Thought I’d share my review of the book I most recently finished, since I was so excited about it.
by Stephen J. Sweeney
Genre: Science Fiction
4.5 stars out of 5.
“The story was
a whole new world
that never forgot
where it came from.”
I’ve been wanting to read “Project Starfighter” for a long time.
As a kid I played the game released by Parallel Realities over and over again. Even then I adored stories set in space and the idea of one man fighting against an entire corporation to save the universe. The game wasn’t easy either, as timed missions, heavy artillery from the WEAPCO ships, and literal minefields made completing it difficult at the best of times. But I loved the challenge, playing over and over and over, memorising the dialogue from the cut scenes, and falling in love with the characters – Chris, Phoebe, and Ursula.
I even had a soft spot for the villainous Kline Kethlan, despite the fact that I spent months trying to beat the final mission the first time I played through it. (I played the game so much that eventually I was able to complete the entire story in one day, sans any kinds of cheat codes).
You can imagine my excitement when I discovered that the creator of the game had decided to write a novel based on it. I read the sample chapters years ago, enjoyed them and knew I had to buy the book someday.
I was not disappointed. Yes, the writing and dialogue could have been stronger in parts, and there were some disturbing events that happened to the characters that I could have done without – though not described in explicit detail, which I am thankful for, but overall, the story was told well, every plot point being set up and executed nicely. The novel greatly expanded on the world I’d been introduced to in the “Project Starfighter” game, taking us down onto the planets and interacting with the characters at a personal level. I also loved the fact that Ursula got her own viewpoint chapters – even though we spend a lot of the story with Chris, the novel would not work half so well without Ursula, and I almost felt that she carried the main story at times. The second-to-last scene with her was extremely satisfying, and I had a big grin on my face throughout it.
Another aspect of the story that went in a completely different direction than I was expecting was the introduction of Athena. She was such a soft and lovely character, contrasting nicely with her…military profession, shall we say (to avoid spoilers), and I really started to get really attached to her, and was genuinely upset when one of the other characters didn’t accept her as readily. The imagery around her was gorgeous as well, and the moment when she was talking about her namesake and her shield, spear, and helmet stunned me with how meaningful it was.
The direct references to the “Project Starfighter” game delighted me. The story was a whole new world that never forgot where it came from, and I found myself saying the lines out loud – lines that, as I mentioned above – I’d long ago memorised. Lines that came from confrontations with WEAPCO, the mercenaries, or Kline Kethlan, and I had to laugh at the “Humans do it better,” phrase, which was a cheat code for the original game.
The ending was fantastic and didn’t let me down in the slightest, topped off with a short, well crafted epilogue that brought me to tears. I’m not quite ready to let go of this world just yet – and since I still have the game, I don’t have to. Now when I play through it, I’ll have a new version of the story to accompany all the scenes and battles, making it richer and more immersive.
This book took me back to my childhood, my teen years, and I got to relive some of my fondest memories while experiencing something new. I definitely recommend “Project Starfighter” to anyone who loves sci-fi, gaming, or both. 4.5 stars for this truly fantastic escape into a different world.