I Need Blurbs!

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Apr 27, 2021

Filed under: Notices 159 comments

I’m almost done with the print version of Mess Effect. The images are converted to black and white,They don’t look bad! Although I had to remove about 30 images because they were too dark / unreadable for print. Mostly these removals were from the last three games. Mass Effect 1 was lit properly all the way through. the layout is finished,I needed to move images around to avoid wasting large blocks of space at the end of a page. Wasting a couple of inches of page space is harmless in ebook format, but it literally makes the book more expensive in print. We managed to lower the page count from 877 to 809. and the front cover has been adjusted. I’m not sure why it didn’t fit. The commissioned art was 2:3 aspect ratio and the book is going to be 6×9 inches, but for whatever reason the two didn’t line up and we had to pad the image vertically to make it fit. I’m too lazy to do the measurements and figure out where the problem was. The only thing I need now is a handful of quotes for the back cover.

If You’re Curious…

  • 193,487 words, which is 6k words longer than Fellowship of the Ring, which is the longest of Tolkien’s books.
  •  809 pages. That’s a doorstopper of a book.
  • 425 color images for the ebook version. 396 for the print version.
  • Kai Leng is mentioned 51 times.
  • New material: A Preface that explains some important concepts (like trusting the storyteller) for people who haven’t read the blog. Also, there are many short passages added in here and there.
  • Mass Effect Retrospective 44: Boss Fight was edited to fix the incorrect calculations I did for orbital bombardment.
  • Mass Effect Retrospective 45: The Temple of Duh is almost totally re-written to correct the way I bungled the description of Asari religion.
  • The final entry, Andromeda Part 25: BioWare is Dead has been expanded to make the ending less abrupt. Abrupt is fine on a blog, but at the end of a long book it feels like you need a little something extra.

Also, I have no idea what the price will be. The forms on the webpage must be completed in a specific order, so we can’t find out until we finalize the cover.

Anyway, getting back to the topic of back-cover blurbs…


I need a handful of quotes for the  back cover. What I’m looking for:

  • This isn’t really serious. We’re doing this just to have SOMETHING on the back, and this is the path of least resistance.
  • A blurb should be short – one or two sentences is the ideal. I’ll entertain longer or shorter blurbs if they’re witty / insightful enough.
  • It doesn’t need to be positive! It can be negative, just make sure it’s funny / charming.
  • Remember that the goal of these blurbs is to tell people why they should / shouldn’t read the book.
  • For the name behind the quote, just use your username. If you want it to look like the person giving the quote is Kai Leng, then post under that name.

I don’t know how many I’ll need.  I think we could get by with just four, but if there are a lot of great ones then we might use a smaller font and pack a bunch of them on there.

Also, we’re cutting things very close. We need to upload the final book, order a copy, and wait for them to send it to us using the cheapest (slowest) USPS option. No, we can’t pay for faster shipping. I don’t know why. Then we need to look at it and make sure there’s nothing horribly wrong.

That process can take up to two weeks, and we have less than three weeks before the launch of the Mass Effect remaster. So I’m going to take whatever we get todayTuesday April 27 2021. and go with that. So if you’re a couple days late to this post, then please don’t sit there for twenty minutes trying to come up with a witty quote. It will be too late.

We’ll have some real content tomorrow. In the meantime, thanks for the help!



[1] They don’t look bad! Although I had to remove about 30 images because they were too dark / unreadable for print. Mostly these removals were from the last three games. Mass Effect 1 was lit properly all the way through.

[2] I needed to move images around to avoid wasting large blocks of space at the end of a page. Wasting a couple of inches of page space is harmless in ebook format, but it literally makes the book more expensive in print. We managed to lower the page count from 877 to 809.

[3] I’m not sure why it didn’t fit. The commissioned art was 2:3 aspect ratio and the book is going to be 6×9 inches, but for whatever reason the two didn’t line up and we had to pad the image vertically to make it fit. I’m too lazy to do the measurements and figure out where the problem was.

[4] Tuesday April 27 2021.

From The Archives:

159 thoughts on “I Need Blurbs!

  1. Zeanorth says:

    Very cool Shamus, now when will the book drop on torrent sites?

  2. MerryWeathers says:

    “Best analysis of the Mass Effect series that I’ve ever read, 6/10”

  3. ivan says:

    “Hi, I’m Kai Leng and this is my favourite book about why I’m a terrible character, on the Citadel.”

    or, alternatively

    “Did you like the Mass Effect series? Well, this book tells you why you are wrong! (Except Mass Effect 1)”

    1. SidheKnight says:

      What if I agree with the books’ analysis, but still like the Mass Effect series for what it is (even though I’m still sad for what it could have been)?

