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FX Holden
Core Melt
FX Holden, author

A sci-fi noir story for fans of Blade Runner, Core Melt is a gripping novel of love, betrayal and revolution. Emin Wei is a Hunter class cyber, birthed on the spaceport moon of Orkutsk for a single purpose. Find suspected terrorist Kristen Newgard, judge her, and if guilty, terminate her. Only as he is setting out on his mission, does he learn three other Hunters have gone before him, and none have returned.

Quarter Finalist

Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 8.50 out of 10


Idea: Core Melt unfolds against the backdrop of a futuristic, dystopian society filled with humans and cyborgs (called cybers). Both a love story and a sci-fi thriller, Core Melt is a lot of fun. Holden offers vibrant and effective worldbuilding that will keep readers entranced.

Prose: Holden's prose style is as gripping as ever and fully immerses readers in the narrative. Moments of vagueness in dialogue and description are remedied as the storytelling progresses. 

Originality: Holden utilizes sci-fi conventions to gratifying effect; the familiar elements are imbued with a degree of freshness that prevents the material from feeling derivative. 

Character/Execution: The protagonist is particularly well fleshed out, while the people he interacts with are conveyed very much through his perspective, which is limited. This leaves characters and their motivations a bit difficult to parse out, and sometimes character interactions can feel rushed.


Date Submitted: April 01, 2022