Mess Effect

By Shamus Posted Thursday Apr 1, 2021

Filed under: Notices 69 comments

Yes, it is April first. I normally change the background or color scheme of the site, but I didn’t think of it in time this year. Still, I wouldn’t want to send you out on the internet today without your usual April 1st warning: Careful what you read. It’s probably even more untrue than usual.

So… it feels like we’re short on content these days, doesn’t it? I’m still finishing up my book. My wife has started a new job. We’ve been busy shopping for a replacement car and getting rid of the husk of the old. These various things have eaten into the hours I normally spend doing MY ACTUAL JOB. Where does the time go?

Also, maybe I’ve squeezed in a few minutes of Factorio here and there. You know. In those occasional moments when I should be sleeping, exercising, or working. That kind of thing. I found a few mods that really tickle my fancy, so I’ve spent a few hours having that thoroughly tickled.

The book now has a cover. Check it out:

Commander Shepard after the 'Bring Down This Guy' DLC.

I paid someone to do it on Fiverr, and I’m really happy with the result.

Obviously I’ve had to give the book a proper title. “Mass Effect Retrospective” works as a series of blog posts, but it’s kinda lame as a book title. I realize the current title is a Very Obvious pun, but what can you do?

Most of the work is now done. I’m just proofing at this point. Instead of thinking of proofing as a job that gets “done”, I’m starting to think of it in terms of half-life. Each read-through of the book seems to uncover half of the remaining mistakes. (Or if you prefer, half as many as the previous read-through.) You never really reach the point where the book is mistake-free, you just proof it until the projected number of undiscovered mistakes is low enough to live with. I think we’re almost there.

Some random comments / observations:

  • After reading through my Mass Effect 1 series, I’m really looking forward to the remaster. That will come out in mid-May. I still plan on playing through the first game. I don’t plan on revisiting ME 2 or ME 3 unless there’s some radical changes I need to  see.
  • Wow, my Andromeda series is super-duper negative.
  • Related: Andromeda was so bad in terms of writing. I forgot just what a mess it was until I re-read my series. I’ll reiterate the question I asked at the time: How did it get this bad?
  • I have to keep coming up with new ways to look at the book. This is an old proofreading trick, but you want to make it look a little different each time so it seems fresh and new to your brain. Change the margins. The page width. The font size. Etc. This helps, but my brain is catching on and its getting really, really tired of reading the same thing again and again. I’ll be glad when this part of the job is behind me.

So that’s where things are right now. Hopefully we’ll get back to our normal routine Real Soon Now.


From The Archives:

69 thoughts on “Mess Effect

  1. CloverMan-88 says:

    I was wondering, is it legal to use some company’s trademarked imagery like that? It’s obviously a spoof, but for example, the N7 logo is trademarked. Wouldn’t a savvy lawyer be able to prove that a customer might be tricked into thinking that this is a legitimate Mass Effect product because of the iconic imagery? It’s probably on of the fair use cases, which is always tricky.

    1. Rho says:

      Not a lawyer, but think people can’t claim Fair Use on trademark issues. I would be wary of trying to use that on a commercial product, especially as there are published Mass Effect books.

      1. Ander says:

        The logo is one thing, and as a not-lawyer I can’t speak to it.
        But I wonder how trademark works for a character creator system. Is the editor a way to produce art, like any design tool? Do you have freedom of use for what the character creator spits out? Because that may be comic version of the one (boring) baseline shep on all the covers, but maybe it’s just a comic version of your character-creator’d shep.

        1. Taellosse says:

          Satire is an explicitly protected portion of the Fair Use doctrine. In general, the less exactly identical in appearance a satirical image is to the original IP, the safer it is from legal challenge (though Disney in particular has made a habit in recent years of abusing their market and capital position to bully others with legal threats that are clear overreaches of this and other Fair Use exceptions, and other powerful IP holders have started following their lewd in recent years). Given that the “Mess Effect” logo and art style are very obviously different from Mass Effect, this SHOULD be pretty safe (which doesn’t prevent EA from making threats, unfortunately, if they so choose. But it could also get them into a lot of trouble if Shamus or anyone else in a similar position actually called their bluff).

