So I finally knocked the last of the short stories in the collection off the “To Readificate” list. Now I know what you’re thinking.
“HOLY OXFORD ENGLISH ERRORS BATMAN!”
Relax. It’s okay, I’m just messing around. I know I left the second “o” off of “To. I has an English degree you know.
I have to preface my little blurb here by saying this is not for everyone. Obviously. No bit of writing is gleefully consumed by every single person who reads. Genre, themes, yadda, yadda, and also yadda, appeals to differently to different people. Different tastes. Different strokes. And that just opens a whole other can of Annelids, Nematodes, and Platyhelminthes. (You just got scienced!)
This is a science-fiction collection. Or sci-fi if that’s how you want to roll with it. Hell, SyFy if you’re trendy. That fact alone cuts the prospective pool of readers likely to read it by a bit. I don’t know why you wouldn’t read science-fiction but that is a tirade for another day.
On top of that, it’s sci-fi set in a game universe. I feel like there is a bias against these sorts of stories, a strange idea that because they take place in a video game setting its automatically sub par. There is no less value there my friend. It’s just doesn’t make sense especially since you could really make a game out of anything. (I feel it worthwhile to mention that it does sport a couple of video game titles but the franchise started as and will forever be a table top wargame)
Pride and Prejudice? Okay, maybe that wouldn’t be a title that makes it to the top of every gamers list but come one. It’s possible. Actually it strikes me as a game that would prove rather challenging.
Trying to choose the right witty comebacks during all the silly sister encounters, trying to build up relationship points with Mr Darcy so that you not only beat the game by marrying him, but also gather enough extra to unlock the surprise Donald Sutherland film outtakes!
I bet there would be a lot of Keira Knightley mo-cap.
I’m sorry, that went somewhere strange.
Right so, summing up here.
- Sci-Fi good. Read it.
- Books set in game universes are frequently just as good as anything else. Give it a chance.
- Keira Knightley mo-cap. Meh.
So what about the stories?
I liked them. I am a big fan of the game, Warhammer. I play it myself so getting to learn a little more about the exploits of the some of the more heroic individuals was fun for me from a fan perspective. In addition the dark, gritty, gothic tone of the writing is right up my alley. Every once in a while the grim, often violent tales are an appreciated distraction.
Each piece spans a healthy variety of characters from the everyday man to the conscripted soldier. From children to the super-human protectors of mankind, the Space Marines. And even chaos, the classic villain of the universe gets to weigh in from its own perspective.
One thing that stood out to me was the strength of the human spirit, of hope in the face of adversity. There were stories of survival and stories that asked, just how far would you go? When was it too much? What would you be willing to sacrifice for the greater good of not only your friends and family, but your very species?
One of my biggest draws to the universe as a whole is humanity’s view of machines which has evolved to the point of possessing religious value. Machines no longer serve simply as tools to extend the capabilities of man but provide a focus of faith and the development of some really interesting plot arcs and characters.
The Cult of the Machine God, a priestly institution based on Mars, is one of the most interesting groups to appear in the stories. They remind me of the transhumanist and of the singularity that Ray Kurzweil talks about. LOVE THIS STUFF.
The stories are short enough to read a couple in a sitting but lengthy enough to allow characters to develop to the point of holding your interest while remaining at a constant pace. And, being true to a future where man is besieged on all sides by aliens and dark gods, it’s a fast pace.
All I am saaaaayinggggg, is give Sci-Fi a chaaaaance.