Machinima Book Club: Dead Space: Martyr
Dead Space: Martyr goes as far back in the Dead Space cannon as once would probably ever care to go. It’s a prequel (taking place 200 years before the events of the first game) that tells of the origins of the mysterious religion of Unitology and finding of the first Marker. The novel’s protagonist, Micheal Altman, is a rookie geophysicist stationed in the small Mexican town of Chicxlub (Mayan for “The Devil’s Tail”). Taking the gig strictly to follow his girlfriend (an anthropologist also stationed in Chicxlub), Altman is part of a duo tasked with mapping and monitoring a 65 million year old asteroid crater located just outside of the town. A relatively uneventful job until things start to get interesting when he notices a subtle pulse being broadcast from the center of the crater. It’s at about this time that some strange things start happening with the locals. Tension gets higher when DredgerCorp, a resource retrieval corporation, starts illegally poking their nose around, searching for anyone that might know a thing or two about the strange pulse. Needless to say, Altman falls right in their crosshairs. What transpires through out the rest of the novel is a well-paced, mysterious and intriguing plot line that I will avoid spoiling here.
What surprised me most about Martyr was how much I enjoyed it despite how “un-Dead Space-y” it feels most of the time. There’s no Isaac Clarke, big spaceships, or Necromorphs to speak of (most of the time). The novel stands up on its own merits without hitting you over the head with references from the game. But where it really shines is with the character of Altman, a relatable everyman that cannot pull himself away from investigating the mystery surrounding the Marker even if his curiosity is in direct conflict with his own personal well-being. A fast-paced story punctuated by some seriously tense moments will keep you engaged from beginning to end in this Dead Space history lesson.