          Trademarks are a whole other thing, though. They’re much narrower in scope in some respects to copyright – basically any creative work is subject to copyright, but trademarks are limited to elements closely tied to a distinct brand identity: logos, icons, very specific color palettes, certain terminology, and usually in combination. Accusing someone of violation trademark requires demonstrating that the infringer is explicitly creating market confusion – which generally means it has to involve a directly competing product (a knock-off). Given that this is a book of critical commentary, not a narrative space opera video game, there’s not a lot of risk, I shouldn’t think.

          NOTE: I am NOT a lawyer, just a geek that gets curious about things and reads too much about a subject when I do. My opinions do not constitute any sort of legal advice whatsoever.

          1. Brendan says:

            “Satire is an explicitly protected portion of the Fair Use doctrine.”

            No, it’s not. You’re thinking of parody, which isn’t explicitly protected but does have some overlap with the four factors of Fair Use.

            1. Mark says:

              You’re all wrong. It’s commentary that’s protected. You’re allowed to use a copyrighted work as a part of commenting on that work. For example, you can’t just make a “parody” of a song using the same music with different lyrics talking about whatever, but you can use the song as a part of talking about how great/stupid you think the song is.

              Here, Shamus is obviously commenting on Mass Effect so he can make limited use of the copyrighted material from Mass Effect.

    2. Syal says:

      On a related note, I think there should be a subtitle clarifying that this book is a critical review of the games and not a porn parody novel.

    3. Echo Tango says:

      You can’t trademark a ficitonal logo; That N7 would be covered under copyright instead.

  2. Lino says:


    so I’ve spend a few hours having that thoroughly tickled.

    Should be “spent”.

    I love both the cover, and the punny name! Look forward to when it comes out!

  3. Zgred77 says:

    I honestly think that “Mass Effect Retrospective” is more appealing than “Mess Effect”. The latter title is really overused and kinda, I don’t know, basic? The former one could attract audience that want to explore more of their favourite universe, while “Mess Effect” indicates some sort of parody or pastiche.

    Anyway, I hope the book will do well when it’ll be released.

    1. Chris says:

      I was thinking maybe it having a second title or a tagline. Something like “Mess effect (smaller font under it) retrospective of a videogame series” or maybe something more provocative like “how an open ended series ended with 3 colors”.

      1. Shamus says:

        I have “The Unravelling of a Universe”, but I haven’t figured out if (or how) I should put it on the cover.

        1. Crokus Younghand says:

          “Storied Spectre”?

        2. pseudonym says:

          As several people have noted, it may be good to advertise what the book is really about. “The unravelling of a universe” is a great subtitle, but also a bit generic.

          “Critique on a story-telling disaster”? Or something in that vain? It references the “Mess” while also telling what it is about. Not very catchy though.

          Isn’t there someone who has a job in marketing in the audience and can help out with this?

          1. Fizban says:

            Just mash ’em together, “A Retrospective on the Unraveling of a Universe” ?

            or, “The Unraveling of a Universe, a Retrospective of Story-Telling Disaster” ?

            Points on including “Mass Effect” good, maybe-

            “A Retrospective on the Unraveling of the Mass Effect Universe.”

            1. Falling says:

              You could shorten that.

              Mass Effect Unraveled.

              But I think you’d want something to do with criticism

              Mass Effect Unraveled: A Retrospective /or/ A Critical Response /or/ An Analysis

              Or a little more tongue in cheek:

              A Nitpicker’s Guide to Mass Effect Unraveled
              Mass Effect Unraveled: A Nitpicker’s Guide
              Or something along the lines of Overanalysis or Ornery Critic

              I don’t know. Titles are tough. The main thing is the sort of person you want to capture will be looking for “Mass Effect” and some sort of critical review or analytical view of it.

              1. RFS-81 says:

                I like Nitpicker’s Guide!

                1. Syal says:

                  I think Nitpicker’s Guide is just adding Hitchhiker’s Guide to the list of sci-fi stories this novel intends to parody.

          2. Falling says:

            There’s a very interesting read by E Halderman Julius, who because his advertised books were mail order and all of them had the same cover ‘The Little Blue Books’, the ONLY thing he could sell them on was their titles. He wrote a long book in the 1920’s on his findings and while no doubt dated, I think it’s worth thinking about.

