SPSFC Quarterfinalist Review: The Solid-State Shuffle by Jeffrey A. Ballard

As our SPSFC team finishes reading our ten quarterfinalists out of our first round allotment, I will be posting review roundups and official scores. As you read our thoughts on these ten books, keep in mind that we have a variety of tastes on this team, and a low score does not necessarily indicate a bad book. One or two (or even all four!) judges bouncing hard off a book can tank a score and keep it from advancing in this competition, but that doesn’t mean the same book might not be perfect for another reader.

Today, we look at a fast-paced heist novel in an underwater post-apocalyptic Seattle, Jeffrey A. Ballard’s The Solid-State Shuffle.

Jay’s Review and Rating

Not liking the lead—and not in a fascinating antihero sort of way, just in an immature and annoying sort of way—does provide a pretty significant mark against it, but The Solid-State Shuffle has a fast enough pace and intriguing enough plot to be pretty fun anyways. If you don’t have the same problems I do with juvenile insults, this one is worth a look.

Jay has rated The Solid-State Shuffle 6.5/10. For more detail, see his full review.

Esme’s Review and Rating

I was not able to get into this one almost exclusively because of the main character. She was on the younger side but acted even younger than her age. The MC kept using the word “mansies, man panties, man-whatever” to insult whoever was around her, it was unbelievably off-putting and each time it happened I got increasingly annoyed with it. Without the incredibly obnoxious MC it could have been a fun futuristic heist novel. It was quick and well-paced so I was able to get through it.

Esme has rated The Solid-State Shuffle 5/10.

Lilyn’s Review and Rating

The writing could use some red penning to restrain the author’s meanderings about things that don’t pertain to the plot, as well as to make the MC into someone not so abrasive and with a personality that’s more than mostly snark. The action is solid, the pace is pretty good, and I ended up enjoying myself more that I thought I was going to based on how I was feeling at the 30 percent mark.

Lilyn has rated The Solid-State Shuffle 6.5/10.

Bill’s Review and Rating

While The Solid-State Shuffle is fairly formulaic I found it well done.  Some of the word choices struck me as just off, but not too many.  And so much time was spent describing food, drinks, rooms, and tabletops. The description is good, but this was a bit too much. The characters have a decent shot at developing character arcs, and while I enjoyed their storylines, I’ll have to add once again that they largely fit into a lot of what I’ve read before. One special note is that the MC Ilsa struck me as endearing in a flawed sort of way, partly because that humanized her. We all have flaws. But I can easily imagine how she could have turned some readers off.

Bill has rated The Solid-State Shuffle 6.5/10. For more detail, see his full review.

Official Scores

Jay 6.5
Esme 5
Lilyn 6.5
Bill 6.5
Team 6



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *