“Spinward Fringe Broadcast 0: Origins”

Randolph Lalonde

The problem with a book being Book 0 is that you know it’s all setting you up for something. It’s a prologue! Prologues don’t tend to end on “and then everything was great and there was no major conflict left, they all lived happily ever after.”

Which was pretty rough, because I absolutely loved this book and the characters. This feels like the love-child of my favorite parts of Star Trek and FTL. From the former, you’ve got a cast who are all very smart people that are passionate about what they’re doing; that sense of exploration, of a great big galaxy in which there’s trillions of people living their lives, and this group in particular is doing their best to make it a better place for all of them. And from the latter, that feeling of building up, starting with a Default Starship and then customizing it into a lean, mean, fighting machine.1 And, as the plot goes on, the feeling that even after all the upgrades you’ve put into it, there’s still always a bigger bad out there — you remain the scrappy underdog, punching above their weight class, trying to fight the evil hypercorporation.

This is a really fun universe to play around in, is the thought I kept having. I want to see more of it, I want to see where else the characters go to explore. It’s book 0, and I think right now there’s something like 9 more, and I’m hooked; at some point, once I finish reading through my whole gigantic backlog, I’m gonna have to pick up at least Book 1 and see how it is.2

All in all, I loved this book; my biggest complaint is that it was setting me up for the rest of the series, and if the series turns out to be this good, that’s a pretty nice problem to have. Give it a go.3

  1. The fact that the hull is made of “ergranian steel,” which has the never-really-explained property of being able to regenerate when charged with energy from the reactor, adds to that videogame-y feeling – you can heal up in between fights! All it takes is energy, which you have a limitless free supply of courtesy of “the reactors” and some big collecting scoops on the front of the ship that gather space dust.
  2. The transition from Prologue to Main Story feels like it’s gonna be something on the other side, and that’s about all I’m gonna say to avoid spoilers.
  3. This is a Bookshop affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I use Bookshop affiliate links instead of Amazon because they distribute a significant chunk of their profits to small, local book stores.

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