It was fate that brought me to this book. It was 1995 or so, and I had recently purchased and played the shareware version of Doom. You know, back when it was frighteningly lifelike and the ultimate gaming experience. My father, who probably didn’t even know what Doom was, had this book sitting on his shelf with the rest of his extensive sci-fi selection. While hunting around one day for something to read, I stumbled upon it and gave it a shot.
I was hooked, spending every waking minute reading it. Since then, I’ve probably reread it twenty times. My discovery—and subsequent reading of—the remaining three books is a long story which will, for now, remain untold. Needless to say, however, I think that Knee-Deep in the Dead is a great book, contrived though its basis and its title may be. Brad Linaweaver’s only credit is the mediocre Moon of ice, but Dafydd ab Hugh has a much more… interesting bibliography, which includes some of the strangest fantasy ever written (the Jiana series, as well as the Arthur War Lord series), and it shows in this book, where his big tough Marine is named Flynn (which sends some game fans into conniption fits) and its full of esoterica, as well as the requisite monster-blasting.
I don’t want to speak at length about the series as a whole, because I need copy for the three reviews to follow. However, I will say that despite its unusual approach to the genre, Knee-Deep in the Dead is the most straightforward of the series: it has all the elements players are familiar with, including some that seemed forced into the book for no other reason than parity with its inspiration.
Regardless, I urge you to get this book (which was just recently reprinted) and read it, if you are either a sci-fi fan or a Doom fan. I promise you that it is nothing like the movie. Nothing.