Dead Space: Martyr

Dead Space: Martyr by B. K. EvensonBy Brian Evenson

As my girlfriend knows all too well, I’m an unapologetic gamer. I’m all too capable of sitting down at the computer at ten at night and only realizing that I’ve been playing for eight hours once I see the sun start to come up. I read in something like the same way: I like when I read to fall into another world and stay immersed in it, swimming around in it, only rarely coming up for air.

What I like as both a reader and as a gamer are books and games that are constructed with such attention to detail that you really feel the satisfaction of living inside them. But I also like games and books that don’t solve everything for you, that make you feel like the world goes on well beyond them, that there are other stories just waiting to be told.


Dead Space was a game like that for me. From the moment I started to play, I was hooked. I loved the flickering lighting, the grungy industrial feeling of the world of the USG Ishimura, the deep-seated twistedness that infects every level of the game design. I loved being slowly exposed to the cult-like aspects of Unitology and I was crazy for the vision of a society on the verge of ecological collapse. Not to mention liking how the necromorphs are humans that have been twisted into monsters, and enjoying the variety of violent deaths just waiting for Isaac, and being sometimes frightened enough to find myself physically dodging the screen during gameplay.

All this made me jump at the chance to write Dead Space: Martyr. If someone would have told me even a few years ago that I’d write a novel based on a video game, I probably would have laughed. But I’d spent so much time loving being immersed in the game that it seemed completely natural. Dead Space is a window on a great consistent world, and it was a world I wanted to be part of.

In writing Dead Space: Martyr I set out to answer the questions that hadn’t been answered by the game or the motion comics or the graphic novel. I wanted to see into corners of the world that the game had just hinted at. I was interested in the Unitologists and their founder Michael Altman and, of course, in the discovery of the black marker. I wanted to write something worthy of the game itself, to try to give readers some of the pleasure I’d gotten out of the game and to give them answers worthy of the Dead Space franchise, and I wanted it to work, really work, as a novel. I wanted to cut through the layers of myth surrounding the Unitologists by going back to their beginnings to see what happened behind closed doors.

And most of all I wanted to write the kind of novel that, whether you’ve played Dead Space yet or not, will take you deep into that universe, scare you, creep you out a little, and make you want more.

Dead Space: Martyr (0-7653-2503-9; $14.99), by B.K. Evenson, released from Tor last week. The next entry in the videogame series, Dead Space 2, is due out from EA/Visceral Games in early 2011. For more news and updates, visit the official book page at Tor’s website.


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