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X-Com UFO Defense: A Novel [Paperback]

Diane Duane
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

25 Mar 1996 X-Com
Commander Jonelle Barrett is determined to win. Having moved from Morocco to a new base in Switzerland, she is well-placed to build a fortified base and defend Europe from the marauding aliens who harvest humans as lab animals for breeding stock ... and for their dinner tables!

Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Boxtree Ltd (25 Mar 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761502351
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761502357
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 10.2 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,072,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Alien Forces Will Enslave Humanity . . . Unless X-COM Can Stop Them!

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars X-COM X-cellent 27 Oct 2011
By sean
What a fantastic read, a great novel which is so much more than a science fiction adventure. Highly recommended especially to X-Com fans.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Xcom, a good game, now a good book 4 Oct 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This book fits in nicely with the game. If you were interested and enjoyed the gameplay, this book will also entertain you. It takes you right along as if you were in a mission of the game. It could stand to be more descriptive, and perhaps some more character development. BUT as it stands, it is very entertaining, and I think works well with the Xcom saga.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not much to drool over, but fun like the game. 4 Jan 2002
By Lorin Reed - Published on Amazon.com
Thing is, I couldn't imagine how someone would put the game's content into novel form. And after reading the novel, I still can't. This was a really quick read, and it had sort of a superficial bite to it. None of the characters are really worth caring about, and it doesn't go into much detail about the technologies or species of aliens. But none of that really matters much; I don't think anyone was expecting a masterpiece here.
If ya liked the game, you'll probably have fun with the book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An interesting idea, but poorly executed 14 Dec 2012
By D. Kingsmill - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a great fan of the X-COM series of games, I was intrigued to find that this novel had somehow passed me buy, and purchased it recently. However, it has the distinct disadvantage of being poorly written and with limited understanding of the workings of the game it is based on - the original UFO: Enemy Unknown from 1994.

The novel is certainly readable and kept me turning pages to find out what happened to the characters. However the writing itself leaves something to be desired. To give one example, in the space of no more than fifty words, aliens are described to have 'poured out of' their craft twice - two different sets of aliens from two different craft, but with the same adjective. While this is not a massive problem, it is little things like this that add up together to give the impression of a poorly edited book, or one written with a lack of experience.

Regarding the novel's fidelity, there seems to be no good explanation for why the author has altered several ideas from the core game concepts. While some changes do actually reflect a more realistic alien invasion - having many different alien types on the same mission, for example - this jars with the facts of how the game is constructed. A terror mission in-game would never feature Floaters, Reapers, Snakemen, Chryssalids and Cyberdiscs all at once. A single base would never be able to house four Lightnings, three Firestorms, two Interceptors and an Avenger, let alone having space left over to have researchers wasted and twiddling their thumbs.

The author also fails to make X-COM feel like a military organisation. No sense of discipline is given in the interactions between troops, and the commander protagonist is even described as walking romantically arm-in-arm through a base with one of her pilots while on duty, losing all sense of soldierly conduct.

Small factual errors like this leave a book that is entertaining to a point, but not to a devotee of the games. Given the narrative opportunities offered by the X-COM games - particularly the 2012 release - it is disappointing to find that the only existing novel based on the game, apart from a Russian one I am yet to track down a translation of, is such an ill-understood mess.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars X-Com: an exciting and enjoyable read 2 Feb 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Although I have never played the game, X-Com, I found this book to be very fun and exciting to read, and particularly enjoyed the geographic descriptions of the locales. It felt as though the writers had either spent some time there, or else done their research very well.
It was not all rosy, of course; there could have been a bit more description of some of the aliens and some of the starships; some of it felt as though it relied upon the reader's prior experience with the game. But all in all, the book was exciting, action-packed, and a real page-turner, and kept me guessing right up to the end as to who the traitor really was. I definitely recommend it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I am not an Literature person. 15 July 2012
By David Pierce - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a big fan of X-COM (I play X-COM 2 once to completion every January) I stumbled across this book and had no choice but to purchase it. It is possible I was being mind controlled by space aliens at that point.

Recognizing Diane Duane from some of her other work (Star Trek novels, mostly) was a bonus.

Having read the book (it's a quick read) I was left a little disappointed. In terms of content, it's the first half of a novel that was #1 in a series of several. In reality, it's the only X-COM novel I could find.

Character development is minimal, plot is simplistic. Given how little the author had to work with, though, she did fine. At least the human commanders in this X-COM story avoided using recruits as meat shields. (Unlike a lot of X-COM players...)

If you like X-COM and enjoy mindless series pulp sci-fi (Do you have more than one shelf of Star Trek novels? Did you read the Conqueror's Trilogy because Zahn wrote it and you like the Thrawn Trilogy? You know who you are... be honest) then you'll probably like this book. Possibly a lot.

However, if you do like it, you'll be sad there aren't any more.
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