Book Review: Weird Space - The Devil's Nebula / Author: Erric Brown / Publisher: Abaddon Books / Release Date: May 29th
If you took a dash of Blake's 7, a hint of Serenity, stir in some classic science-fiction mystery adventure and then gave it a good shake with a steady hand, the result would be something very similar to Eric Brown’s latest book, The Devil’s Nebula.
The plot follows the adventures of the crew of the battered old starship, The Paradoxical Poet. Said crew is a rag-tag band of space exploring rogues, who are trying to keep a low profile from the totalitarian Expansionist Regime, who also happen to be the largest and most well-equipped faction of humans in the galaxy. The action is well paced, the story familiar enough to make this an effortless read but different and clever enough to entertain and excite. Brown spins a good yarn, and though this isn’t going to win any sort of award for innovation, if they handed out prizes for fun, it’d win hands down.
This is light reading, and that suits the story perfectly. One of the drawbacks with the book is that it’s quite short; at under 300 pages it’s a great choice for someone looking for something to do on a long journey, but it does mean that you’re left wanting more. Elements of this setting are introduced and then left tantalisingly unexplored. Though this adds much needed spice to the world, it also leaves the reader hungry for more detail.
Squeamish types should be warned that Brown has a talent for the strange and Freudian, so some of the descriptions of some of the things in The Devil’s Nebula aren’t for the easily grossed out. Personally I found this added to the sense of cheeky fun that pervades the novel. The book lines itself up nicely for a sequel, and I gather it’s the first in a series. I’d quite like to see more of the crew of The Paradoxical Poet. Let’s hope that, unlike the crew of the Serenity, that this series doesn’t end before it’s time.