Title: Void Contract: Gigaparsec Book 1
Author: Scott Rhine
Genre: space opera
Price: $2.99 (ebook) $8.99 (trade paperback)
Publisher: Amazon Digital Servces
Point of Sale: Amazon
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib
Void Contract is the story of Max Culp, human medic and assassin. In the fairly far future, humanity has developed faster-than-light ships, made contact with various alien races and in true human fashion fought a war with one race. Humanity won that war, although the alien race defeated in said war still exists. Oh, and there’s an over-race, the Magi, running around, who bestow technology on other races as they see fit.
In this very interesting world, Max, a !Kung tribesman descended from a group resettled from a dying Earth, is trying to make a living. Max does so by killing sentient beings. In the first chapter, he’s doing so to repay a debt to the aliens who protected his people. Then, via a circuitous set of events, Max finds himself responsible for a “Goat” (Satyr-like alien) named Reuben, and forced to kill people to save Rueben. This is where things get interesting.
Frankly, I like these kind of books. Who wouldn’t want to travel the stars, cracking wise with various alien races? Personally, even if they are shooting at me (and I’m highly allergic to bullets) I’d be glad to sign up. Having said that, I’m a sucker for these kind of stories. It’s hard to do them wrong.
Fortunately, Scott Rhine understands what makes this fun, and he delivers. There’s the right amount of war-weariness, wise-cracking and do-or-die in his story. There’s also a nice refreshing bit of sex, and not one but two mysterious aliens of difference species. This is space opera, not science fiction, so the science is of the “I push this and X happens” variety, but in this genre that’s frequently considered a feature, not a bug. Overall, a nice romp through a world that I’d like to visit, warts and all.