            One of his key takeaways:
            1) “my first rule: Make the title describe the book. The title should contain some dominant word which clearly describes the subject of the book. If it is biography or criticism, I think the title should also indicate what the man stood for or what the matter criticized chiefly represents. If human nature can be put into the title, well and good. Every effort should be to tie up the book with real life, or with the average person’s desire for romance, adventure, and fun.”
            2) “My second rule is: Make the title as distinctive as possible, so as to compel attention and awaken interest. I subordinate this to the descriptive requirement. But I have a notion that many publishers put my second rule first- they seem to prefer the bizarre and startling to the suggestive and revealing. But by putting this first it is necessary to add the description on the flap of the jacket or the body of the advertisement. I cannot do this, so I am obliged to consider the description of first importance, and distinction second.”

            He goes on to talk about putting books in ‘hospital’. That is they were not selling very well, so they would experiment with different titles and often saw considerable improvement in sales.
            “Honey and Gall” was not selling.
            Changed to “Studies in Mystic Materialism” and suddenly it did.
            Same with changing “Cupbearers of Wine and Hellebore” to “A Book of Intellectual Rowdies”

            A French play translated to “The Highbrow Ladies” didn’t move many sales, but “Ridiculous Women” did ‘as it connotes the whole spirit of the play’.

            He even dared to change the name of classics- Gautier’s “Fleece of Gold” became “The Quest for a Blonde Mistress” which jumped sales from 6000 to 50,000.

            But he noted many titles of the classics could not possibly be improved upon “Taming of the Shrew” or another of Gautier’s “One of Cleopatra’s Nights” or “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”

            Anyways, it’s an interesting thing to consider- particularly in not getting too lost in making titles too poetic.

            Oh, one more:
            “It seemed to me that there could be no reason why Oscar Wilde’s “Pen, Pencil, and Poison” should not sell. That title appeals to me. But it apparently does not appeal to the public at large, as the records of this book showed. And anyone can see, now that the change has been made , that “The Story of the Notorious Criminal” is much more likely to aid in the distribution of the book. It is another good example of the change from the poetic to the practical, for from 5000 annually the book rose in 1926 to 15,800 copies!”

        3. Shamus says:

          Now I’m leaning towards:

          “A Nitpicker’s Guide to the Universe that Fell Apart”

          I don’t like being called a nitpicker because it makes it sound like I’m focused on unimportant things, and I think most of this stuff is terribly important. But that’s what people call me. I might as well own it.

          I think I’m going to replace the N7 logo with a TM symbol and just embrace the absurdity.

          1. Kincajou says:

            How about ” A writer’s outlook on the univerese that Withered” ?
            By this point you certainly qualify as a writer, your analysis leans heavily on the story side of things and the storytelling, so that works. Withered gives alliteration :P

            I would also add that to me the title is too “dirty” to the point of making it nearly unreadable so my 2c would be to see if you can ask for something a bit cleaner.

            ———-personal preference rant below —————————
            also as a heavily personal preference, i think that image has too much going on for a book, especially for an analysis retrospective book. As others have pointed out it feels like i’m going to go into a parody book, whereas it’s actually closer to an analysis textbook.
            I’m a sucker for minimalism so i’d personally have been more inclined to go the “blueprint-like” style that was used for the Star trek Discovery intro. Clean, minimalist, single logo… something like that (of course different colour palette and images… but you get the gist). In a similar vein i like the style that was chosen for “the rules of contagion” by adam kucharski (×840.jpg).
            To me what you have there instinctively says: a) parody b)graphic novel c) [cheap] knockoff. Your writing is more on the technical matter, your skills are better than a cheap knockoff, and it certainly isn’t a comic. So that’s why it doesn’t appeal much to me.

            That said, you like it, so you do you! :) Really i would just clean up the title writing

          2. BlueHorus says:

            I’d say lose the word ‘nitpicker’ from that title. Just ‘Mess Effect: A Guide To The Universe that Fell Apart’ sounds good to me. But, just my opinion.

            1. Falling says:

              That is the drawback of ‘nitpicker’. It does have a negative connotation in going after trivial details which is not accurate of Shamus. It’s a more ‘fun’ word compared to ‘critique’ or ‘review’, but I wish there were other more fun words for deep analysis.

              Diving Deep into the Mess of Mass Effect?

              I don’t know, like I said titles are tough.

            2. Lanthanide says:

              ‘Guide’ isn’t really the right word here, either. Like travel guides and ‘game guides’ and such. This isn’t a guide.

