N.K. Jemisin has been a Science Fiction and Fantasy darling ever since her first novel, The hundred Thousand Kingdoms, was festooned with award nominations back in 2011. This year, her Science Fantasy climate change epic The Fifth Season picked up the Hugo for best novel. It’s intriguing to see her turn her attention to the Mass effect series, a game world characterised by complex, character-driven narratives in an immersive and enormous universe.
Jemisin’s novel Initiation will be part of the Andromeda series, which will hit bookshops in time to coincide with the next instalment of Mass Effect in 2017. The series will be set in the 28th century, focussing on an armada of colony ships containing thousands of passengers from each of Mass Effect’s myriad races, bound for the Andromeda galaxy and, they hope, a new life. The series will kick off in March 2017 with Jason M. Hough’s Nexus Uprising. Other authors in the series will include K.C. Alexander and Catherynne M. Valente.
Tie-in novels are gaining legitimacy fast, with Science fiction legends eagerly jumping into video game universes to tell new stories. Greg Bear, Jeff Vandermeer and even Michael Moorcock have all dabbled in the genre. But the world of the Tie-in novel remains something of a minefield. This is true both for readers, who can often find themselves lumped with lazy, by-the-numbers storytelling, and for authors, who can end up at the mercy of the “Sharecropping” novel trend. These novels are the products of a system where media conglomerates get fledgling authors to write in their worlds while keeping most of the profits for themselves.