Every 16 review copies we get will be placed in a bracket.
For the first round, the Fantastic Reviews judge (usually me, Aaron Hughes, but sometimes Amy Peterson) will read the opening 25 pages of both books. The winner will be the book I most want to continue reading (not necessarily the better book -- how would I even know that after only 25 pages?). The winners advance to the second round.
For the second round, I will read through page 50. The winners advance to the semifinals.
For the semifinals, I will read through page 100.
For the finals, I will read through page 200.
The winner of each bracket will be read completely and reviewed at Fantastic Reviews.
Brackets.We will name four "seeded" books that we're especially looking forward to, with each seeded book placed in a different quarter of the bracket. (So you are welcome to send us your self-published book, just know there's a good chance you'll be playing the role of Prairie View A&M to Catherynne Valente's Kentucky.)
Right to Add Books. We reserve the right to add into the tournament "wild cards," i.e., books that we picked up on our own that we feel inclined to add to the mix. Even if we don't enter them into the tournament, we reserve the right to review other books in addition to the tournament winners, including tournament non-winners -- so if we love both finalists in a bracket, we may review them both.
Right to Decline Books. While our intention is to include all the review copies we receive, we reserve the right to exclude particular books. This is a science fiction, fantasy, and horror site, so if you send us something outside those areas, we may deem it unsuitable for our audience. Also, if we get swamped by self-published books, we may decide to choose the ones that look most interesting, rather than entering them all.
Format. Any printed copies of books sent to us for review are automatically entered. Audio copies sent on CDs are also eligible. Electronic copies are not automatically eligible. We have the right to add e-books as wild cards, but mostly we won't, because (i) the two people who run this site are book collectors who love books as physical objects, and (ii) the biggest reason we're doing this is guilt over all the resources publishers have been putting into printing and shipping us review copies that we've been ignoring; e-books sent to us carry no such guilt burden.
Collections & Anthologies. Single-author collections are eligible. With collections, we will not read from page 1, but will skip first to any previously unpublished stories. Anthologies are not eligible for the tournament; however, we still welcome anthologies, and original stories in them remain eligible for Aaron's Story Recommendation of the Week.
Page Counts. We will count the pages we read from the first page of the story, ignoring blurbs, introductions, dedications, quotes, etc. So if Chapter One begins on page 11, for the first round we will read through page 35 -- and if a chapter ends on page 37, we will probably finish that chapter.
Tournament Dates. Brackets will be dated by the copyright date of the books. If we receive an advance copy of a book previously published in a limited edition, which we never saw, we can pretend the previous edition never happened. Also, we reserve the right to fudge the dates.
Judges' Discretion. All judges' rulings are final. This competition is built around inherently subjective criteria. You are welcome to post on the blog why you disagree with a judge's ruling. But there is no right of appeal.
Submissions. Feel free to send review copies for the tournament to:
P.O. Box 5415
Englewood, CO 80155
If a street address is needed (such as for UPS or FedEx)
6855 S. Dayton St. #5415
Englewood, CO 80112