Book Review: Dark Space

Dark Space, sci-fi, science fiction, space operaDark Space, by Jasper T. Scott is a rollicking space opera that kicks off a series of books in high adventure fashion.  This review is based on the Kindle edition, this book is also available in paperback.

The Dark Space Story

Ethan Ortane is captain of a badly beat up space freighter, he already owes crime boss Alec Brondi a lot of money for previous repairs and now Ethan and his female sidekick are on the run.  But you can’t hide from Brondi.

When Brondi catches them he forces Ethan into a deal he doesn’t want.  A deal that would mean he would be responsible for the loss of a great many lives.

Our setting is a place called Dark Space, a galaxy within a shell of black holes.  Once used as a dumping ground for convicts it is now the final refuge of humanity’s remnants as they flee a merciless invasion by the Sythians who are bent on the extinction of all humankind.

There are several sub-plots that wind around one another to propel the events of the story.  There are surprises and twists too.


The main characters in Dark Space are fairly strong.  They’re a little slow to build, but by the end of the book I felt I knew them well enough to care about them.  This will, no doubt build in the subsequent books.

Dark Space Dialogue

Dialogue was fairly natural, never cornball, but not always as smooth as I’ve seen.  Part of this is the slow bonding with the characters: if the reader does not know the character well, it’s hard to say if a statement is natural for them.

The Technical

This is where I beat up some self-published books pretty badly.  Not so here.  I found three obvious editorial errors: two instances of a misspelled word that makes it a properly spelled word, but the wrong word for the sentence (i.e. “is” instead of “it”) and a repeated word that should not have been. Not perfect, but above the curve.

Dark Space & the Wow Factor

The main “what’s new about this” factor is the idea of a small galaxy hidden inside a cluster of black holes and this left me squinting sideways at the idea.  The rest is fairly stock Sci-Fi/fantasy stuff: FTL drives, gravity plating, inertial cancelation, beam weapons.  I will give him credit for using a fair number of missiles and projectile weapons, including missiles that split down (like a fireworks rocket) into multiple warheads that acquire and track a target.

For me, the greatest impression was made by the deviousness of some of the characters.

The Envelope Please

No failures in any of the above categories.  Weakness in a few of them means I’ll call this one a 4 out of 5 star read.  And I look forward to Dark Space 2, due out in July 2013, which ought to build on the foundation laid here and be an even better read.

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