Narrator: William Dufris
Series: Dark Space #1
Published by Audible Studios on 20 January 2014
Length: 5 hrs and 59 mins
Genres: Hard Science Fiction
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Humanity is defeated.
Ten years ago the Sythians invaded the galaxy with one goal: to wipe out the human race.
They are hiding.
Now the survivors are hiding in the last human sector of the galaxy: Dark Space--once a place of exile for criminals, now the last refuge of mankind.
They are isolated.
The once galaxy-spanning Imperium of Star Systems is left guarding the gate which is the only way in or out of Dark Space--but not everyone is satisfied with their governance.
©2013 Jasper T. Scott (P)2014 Audible Inc.
I wanted to sink my teeth into some strong, hard science fiction and Dark Space by Jasper T. Scott landed in my lap. My teeth looked it at and said, “I’ll sink into that.”
So I hit play on Dark Space, and sat back to enjoy William Dufris’ reading of it.
For the most part, Dark Space is a very enjoyable (if thin and light) science fiction novella. Calling it a novel seems unfair as the audio clocks in at under six hours and the book itself is just 200 pages long. Comfortably I’d say it’s a novella.
Perhaps Dark Space’s greatest strength is clever concept of how humanity is hidden away in a galaxy surrounded by black holes. This ‘dark space’ has given our race a second chance after being nearly wiped out in a war against the alien Sythian race. People who have survived in the dark space region(previously a penal colony) are harder, darker and generally tougher because of the difficult times.
The main character Ethan Ortane is typical space opera fare. He’s a down on his luck pilot with a debt to pay and when his debtor catches up to him, he’s given an offer that will set his debt straight; sabotage the ship that guards the entrance to dark space. I don’t think I need to spell out that messing with the line of defense of the last place humans are safe is a pretty bad idea, and that it won’t be worth it to Ethan to do it.
Buuuut that’s no fun, and if Ethan didn’t jump into the convoluted plot there’d be no book to listen to. Luckily Dark Space starts out with an exciting space dogfight so you can get into it quickly and enjoy the tempo and forget about the fairly clichéd plot devices. One complaint I had was the lack of actual physics knowledge brought to bear by the author. Ships don’t need rudders or stabilizers in a zero gravity environment to steer. Had the book been advertised as something other than ‘hard science fiction’ those little errors would be no big deal, but when you say you’re hard on science, go hard on the science.
The book attempts a few twists towards the end to avoid what looks like the obvious, but in the end it does what I expected it to. It entertained me, but didn’t blow me away.
WIlliam Dufris is a competent and pleasant narrator. He has great range of voice and reads at a very good clip. I didn’t need to speed up the reading at all and felt like the book moved quite well. I’ll check out other books he’s put his voice to. I did experience a slight tinny quality to the audio, but messing with the levels fixed it easily.
Overall Dark Space is a short and entertaining listen that’s soft on science but long on potential.