      1. ivan says:

        Then you need to read the book, so that it can tell you the ways in which you are wrong. Clearly.

  4. Wolf says:

    “Read this short book before deciding if you want to dive into the Mass Effect series. It will save you so much time!”
    “Only 40 hours of reading can save you from 30 hours of gameplay.”

    “Like a group therapy session for Mass Effect 3 survivors.”

  5. Ronan says:

    “A better use of your time than playing Andromeda”

  6. kikito says:

    “I’m Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite book on Mass Effect” surely.

    1. RamblePak64 says:

      Might I recommend a mild edit?

      “I’m Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite book in the library.”

      Then again, this assumes the book will find its way into libraries…

      “I’m Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite book gathering dust in the warehouse.”

      1. ContribuTor says:

        “I’m Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite quote on this book cover.”

        1. m0j0l says:

          “I’m Commander Shepard, and this quote is definitely in the top 4 quotes on this book cover.”

  7. ShepherdDiesAtTheEnd says:

    “A precise and exacting plot analysis”


    1. Lars says:

      And in between. So who cares?

  8. Terradyne says:

    “If you’re willing to entertain reading 200,000 words of complaining, why do you need to check this blurb out first?”


    “Has far more thought put into it than Mass Effect 2 or 3, not that it’s a high bar to clear.”

  9. Mephane says:

    I nominate this very quote of yours, styled like some books use praise from various newspapers or whatever on the back:

    6000 words longer than Fellowship of the Ring! – Shamus Young

    1. Dev+Null says:

      Seconded! Though I’d attribute it to “Shamus Young, author of DM of the Rings”

      1. Zaxares says:

        Thirded! :D

  10. Lupis42 says:

    “Far, far better than the games themselves.”

  11. Piflik says:

    “Still a better lovestory than Twilight”

  12. Asdasd says:

    “A perfectly-sized book for anyone who needs to kill, like, a really big spider. Apparently it’s about spaceships or something.”

    1. bobbert says:

      You made me smile.

  13. Ancillary says:

    Don’t let the title fool you; this is a very insightful book.

  14. metagaia says:

    “This feels like it should have been some articles on a blog.”

    1. Addie says:

      “Not just the whole article on the front page! This time, Shamus ‘whole article on the front page, boss’ Young has pressed the button on the whole series!”

  15. raifield says:

    “A detailed analysis of modern videogame development (who greenlit this crap?!)”

  16. Drathnoxis says:

    193,487 words, which is 6k words longer than Fellowship of the Ring, which is the longest of Tolkien’s books.

    Wasn’t Lord of the Rings a single book as written by Tolkien and then simply divided up for publication? So sorry Shamus, but you’re still 287,616 words shy of topping Tolkien.

    1. John says:

      Wasn’t Lord of the Rings a single book as written by Tolkien and then simply divided up for publication?

      Yes. As I originally heard it, The Lord of the Rings was simply too big to fit into a single paperback. According to Wikipedia, however, Tolkien’s publisher wasn’t sure how the book would sell. They split it into three volumes to be produced and released sequentially in order to minimize their printing costs in the event that sales of the first volume were bad. And thus the now-cliched concept of the epic fantasy trilogy was born–completely by accident!

      1. Stu Friedberg says:

        Actually, if you look at the table of contents of early edititions of LotR, it’s divided into _six_ books, which were packaged two books to a physical volume. “Book” here means something like the “Book of Job”, not a physical artifact.

        So Tolkein did not write one monstrous novel beginning to end. It had significant internal divisions, and the packaging made use of those narrative divisions.

        1. bobbert says:

          I would like to pile on, and I, too, dislike referring to ‘Fellowship’ as it own work.
          I can see both sides of the double-book vs third-of-a-book divide, though.

        2. Philadelphus says:

          Interestingly, the technical term for what we usually mean by the word “book” (a set of pages bound together) is actually “codex”, so Shamus has in fact written a Mass Effect book in codex form.

      2. Gaius Maximus says:

        There were also issues with paper rationing in Britain in the aftermath of World War II. Publishing the whole books in one volume would just not have been feasible

    2. Philadelphus says:

      Wasn’t Lord of the Rings a single book as written by Tolkien and then simply divided up for publication? So sorry Shamus, but you’re still 287,616 words shy of topping Tolkien.

