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X-Com UFO Defense: A Novel Paperback – 25 Mar 1996

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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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: 1,471,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


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

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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: 3.7 out of 5 stars 15 reviews
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars X-COM UFO Defense Novel 9 May 2012
By RJ the Great Cat Lover - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just finished reading this. I liked it a lot. It is more strategic in scope than tactical, but then, that is what a player does in X-COM - control the bases and such. It had some tactical battles, mostly the beginning. It also had air battles, ground battles, base planning, personnel adjusting, equipment ... the works.

I hope more of these come out. With the new 'Enemy Unknown' game in the works this year, I would like to see more X-COM universe stuff - novels, T-shirts, posters ... woohoo!

Anyway, I played the original X-COM way back in the day. This novel was a nice return to those earlier times, most of which I no longer remember! Still, the novel had plenty of action. If anything bad can be said I would say, "Too Short!"

I Want More! :)
2 of 3 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.
4.0 out of 5 stars book meets game 22 Feb. 2015
By Brian C. Howden - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed the games back in the 90s, and the book follows along well with game.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A boring novel based on a fantastic game 5 Oct. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This novel is what you get when you hire a character-oriented writer to write a book based on an action-oriented game. As a fan of the original game "X-Com" that this book is based on, I was very disappointed. It was obvious to me that Diane Duane wasn't familiar with the actual game, but was probably writing the book based on descriptions given to her by the game company. There are no insights into the aliens or technology of the game, and actually quite a few errors in that regard. The novel doesn't carry the military feel of the original game, and never convincingly portrays the "X-Com" world.
As for the required battle scenes, Duane seemed uncomfortable writing them, because she skimmed over them with as little detail as possible. This alienates fans of the game who looked forward to the battles, so what you get is a novel that completely fails to satisfy its core audience.
I think an author who had actually played "X-Com" might have done a better job. I wish the game company had chosen an author with the skills to write a military/action/scifi novel and the respect for the source material to handle it right, instead of tossing money at a brand-name author like Diane Duane to mess it up. If you like Diane Duane, I suppose you'd like this novel. If you like "X-Com," you'll probably hate this novel.
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