Recently, I read a space opera called Dark Space by Jasper T. Scott. Although this book didn’t grab me at the beginning, there were enough innovations to keep me reading. Many science fiction fans pay tribute (deliberately or unwittingly) to their screen favorites. This novel blends elements from Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica for sure. It begins “in medias res” with the main character involved in a star fighter to star fighter dogfight, and when it jumps back to the exposition phase, I decided that this novel too much like every other space opera in print and on the screen. However, the use of a “holoskin” to disguise the main character, essentially allowing him to impersonate someone else, is a nifty plot device. So is the use of a “neurochip” inserted into the brain of another character— leaving her appearance as it was, but giving her a whole new personality. In a universe with such devices, the reader (or characters) never seem to know who is friend and who is foe.
Much of the action of Dark Space is like the original BattleStar Galatica; star fighters and ships shooting. This can be fascinating (think David Weber) or just action packed. One reason Weber is fascinating is his ability to craft characters that the reader can love or hate. The core problem with Dark Space is that I just didn’t care who was gonna win those skirmishes.
Dark Space is predictable, except when it isn’t. And it is action packed, but a tad boring. The ending, instead of satisfying the reader, is a build up for part 2. So, I guess I’d give it three stars….
But it was free, and that’s a good price, no doubt because the author is willing to give it away in hopes of selling the sequels. I didn’t go for the second installment, however.