Bang. Crash. Zzzz-ttt. Dweedle-dweedle-dweedle. There are the super-sci-fi noises. Now throw in cool outer-space nouns (Mens Reppola, Mordu, Catalyst-class destroyer, Allotek “Regatta” shuttle, Sigma-Two), some really evil dudes and a cliffhanger or two, and shazam, you’ve started a series.
It worked for Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers back in the day. But EVE Online is a more rarified sort of entertainment with lots more conventions; to dig this book and the ones that will be marching behind it like droids after Jar Jar Binks, you may well have to have been one of the few zillion players to have dropped in on the game online. This isn’t the first book to be based on a game, but it’ll likely make some readers long for the days when games were based on books. That said, this is perfectly competent, perfectly standard, perfectly interchangeable science fiction: All the elements are there, from the chases and explosions to the love interest and evil minions of a very unpleasant space emperor. Gonzales, author of two previous EVE Online novellas, brings the setup up to date for our Occupy Wall Street days by positing the suzerainty of an evil corporation (scratch that—Philip K. Dick and Frank Herbert were there first) tied up tightly with an oppressive government. But who’s in charge? There’s the rub, though we imagine that “State Executor Tibus Heth” has a lot of oomph, given the sheer bad-assedness of his name. So it is that the corporation serves up its citizens to be gnawed on by destiny, “sent to die anonymously in the ongoing war with the Gallente Federation.” Who can stop such untidy things from happening? Who can bust up the empire and save humankind? Hmm. Well, we do have this intergalactic outlaw named Templar One…
It unfolds, and it is what it is. Librarians who host MPGs or otherwise serve a large audience of lonely young men and EVE Online fanatics will want to have it—scratch that, need to have it. Others can easily live without.