontz is a legend in his own field. Supernatural, horror, modern fantasy, you name the game and he’s on top. 301 reviews for a 4.6 out of 5 stars average, the price is set on 14.21 $

Silver medal is for “The Atlantis Gene“, a novel by A. G. Riddle for Riddle Inc. (let’s say it’s self-publishing, OK?). The link is here, this is the book description:

The Immari are good at keeping secrets. For 2,000 years, they’ve hidden the truth about human evolution. They’ve also searched for an ancient enemy–a threat that could wipe out the human race. Now the search is over. Off the coast of Antarctica, a research vessel discovers a mysterious structure buried deep in an iceberg. It has been there for thousands of years, and something is guarding it. As the Immari rush to execute their plan, a brilliant geneticist makes a discovery that could change everything. Dr. Kate Warner moved to Jakarta, Indonesia to escape her past. She hasn’t recovered from what happened to her, but she has made an incredible breakthrough: a cure for autism. Or so she thinks. What she has found is far more dangerous–for her and the entire human race. Her work could be the key to the next stage of human evolution. In the hands of the Immari, it would mean the end of humanity as we know it. Agent David Vale has spent ten years trying to stop the Immari. Now he’s out of time. His informant is dead. His organization has been infiltrated. His enemy is hunting him. But when David receives a coded message related to the Immari attack, he risks everything to save the one person that can help him solve it: Dr. Kate Warner. Together, Kate and David must race to unravel a global conspiracy and learn the truth about the Atlantis Gene… and human origins. Their journey takes them to the far corners of the globe and into the secrets of their pasts. The Immari are close on their heels and will stop at nothing to obtain Kate’s research and force the next stage of human evolution–even if it means killing 99.9% of the world’s population. David and Kate can stop them… if they can trust each other. And stay alive.

Oh my! The good old smell of conspiracy, mixed with a bit a science fiction and a chunk of Mulder-Scully romance. 8.973 reviews for a 4.2 out of 5 stars average, price set to 4.00 $

Gold medal is for “Departure“, a novel by A. G. Riddle for Riddle Inc. (still the same guy!). Here’s the link, this is the book description:

Flight 305 took off in 2014… But it crashed in a world very different from our own… With time running out, five strangers must unravel why they were taken… And how to get home.
Harper Lane has problems. In a few hours, she’ll have to make a decision that will change her life forever. But when her flight from New York to London crash-lands in the English countryside, she discovers that she’s made of tougher stuff than she ever imagined. As Harper and the survivors of Flight 305 struggle to stay alive in the aftermath of the crash, they soon realize that this world is very different from the one they left. Their lives are connected, and some believe they’ve been brought here for a reason. In addition to Harper, several other passengers seem to hold clues about why Flight 305 crashed. There’s: Nick Stone, an American on his way to a meeting with The Gibraltar Project, an international group dedicated to building a dam across the Strait of Gibraltar and draining the Mediterranean. Sabrina Schröder, a German scientist who has unknowingly sealed the fate of half the flight’s passengers. Yul Tan, a Chinese-American computer scientist who has just made the breakthrough of a lifetime: a quantum internet capable of transmitting more data, farther, faster than ever thought possible. His invention, however, does much more than he ever dreamed possible. With time running out to save the survivors of Flight 305, Harper and Nick race to unravel the conspiracy that crashed their plane. As they put the pieces together, they discover that their decisions have already doomed one world and will soon determine the future of ours.

This Riddle guy got himself a fantastic 2014 and also started this year at high speed (kudos!). 901 reviews for a 4.4 out of 5 stars average, price set to 3.86 $.

Surprise, surprise! Two of the three top books are from and indie author and that makes five out to ten in the list. That’s encouracing, isn’t it? Also, more than half of the list can be seriously connected to the science fiction genre. What more? Yes, you can’t escape from the romance factor – no matter how good you may be while plotting your novel. All right, time to go back and write some more…

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