Top critical review
If you are a serious DS fan and want the story of Michael Altman and the discovery of the Black Marker it's a fairly fun read. Not to insult comic books
Reviewed in the United States on April 4, 2018
It's OK. If you are a serious DS fan and want the story of Michael Altman and the discovery of the Black Marker it's a fairly fun read. Not to insult comic books, which can have some very good dialogue and characters, I thought that this was more like a teen comic without the graphics. There's not much of an extended vocabulary, the characters are extremely cliched, and the dialogue is not imaginative. I was mostly disappointed in Evenson's depiction of Altman- a completely myopic, overly defensive and cynical and humorless guy. Picture an over the top Satllone/Willis character but without the wit or the humor or the soul. And I mean NO humor. Altman's lines are often, 'So?', 'So what?', 'And what if I say no?', 'And that project would be what?', 'You're crazy', 'You're insane', 'You'll never get away with this'...Ugh. Evenson's Altman has no friends, and is only friendly when he is being manipulative or patronizing, he has no interests, hobbies, beliefs, humor, love, soul. Nothing. No depth. Maybe that appeals to the book's supposed 'demographic', that the male protagonist be annoyingly un-involved, unemotional, non-committal, cynical to a fault, and can't be told ANYTHING without refusing, being sarcastic, having an unnecessary attitude at all times toward all people. I found it to be a huge turn-off. At once Altman is supposed to be a PhD geophysicist, and a super rude tough guy- they just don't mix.
There is only one female character, Altman's girlfriend, and she is either fretting that Altman 'was never one to take the safe route' or going batty from the Marker.
I would give Evenson's idea of Altman 1 Star. It truly sucks.
The book shines, however, in other areas, and it somewhat makes up for the lacking rest. The depiction of the Marker's affect on various people working as part of the research team was interesting. Evenson creates good scenes here, especially those of the hallucinations. These were my favorite parts of the book.
The book is not technical, and it's fast-paced, though not suspenseful. It raises no interesting questions.
I think the Dead Space story is a deep, dark and profound one, and that it deserves a better treatment, by a better author,