              It’s a critique.

          3. Danny says:

            I feel like there’s room for something that evokes “Story Collapse” as a concept and like a black hole event horizon, or some other mass-physics kind of thing? So you can kinda tie your central thesis — “the writing collapses under the weight of its own nonsense” — to the game lore.

            And you should have everyone’s favorite character Kai Leng on the cover instead of Shepard obviously.

            Heck maybe just call it like “Story Collapse: Why the plot of Mass Effect failed” or something like that and then like the cover image is Kai Leng getting sucked into a black hole like a movie poster.

            1. Geebs says:

              I’m pretty sure that, per the physical laws of the Mass Effect universe, the black hole would get sucked into Kai Leng

              1. BlueHorus says:

                No, no, what happens is you THINK Kai Leng gets sucked into the black hole, but it turns out that said black hole was simply a portal to yet another secret Cerberus base.
                TIM reveals that the base was set up decades ago, just a month after humanity got to Mars and discovered Mass Relays. This was because because the founder of Cerberus – TFIM, The First Illusive Man – found a Prothean beacon there and knew the Reapers were coming. TFIM didn’t tell anyone, though; instead he set up this research base to look into the Reaper threat by feeding hapless scientists to a giant space crab.

                Anyway, after this revelation (given in a cutscene, naturally) Kai Leng declares that the station has served its purpose and does a triple backflip as the black hole explodes in Shepard’s face, allowing him to get away while gloating.

                THAT’S how Mass Effect works.

            2. Syal says:

              Kai Leng giving a piggyback ride to the Starchild. Maybe with the Illusive Man in the background, staring at Miranda’s ass.

            3. BlueHorus says:

              If we’re going with suggestions of alternative cover art, I’d say Shepard, with the same bemused expression, looking at a copy of the Mass Effect game with a maynifying glass.

              But, Shamus already paid a guy and got the art, so I’m not sure how helpful that suggestion is.

          4. Khazidhea says:

            “I think I’m going to replace the N7 logo with a TM symbol and just embrace the absurdity.”

            I misread that as the TIM symbol, thinking I didn’t know that The Illusive Man had a particular symbol…

    2. Crokus Younghand says:

      Yeah, that title sets the wrong expectation for the content. It’s a reasonable well-done amateur critique, not “Bored of the Rings”-esque parody. People will either expect the latter and be disappointed to find the former, and those interested in the former will probably skip it.

      1. BlueHorus says:

        I’ll second this. It DOES look like a Bored of the Rings-style parody, which it’s not. As Chris suggested above, maybe a subtitle?

        Mess Effect: 101 Things Wrong With The Mass Effect Series or similar…

        Sadly, any other suggestions I’ve got don’t fit…

        Math Effect: The Problems With The Science of Mass Effect
        Mass Expectations: A Classic Re-Imagined
        Ass Effect or Mass Erect (If these porn parodies don’t already exist, I will eat my hat)

        1. Mischa says:

          I like that more serious subtitle; added benefit might be that the book will also show up for people searching for ‘Mass effect’.

        2. Trevor says:

          Third this. It really does look like a Bored of the Rings-style parody.

          With apologies to Blue Horus, 101 Things Wrong With the Mass Effect Series sounds like the title of a 4 hour YouTube nerdrage video. And this work, which I love, is neither parody, nor rant-y.

          Something like Mass Effect: The Unraveling of a Universe maybe? Regardless, you want “Mass Effect” in the main title to make it more searchable. Puns are fun, but not great for search engines.

          Titles are hard. You want to avoid the impression that it’s parody or that it’s unhinged nerdrage. It’s quite hinged nerd critique.

          1. Lanthanide says:

            How about Mess Effect: A Nerd’s Critique of the Mass Effect Trilogy.

            1. tmtvl says:

              I like how you call it a trilogy, implying that only the 3 bad ones need critique.

        3. pseudonym says:

          I like the subtitle idea! These are my entries for the brainstorm session.

          “Why you are still disappointed with the Mass Effect ending”

          “A retrospective on incoherent storytelling in the Mass Effect trilogy”

          “Why Mass Effect’s ending missed effect.”

          “A retrospective on the Mass Effect trilogy” (boring, but accurate)

          1. Syal says:

            A lament on story collapse in the Mass Effect series.

