A fun, fast-paced sci-fi space opera, Dark Space by Jasper T. Scott (@JasperTScott) opens with a slam-bang action sequence before skipping back in time a few days to show the events leading up to that point in time. Along the way there is plenty more action, some intrigue and a few plot twists to keep the reader on his or her toes.
After losing a devastating war against the alien Sythians, humanity retreats to a far-off and hidden corner of the galaxy: Dark Space. Protected by a sealed jump-gate that is guarded by most of the few Imperium of Star Systems (ISS) military units that survived the war, the remaining humans eke out a tenuous existence in the part of space where they once exiled prisoners.
Lack of visible authorities means crime is rampant, and protagonist Ethan Ortane is in deep debt to Brondi, one of the most powerful criminals in Dark Space. Brondi has an idea of how that debt can be worked off, and therein lies the story of how Ethan comes to be in that all-out battle at the start of the story. To say much more would spoil the story for new readers.
I can’t say there is anything new, per se, with the “science” in this fiction. Anyone familiar with mainstream sci-fi shows like Battlestar Galactica or Star Trek will feel comfortable enough in the setting, with jump drives, cloaking, energy beam weapons, body implants, holograms, etc. The “techno” doesn’t get so outlandish that it interferes with the plot, something I appreciated.
The plot moves along quickly but there are moments to savor, especially when Ethan discovers the view commonly held in Dark Space about the ISS doesn’t quite match up with reality. Also, it was interesting to work back to the opening sequence and revisit it after learning all that happened beforehand.
I’m still coming to terms with one twist near the end, but the author does an excellent job setting up a sequel with some tantalizing hints of things to come in the final chapter. I am definitely looking forward to finding out what happens next.
For more on Mr. Scott and his writing, visit his website.