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Book Review

Book Cover

Dead Space



Author: B.K. Evenson
Titan Books
RRP: £7.99, US $9.95
ISBN: 978 0 85768 175 1
Available 28 January 2011

Deep beneath a volcanic lake in the Yucatan peninsula something is stirring. The locals think that it is the devil's tail, a horror from their deep ancestral past. For the more sceptical Michael Altman it is a physical anomaly which demands to be explored. Many forces are in play to discover the nature of the construct buried beneath, including the shady DredgerCorp, a military backed organisation which exists to exploits any natural resource, regardless of the methods they have to use. As DredgerCorp and Altman get closer to the truth, the real horror beneath the lake awakes...

Dead Space: Martyr is a new original novel by B. K. Evenson based on the popular Dead Space games, the second of which has recently been released.

It is fair to say that genre books fall into two categories: those which follow the source material and produce a mundane plot and those which take something from the original to create something wholly original, Martyr falls into the latter category.

Fans of the games will be aware of the Unitology's existence and their desire to use an ancient alien artefact to attain eternal life. Of course, within the game information has been relatively sparse, so here we have the story of the original discovery of the Marker and the founding of the movement.

Although rich in story, like many a modern franchise, Dead Space has little to offer that is truly new. Many of the ideas being derivations of others original thoughts, therefore although Evenson is a capable writer he finds it difficult to rise above the level of the source material.

For those expecting a space-based story, I’m sorry to say you’re going to be disappointed, but if you’re looking for a good horror novel, well-constructed and written, then Evenson provides both these things. The book is a good mix of conspiracy, horror and action. There is less descriptions of visceral gore than one would imagine, which may disappoint some fans, personally I thought that the ‘less-is-more’ worked very well for the story.

Altman starts as a curious, but not very influential scientist, who discovers the anomaly, although at this point he does not connect it to the mass nightmares and headaches which have been inflicting everyone living around the lake. Obviously fans of the game think that they know Altman’s fate, but sometimes the journey can be other than you’d expect.

Although better than one could expect, Everson still fails to connect to the mythic possibilities of Altman’s story or provide depth to the story of a man who goes from scientist to godhood. So it leaves Martyr as a better than average genre tie-in novel, but it could have been so much more.


Charles Packer

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