          2. Chris says:

            “mess effect: why I’m still mad”

            1. Kincajou says:

              Elegy for a dying franchise?

        4. Chad+Miller says:

          Ha, I have seen the last title although it was on a riff of an unrelated space hentai game:

          (all the actual porn is censored out, in that video)

          1. BlueHorus says:

            Ah, rule 34. You never let me down…Bluehorus

        5. Geebs says:

          Personally, I’m partial to “Think of the Plot’s Stability, Shepard! Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Illusive Man”

    3. Steve C says:

      Yeah I prefer “Mass Effect Retrospective” too. I could also get behind “Mess Effect: A Mass Effect Retrospective” with the second part being a smaller/different font to the title.

      I caution using any title that looks like it could be a fiction (especially fan-fic) title or parody. The title should make it clear this is a non-fiction work first and foremost.

  4. Lars says:

    Content wise there is still a programming post on hold, you promised 3 diecasts ago. Okay, it wasn’t a promise, just a maybe, but I still want to read it.

  5. Dreadjaws says:

    Man, I used to look forward to some of the silly things some websites would for for April’s Fools, but nowadays it looks like the fun is gone. Thinkgeek used to have some of the best fake geek merchandise created just for this day, and sometimes they’d actually go and release some of those items for real. It was a wild ride, but of course Gamestop had to go and buy the website just so they could kill it a few months later, like they always do. Google Maps used to have some fun new mode for the day, like an RPG-style map or allowing you to play Pac-Man on the streets, but there’s no cool new mode this year.

    In fact, I’ve visited a bunch of websites today and it seems no one is doing anything. It’s like everyone forgot what day it is. Sure, not having to deal with bothersome pranks is a plus, but all the silly fun stuff is gone too and that makes me sad.

    1. Retsam says:

      Reddit seems to be the one place that consistently celebrates it, between subreddits doing crossovers or mandating that all comments must be “Based” or “Cringe” (which everyone’s working around with morse code).

      And Reddit itself usually does something weird and experimental (e.g. r/place, and it appears they’re doing something this year, but it hasn’t started yet.

      Also StackOverflow has a “STOP! You only have two (2) free copy/pastes remaining! Subscribe to our premium copy/paste service” popup which is pretty great.

      But, yeah, overall April Fools is a far cry from what it was 5-10 years ago. I think Google was usually the biggest source, and they’ve skipped it both last year and this year, apparently due to the pandemic. I get that last year this was like the peak of the COVID panic at this time, but it really feels like “funny internet stuff” is the sort of normalcy people could use after a rough year.

      And honestly, Google’s been scaling back the April Fools stuff for years. I don’t know if that’s because there’s been increasing backlash to the idea and people find even “harmless” stuff as making the internet unnecessarily confusing for a day, or for some other reason, but I think it’s a shame, personally.

      1. eaglewingz says:

        …people find even “harmless” stuff as making the internet unnecessarily confusing for a day, or for some other reason…

        Above Top Secret used to do some epic stuff back in the day. And yeah, sometimes it made the site almost unusable.

        Then, being a conspiracy site, one April Fools’ they made it look like the website linked back to the
        CIA. Oops!
        I forget for how many years they had a perma-linked post to the effect of, “By the way, that proof of our connection to the CIA was just an April Fool.”

      2. Chad+Miller says:

        When I think of Google April Fool’s pranks the only one that comes to mind is that “mic drop” one that lead to people accidentally blocking their gmail contacts. I think there’s a strong case to be made that services can’t make the same kinds of jokes that entertainment and recreational sites can.

        1. Retsam says:

          I think basically everyone agrees that particular one was a mistake, but the vast majority that they’ve done over the years have been harmless.

    2. Fizban says:

      Have a look at MATN’s new vid: if you’re interested (13 min).

    3. Echo Tango says:

      I think most people have forgotten the date, because everything blurs together in the Backstreet Boys reuinion tour! :E

      1. Brendan says:

        Ah, a Game Grumps fan, I see.

        “Lamar’s gonna have to go back to night school! Am I the only one who cares about this?!”

