Mass Effect: Retribution

I picked up the new Mass Effect novel yesterday (link is below). Drew Karpyshyn is pretty good, especially in the world of franchise tie-ins. There has never, ever been a good film adaptation of a video game, but it seems that book adaptations are different. Karpyshyn was the lead writer on the first ME, and I think he was at least involved in ME2. This means that the universe is seamless: he knows the physics and metaphysics and cosmology of Mass Effect because, in a very real sense, he helped create the universe. The interplay between the games and the novels (and the comics, which I’ve only started to read) is great.

In my current replay of ME2, I’m just now picking up on explicit references to the events in Karpyshyn’s novels. At one point Tali explains to Shepard why the Quarians hate Cerberus; her account refers to the events of Karpyshyn’s second ME novel, Mass Effect: Ascension. There’s even a funny in-game thing where you can purchase all three of Karpyshyn’s ME novels from one of the stores on the Citadel. In the Codex they’re listed as historical novels, and Karpyshyn is referred to as one of the most popular human authors of historical fiction. Pretty meta.

Where the previous two novels help to fill in some gaps in the overall ME narrative (the first novel is a prequel to Mass Effect, and the second takes place in the one- or two-month period between the first and second games), this third one takes place after ME2 and seems poised to actually make a big difference in the Mass Effect universe. This might be a minor spoiler (although I think you can glean this much from the back of the book and descriptions on Amazon), but at the outset it seems like two of the most powerful movers-and-shakers of ME are going to be pitted against each other: Aria T’Loak and the Illusive Man. The way it’s looking right now, Cerberus might be seriously hurt by the events of the novel, which would completely change the structure of the ME universe. For those of you who aren’t familiar with ME, Cerberus is a pro-human black ops group that the Council has branded as terrorists. They are the ultimate space racists of the ME universe, and while they provide some interesting plot points, I hate them. In my paragon playthrough of ME2, I did everything in my power to piss them off, and at the end I gave them a big “fuck you” as I flew off into the proverbial sunset. ME3 will likely feature Cerberus as a major (if not the primary) antagonist.

In other news, it’s 2pm and I’m still in my pajamas. In another time and place I would celebrate this fact, but now it’s kind of pathetic. I need to get my act together and do something useful.


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