Shared worlds are chiefly a fantasy phenomenon — Thieves’ World, Liavek, Merovingen Nights, Heroes in Hell, Wild Cards — but not exclusively. In 2012, bestselling author Eric Brown created Weird Space, a shared world for Abaddon Books. Here’s an excerpt from the original press release.
This thrilling space-opera series will begin with the release of The Devil’s Nebula. Brown will introduce readers to the human smugglers, veterans and ne’erdowells who are part of the Expansion – and their uneasy neighbors, the Vetch Empire. When an evil race threatens not only the Expansion, but the Vetch too — an evil from another dimension which infests humans and Vetch alike and bends individuals to do their hideous bidding, only cooperation between them means the difference between a chance of survival and no chance at all.
Four novels have been written so far:
The Devil’s Nebula by Eric Brown (350 pages, May 29, 2012)
Satan’s Reach by Eric Brown (281 pages, July 30, 2013)
The Baba Yaga by Eric Brown and Una McCormack (332 pages, July 1, 2015)
The Star of the Sea by Una McCormack (297 pages, October 25, 2016)
All four were published by Abaddon, priced at $7.99 in paperback, and $5.99 for the digital editions. The covers are by Adam Tredowski.
Principally an introduction to Weird Space, which is to say Abaddon Books’ latest shared world setting, The Devil’s Nebula is a novel as fun and undemanding as — and not a lot longer than — any episode of Farscape or Firefly…
Now The Devil’s Nebula is never boring; I’ll give it that, and gladly. It’s forgettable, yes — and inelegant, assuredly — but so very fast as to speed past, and feisty enough to excite at times. If its primary purpose was simply to set the scene for a strange shared world wherein anything and everything science-fictional can happen, then in that respect it’s a runaway success. Weird Space is like The Lost Fleet meets Mass Effect, and as in the first installments of these similar series, one senses the best is yet to come.
Starburst Magazine called The Baba Yaga “A classic sci-fi romp, filled with old school action.” In his review of the same book, Mark Chitty at SFF World welcomed the addition of Una McCormack to the author roster.
Una McCormack is stepping into the fold for this third novel. I was initially drawn to the Weird Space books as a big fan of Eric Brown’s work despite not being entirely convinced about a shared universe series, and it’s only now that the series is fulfilling its promise with the introduction of a new author to it. While I had obvious worries about The Baba Yaga due to this, I really shouldn’t have – McCormack brings a fresh voice to the setting that only builds upon Brown’s foundations…
The Baba Yaga can easily be read as a stand-alone novel – Brown and McCormack lay enough information within the narrative for a newcomer to pick up and not feel lost. It’s also helpful that each book so far has a new cast of characters and relatively self-contained story… Both Brown and McCormack have managed to deliver a varied and diverse cast of characters, all of which bring something extra to the page.
Here’s the description for the opening novel in the series, The Devil’s Nebula.
Ed Carew and his small ragtag crew are smugglers and ne’erdo- wells, thumbing their noses at the Expansion, the vast human hegemony extending across thousands of worlds… until the day they are caught, and offered a choice between working for the Expansion and an ignominious death. They must trespass across the domain of humanity’s neighbours, the Vetch – the inscrutable alien race with whom humanity has warred, at terrible cost of
life, and only recently arrived at an uneasy peace – and into uncharted space beyond, among the strange worlds of the Devil’s Nebula, looking for long-lost settlers.
A new evil threatens not only the Expansion itself, but the Vetch as well. In the long run, the survival of both races may depend on their ability to lay aside their differences and co-operate.
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