    4. Christopher Wolf says:

      Well DC unveiled Superman’s new identity, Superclark, and Marvel did Spider-in-chief with VP Monica Rambeau….so they at least did something…

    5. Gabriel says:

      IMO April Fool’s lost its soul when corporate marketing really leaned into co-opting it so their Brand seems “cool” and “relatable.” Same thing with easter eggs – when they were fun clandestine inclusions they were great. Now they’re a critical Story in the Feature Board. The CEO says we need at least two easter eggs in our product so we can go viral! *cracks whip at programmers*

    6. Bins says:

      I really don’t like a lot of the website pranks because they end up being confusing or impacting usability.

      If you want some good jokes, MMO patch notes & updates are great. Like Guild Wars 2’s:

      * To help players keep their backpacks empty for new loot, a Wipe Inventory button has been added next to the Compact button.

      * Equipped legendary spirits will now change or swap if the invoked legend tires of talking to you.

      * Chronomancers can now attune to past patches, changing their skills to the balance and scripting used during that time.

      * Fixed an aggro table bug that prevented gates from properly engaging attacking players.

      * Instead of reviving downed allies, necromancers now have the option to use their corpses to make extra minions.

      And everyone can now play as an angry cactus monster, the write-up is hilarious even if you don’t play:

      I know WoW has some funny patch notes out, but I don’t know what LotR is doing this year. I should check.

  6. Trevor says:

    Going back through the retrospective it’s really funny to see how much time you spent on Andromeda and how little time you spent on Mass Effect 1 (the one you loved!)

  7. Arstan says:

    I really like the cover!

  8. Content Consumer says:

    It’s probably even more untrue than usual.

    Eventually we’ll hit an integer overflow and wrap back around to true. The writers at The Onion won’t know what to do with themselves.

  9. Asdasd says:

    Femshep denied cover status yet again??!?! This outrage will not nah just kidding, it looks great!

  10. Metheos says:

    Since you’re doing final edits, here is a very trivial complaint you may have already fixed. Your post on the ME2 suicide mission started, “I’ve spent most of this series complaining about aspects of Mass Effect 2 that a majority of fans don’t see is a problem. So let me briefly be a contrarian in the other direction and defend something everyone complains about…” From what I’ve seen, the suicide mission is overwhelmingly loved the the fanbase, often cited as the high point of the trilogy, so I’d suggest an edit. Apologies if you’ve already taken care of it.

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      I mean, the Suicide Mission is surely something people started liking in secondary playthroughs, because the first time if you don’t do a lot of entirely unrelated side quests before you’ll end up losing a bunch of your crewmates and there’s nothing in the game that indicates this, so trust me, this thing made a lot of people mad.

      1. Daniil Adamov says:

        I can understand that in theory. That said, are there really that many people who don’t try and complete all companion quests in an RPG by default? IIRC I did that on my first run without thinking about the ending, just for completion’s sake, and was if anything a little disappointed that no one died.

    2. Bubble181 says:

      Yeah, this usedto be a much-hated part of the game. Lots of people like the idea in retrospect, but a whole lot of “must have perfect ending” people lost characters there which they didn’t want to lose for ME3. It was very contested, especially since it wasn’t really advertised (or, at least, it wasn’t what people expected from “your choices have consequences”), so people saw it as a gotcha moment.

  11. “I HAVE TO GO!
    A Mass Effect retrospective.”

    Also, it might look better if he characters eyes looked upwards, as if he was rolling his eyes!

    Also. I don’t see any issues with the cover art, aside from the N7 logo. You might want to poke a mail to Bioware legal on that one and be prepared to change it to something else.

    But my suggestion is to just use the (20) sided die logo instead. (the white hexagon with the 20 inside it), keep the tiny red accent though. So you are just replacing N7 with your logo.

  12. Grimwear says:

    Just chiming in to say that if you have a “book break” between the different games, that the Andromeda book title be “The Andromeda Drain”.

  13. Bins says:

    Serendipitously, I just ran across this vidder who was so steamed by the crappy colonialist writing they made a really wonderful music video highlighting how bad it is. if anyone’s interested.

    Vidder notes here:

  14. hoder says:

    I just realized you could have used a nice switching of letters and called it ‘Mess Affect’.
    It also has the added benefit of not using either of the trademarked (?) words.
    Or not, totally up to you of course. I’ll show myself out.

  15. Mistwraithe says:

    Lots of good advice above. Of them I would like to reinforce the comment that you want Mass Effect to be in the book title so that it is found by people searching Google/Amazon/etc for Mass Effect.

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