      Well, he specifically said The Fellowship of the Ring, not Lord of the Rings, so regardless of whether or not the former is a subset of the latter created by material constraints, he’s still right: it’s 6k words longer than the published book The Fellowship of the Ring. No claim about being “longer than Tolkien (in general)” involved.

  17. redsoxfantom says:

    “Did you love Mass Effect 1? Find out why nothing like it will ever be made again!”

    “Reading this book let me fool everyone into thinking I was a Media Studies major. Now I’m a successful critic for the New York Times! Thanks Shamus!”

    “Oh, but I’m sure your idea for a massive space opera trilogy will turn out just fine”

  18. Duoae says:

    “193,487 words of not releasing your own damn game…” – Casey Hudson

    “Shamus…” – Urdnot Wrex

    (Congrats on getting near the end of this marathon, Shamus!)

  19. eldomtom2 says:

    “Like an academic analysis, but not about how it’s secretly racist”

    1. Nimrandir says:

      As an academic whose field is literally called analysis, I’m a touch offended. :-)

      1. John says:

        Ack! Real analysis was the driest, least interesting, and least applicable course that I was forced to take as an undergraduate math major. When they started letting me pick my own classes, I stayed far, far away from complex analysis. If Wikipedia is to be believed, however, that differential equations class I took was secretly an analysis class too, so I guess the math department got me again anyway.

        1. Nimrandir says:

          I’ll disagree on the applicability (Taylor series and Fourier series are both pretty darned important outside mathematics classes), but the other two points are valid criticism.

          I think the issue is two-pronged. Firstly, we need to teach people calculus who don’t need to know how it all fits together. This ends up with undergraduate math majors getting to a real analysis course and getting annoyed at all the technical hurdles between them and the stuff they’ve known how to do for years. I can definitely relate; I spent a good chunk of my advanced calculus course wondering why I can’t just replace a limit expression with its value.

          More significantly in my opinion, the appropriate way to build real analysis is a terrible way to teach people real analysis. When I’ve taught the subject in the past, I went with textbooks that dug into the historical origins of analysis rather than leaping directly into the structure of the real number line or just acting like the utility of sequences and series is self-evident.

          I doubt you wish to revisit the subject, but I’d recommend David Bressoud’s A Radical Approach to Real Analysis as a source of motivation for why we need to do things the way we do. For the record, Bressoud brought up the teach-versus-build conflict I mentioned earlier, in the preface to that book. I still read through his follow-up on the Lebesgue integral now.

          Finally, differential equations is really my jam. It’s my favorite course to teach; I describe it to students as calculus’ cooler, older brother who rides a Harley Fat Boy and effortlessly nails Van Halen guitar solos.

          1. John says:

            Let me clarify that most of my problem with real analysis was the professor, who, while a perfectly nice guy, was not an inspiring lecturer. A different professor taught complex analysis, so I suppose that class might have been okay. As for applicability, while we did cover some series material, I don’t think we ever got as far as Taylor series or Fourier transforms in my real analysis class. It’s been over twenty years now, but my recollection is that we covered less than half the textbook. I of course used Fourier transforms in my differential equations class and have encountered Taylor series in many and various places. Differential equations is indeed very neat. It’s been a long, long time since I had to deal with anything more complicated than first order linear DE, but I really liked doing series-solution problems as an undergraduate.

            1. DrCapsaicin says:

              I was also an undergrad math major who labored to survive real analysis. In fact, that was the class that broke me. My plan was always to become a math professor, but two semesters of real analysis showed me I didn’t have the insight to cover proof-heavy courses (and by extension, research). It ended fine though, I went into nuclear chemistry and smashed atoms instead (which is WAY more fun).

              I have a question though: I primarily teach Engineering majors chemistry and physics these days, and at my school they are required to take Diff Eq, but not Linear Algebra. As you said, I haven’t had to touch anything more that a first order linear ODE since undergrad. I always tell my Engineers that with the advent of Wolfram Alpha and other symbolic representation solvers that Lin. Al. is actually way more useful because it teaches better METHODS of problem solving as opposed to focusing on unique solutions to specific problems (Diff. Eq.). Did I just have a bad Diff. Eq. prof? I’m curious on thoughts from other math geeks.

              1. John says:

                I dunno. I had an atypical linear algebra class, in that it was taught like a theory class, very proof-oriented. We didn’t crunch a lot of matrices, which I understand is more typical for the course. That’s how I was told my DE professor handled the course when he taught it at least. All I can say is that I think linear algebra was, on the whole, more useful for me personally as it came up a lot in my graduate econometrics courses.

