Here’s a review in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction that explains why:
George Lucas missed a sure bet when he chose to film his own Big-Dumb-Object-filled script for The Phantom Menace (1999) rather than open up his precious project to outside sources. He could have turned, for instance, to Sean Williams and Shane Dix, adapting their new space opera Evergence: The Prodigal Sun . . . into his beloved Star Wars mythos. He would have started with a book that is genre-savvy and capably written, full of adventure and Asimovian imperial vistas.
‘Asimovian’ speaks volumes, doesn’t it? It gets better:
Dix and Williams . . . deliver tons of action in straightforward, economical prose noted for its clarity. And they offer wide-screen baroque plotting never out of control … With echoes of vintage Jack Williamson and Poul Anderson, as well as Niven, Asimov and Vinge, Williams and Dix proudly continue a vital tradition, proving SF as diverse a field as ever.
That roll-call of late greats is guaranteed to blow anyone’s mind.
There’s a long story behind the creation of Evergence . Here’s the short version: Sean and Shane wanted to write a space opera that had the scale of Star Wars and the complex characterisation of Blake’s 7. (So if you’re a fan of that show, you’ll love this too.) They were asked to write the lead novel in a franchise that never really got off the ground (completists will know this as The Unknown Soldier: Book One of the Cogal). When that series stalled, they took the story (which they owned), created an entirely new and better back-story, and kept on writing. They took out the aliens and put in wild mutant humans instead. They started with two warring empires in book one and kept on building. They colonised the entire galaxy, created a back-story as old as humanity itself, hinged the entire plot on a single question (‘Is Adoni Kane a good guy or not?’) and turned the colour up at every possible opportunity.
Evergence builds, and builds, and builds. And the ending . . . ? Well, let’s just say you’ll never forget it.
Sean and Shane have been talking about a sequel forever. It’d be called The Roche Limit, but the fact they’ve never got around to it suggests that Evergence is pretty much complete as it is, in their hearts, in their minds, and, you know, in the story. Every novel in the series was a bestseller of some form or another. Every novel was nominated for awards. They’ve been published in several different languages. You might not have heard of these books – but that’s good news for you. You get to dive in right now, without any preconception or expectations, knowing that the series is (a) finished and (b) awesome.
Evergence is the space opera that, in the eyes of at least one reviewer, made George Lucas look bad (some would say he did that all on his own; we couldn’t possibly comment). It launched a twelve-book collaboration that helped one of the boys on to becoming a #1 New York Times bestseller. It’s just as fresh and exciting as it was back when it was published. The three books that make up the Evergence trilogy are The Prodigal Sun, The Dying Light and A Dark Imbalance, and they’re available here. Oh, and here. And, well, you get the picture. Read them and blow your mind.
‘The Prodigal Sun is a close-knit personal story told on a galaxy-sized canvas. Filled with action as well as intriguing ideas.’ ~ Kevin J Anderson
‘I’m not sure what an Evergence is, but finding out promises to provide hours of fun.’ ~ Locus
First published 17th April 2014.