Dark Space: Humanity is Defeated is the first book of six in the Dark Space series by Jasper T. Scott. There are also three books in an accompanying series Dark Space Universe. When I signed up for Jasper’s newsletter, I received a copy for free and reached out to him. I was not disappointed.
Once Ethan started down a road, he never looked back. It was looking forward he sometimes had trouble with—whether that meant moving on from his wife, Destra, or simply looking to the future with something more than abject pessimism.
As the human race began to spread across the universe, building portals to cross large distances, they did not go unnoticed. When the Sythians attacked, people fought back. However, the Sythian’s superior numbers and ability to cloak their ships from sight soon gave them the advantage and humans became the latest casualty in their galaxy-wide reign of terror. The last survivors use the gates to reach Dark Space, a corner of the universe generally inhospitable and once used as a penal colony. They live their lives under the rule of the Imperium, the only form of law left. The ISS is responsible for guarding the gate from Sythian attack. While their backs are turned, crime runs rampant in Dark Space at the end of the human race.
A vast backdrop of stars sparkled all around Ethan’s head, just on the other side of the nova interceptor’s thin transpiranium cockpit canopy. The stars seemed so close he could touch them, but Ethan couldn’t allow himself to be distracted by the view. He targeted the nearest enemy fighter and brought the red brackets under his crosshairs.
Ethan Ortane is no stranger to crime. An ex-con who was already exiled to Dark Space when the Sythian’s attacked, Ethan is a smuggler on the run from Alec Brondi. Brondi runs the crime syndicate in Dark Space and Ethan owes him money for fixing his ship. When Brondi finally catches up with him, he takes Ethan’s ship and co-pilot captive and makes him an offer he can’t refuse. All Ethan has to do is one little job and he will be free and clear. He just has to destroy the Imperium.
With no plan and no backup, Ethan assumes the identity of an ISS soldier and boards the Valiant, their fleet carrier. He soon realizes that the ISS is involved in much more than merely guarding the gate to Dark Space and that Brondi was less than truthful with him about his role on the Valiant. Fighting for his life and faced with shocking revelations, Ethan must make a choice that will change the fate of the human race forever.
“Whenever I see that ship, I see the ISS. I see 10,000 years of accumulated civilization. I see the endless beaches and crystal blue waters of Hanlay; the urban utopias of Advistine, Gorvin, and Clementa, but most of all I see the soaring snow-covered mountains of Roka IV, the skies purpling just before a storm; I see the canyon cities and the glarier parks…” Ethan turned from the transpiranium to find the overlord standing beside him, looking at him curiously. Ethan shook his head sadly. “And then I try to imagine it all gone, but I can’t.”
This book was remarkably well written and edited. I found no typos in the book as I was reading and the writing style was fast-paced and engaging. The plot flows beautifully, with enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing without being overdone. The characters are flawed and disreputable and wonderfully human.
Personally, I adore science fiction but I find it a challenge to find truly well written books that manage to walk the delicate balance between suspension of disbelief and enough explanation of the science fiction elements to make sense of the world. Scott is an expert world-builder, drawing me into the universe of Dark Space with its nova fighters and beam cannons and space gates. There are no lengthy explanations of mechanics or political treatises. Instead, the important information is seamlessly woven into the story in a way that allows readers to understand without taking them out of the plot.
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Dark Space is a magnificent blend of Firefly, Stargate, and Ender’s Game, keeping readers of any of these franchises hooked from the very first page. The book is ranked #9 in Amazon’s Kindle Store under Prime Reading Science Fiction and #11 on Amazon in the category Cyberpunk Science Fiction. It is the best space based science fiction novel that I have read in years and I can’t wait to dive into the rest of this intriguing series as soon as I get the chance.