Satan’s Reach is the second volume in the Weird Space series, a fast-paced action-adventure that pits humanity against the unimaginable Terror from Beyond. A thrilling Space Opera series created by master SF author Eric Brown.
Telepath Den Harper did the dirty work for the authoritarian Expansion, reading the minds of criminals, spies and undesirables. Unable to take the strain, he stole a starship and headed into the unknown, a sector of lawless space known as Satan’s Reach. For five years he worked as a trader among the stars – then discovered that the Expansion had set a bounty hunter on his trail. But what does the Expansion want with a lowly telepath like Harper? Is there validity in the rumours that human space is being invaded by aliens from another realm? Harper finds out the answer to both these questions when he rescues an orphan girl from certain death – and comes face to face with the dreaded aliens known as the Weird. Satan’s Reach is the second volume in the Weird Space series, a fast-paced action-adventure that pits humanity against the unimaginable Terror from Beyond.
Satan’s Reach was one of the first few books I’ve read in what my science fiction friend told me is considered “hard sci-fi.” It is also the second book written in what is planned to be a shared universe by any number of authors. I did not happen to read the first book because I was told that it wasn’t absolutely necessary to still be able to enjoy Satan’s Reach. Which was thankfully true. So you can’t go into this book expecting it to be a sequel to the first book, The Devil’s Nebula because it is not.
The only other shared universe type books I’ve read have been a lot of Dragonlance universe and a few short stories from the superheros Wild Cards universe. I love the idea of a world where different authors can bring something to the plate and explore different story lines. Usually I’ve seen that one author will explore a storyline of one character/group and complete that. These first two books written by Eric Brown didn’t seem to follow that and were more like their own stories. Though I didn’t read the first book I took a look at the description and didn’t feel lost at all. There is probably some bigger picture items that I might not be on the up and up about but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of Satan’s Reach.
I do like Eric Brown’s writing style and as a newbie to the hard sci-fi genre I didn’t think it was too over my head or overly techie. It would definitely be a definite change for any reader that is used to reading fantasy and little to no actual science fiction. When I say science fiction I’m talking space opera, everything is in outer space, mostly on planets that are not earth, with advanced technology and alien races. while, I’ve read quite a lot of books that have science fiction elements, I haven’t read many that are “hard sci-fi” or “space operas.” Essentially, like reading Star Trek instead of watching it. For some people it would be a genre much harder to read than to watch. I think I might fall into that category but I still enjoyed Satan’s Reach and think I will continue to try out these types of sci-fi books as I really do love the kind of stories you can get exploring the universe.
The main character Den Harper is a telepath on the run. Since he’s on the run he’s pretty much on his own and all he has is what he does, his skills as a telepath and his ship’s AI, Judi. Which is pretty neat if I might add. I always love when an AI is involved in a book where you can see them as a character/person and not just extra fluff. So I enjoyed that interaction between them. Things move along at a great pace and Den isn’t alone for long because he rescues a girl named Zeela. Then of course throw into the mix that Den has bounty hunters on his trail and we’ve got ourselves a very entertaining story.