Publication Date: Publication Date: April 1, 2015
Max Culp is an ex-military man tracking interstellar war criminals. When the last criminal is found and locked up, Max isn’t sure where to take his life next. The choice is taken from him when his friend is kidnapped.
Void Contract is the first book in the Gigaparsec series.
Void Contract is not a book that grabs the reader from the first page. This novel takes us into a new world that is an old hat for our main character. The situation in which Culp finds himself isn’t familiar; but the way the narrative jumps from action to world building is awkward. There are initially a lot of character holes that perhaps will be filled in future novels in the series but leaves the reader feeling a bit out to sea.
Max is probably the best developed of a mostly one-dimensional cast of characters that move rapidly through the story. Max is straight out of central casting. Rhine’s special forces medic/assassin is smart cracking and world-weary. He’s seen it all and done it all and has the mental scars to prove it. Culp floats a little too easily through the story. While the characters do expand in our acquaintance in this first novel, they never come to a point of being anything more than thinly written foils.
There are a few minor editing errors in Void Contract. The real impediment to flow was the incredibly level conversation during time sensitive and stressed situations. This reader paused going back to read and to make sure that these characters are really having this conversation at this critical time. The Amazon description cites that fans of Babylon 5 will love Void Contract. I have never seen Babylon 5. I have read worlds like the one in Void Contract before filled with reptilian creatures and wonderfully tongue-in-cheek species and have enjoyed their creativity.
Eagle-eyed readers may surmise that this book was not my cup of tea. I do think that perhaps as the series is fleshed out if the author were so inclined, the first book could be drastically improved with some gentle tweaks and slight rewording. While the story is not a unique idea in the science fiction pantheon, it is crafted in a way that could certainly set it apart. I did love the idea of a race that can set people ahead by introducing new technology and who bestows that boon on a whim. I also enjoyed that some of the alien connections explained ancient Earth oral traditions.
If you’re a science fiction fan, give Void Contract a shot. The author and novel have promise, so likely the continuing series will only be an uphill proposition.
Read an excerpt and pick up Void Contract (Gigaparsec Book 1) by Scott Rhine on