                1. Nimrandir says:

                  Yeah, linear algebra can go all over the place, depending on the interest of the instructor. In bigger departments, there’s often a queue for who gets to teach the course, to boot. Algebraists often take the course in a more theoretical direction, focusing on vector space structures and orthonormal basis stuff. More applied mathematicians often go the number-crunchy route and shoot for the singular value decomposition. I’d be more inclined to go the latter route, mainly because I think low-rank SVD approximations are really cool as far as image processing is concerned.

                  I’ve never gotten the opportunity to teach linear algebra, sadly enough. One day, maybe . . . :-)

              2. Nimrandir says:

                Interesting. I’d contend that engineers should see them both, but that may be a credit-hour consideration.

                Particularly for first-order ODE’s, it often feels like the tools are pretty specific. I usually link the sundry solution techniques as variant responses to the question “Wouldn’t it be nice if _____?” I think that broader sense helps on a problem-solving level, aiming to get students used to looking for a means to get at a solution instead of flowcharting their way to the answer in the back of the book.

                I wrapped up a differential equations course in March, and we considered:
                – Analytical first-order solution techniques (separation of variables, integrating factors, exactness);
                – Euler’s method and slope fields (not everything has an analytical solution, after all!);
                – Solving higher-order constant-coefficient and Cauchy-Euler equations (via their associated auxiliary/characteristic equations);
                – Dealing with nonhomogeneous equations via both the method of undetermined coefficients and variation of parameters;
                – Using the Laplace transform to solve initial-value problems;
                – Systems of first-order ODE’s (for the first time, I managed to talk about eigenvalues before my colleague teaching linear algebra!).

                Unfortunately, the power series approach John mentioned enjoying was a casualty of the pandemic. I’ve always built the course with an independent research component, where students had to pick the right bungee cord for a jump or model the vibrations of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. A few students even ended up looking at some PDE stuff this year — I always love getting to talk about solitons!

        2. Philadelphus says:

          I haven’t taken real analysis, but the complex analysis course I took for my math minor was fascinating. Sure I don’t really use any of it in my astrophysics PhD, but I ended up independently discovering the Residue Theorem a chapter before it was formally introduced, which felt like an incredible accomplishment.

          1. Nimrandir says:

            That reminds me of a story my master’s thesis advisor told about his graduate school experience. He was taking a topology course (old-school, point-set stuff), and the professor was using the Moore method, with a big list of problems for students to attempt over the course of the semester. My advisor spent a good couple of weeks trying to crack one particular proof, but he finally got it.

            Another of his professors bumped into him in the hall shortly after his triumph, and the professor asked what had been happening in topology. My advisor related his work, only to be met with a dismissive harrumph and, “That’s just the Hahn-Banach theorem!”

            My advisor was initially disappointed at the apparent triviality of all his effort, until he realized that he had just proved, on his own, a theorem with two names attached to it!

  20. Wrex says:


    1. ContribuTor says:

      This needs to be paired with
      “Wrex” — Shepard
      as the following quote.

      1. The Big Brzezinski says:

        But not immediately after each other.

  21. jurgenaut says:

    “Our quarterly earnings reports and workplace happiness survey results were made up all along!” – Cerberus whistleblower

  22. RamblePak64 says:

    Not-so-serious suggestion:
    “It was a great read until Kai Leng showed up…”

    More serious than you’re asking for:
    “Thoughtful, considered insights on game design and narrative that will have you understanding why the latter games bothered or disappointed you, but you couldn’t quite put your finger on why.”

    1. RichardW says:

      If I might make a small suggestion, the last half of that sentence works pretty well by itself –
      “Why the latter games bothered or disappointed you, but you couldn’t quite put your finger on why.”

      The whole thing together might be just a little too big for a pull quote, but that part sums things up nicely.

  23. EsotericFish says:

    Perfect for reading on those long elevator rides!

    1. Duoae says:

      Oooh, that’s a good one!

  24. William Wallace says:

    This book took me 47 poops to read.

  25. ContribuTor says:


    1. MilesDryden says:

      you ok?

  26. ContribuTor says:

    “Perhaps the most important piece of scholarly research on the Mass Effect canon published in the last fortnight.”

  27. Talmor says:

    Come for the snark. Stay for the trenchant analysis of storytelling, video games, art, and science. Walk away with a greater understanding of the world around you.

  28. Drew says:

    -The Internet

  29. ElementalAlchemist says:

    “The RPG Codex’s most anticipated book release of 2021!”.

    1. DeadlyDark says:

      Wait, really?

      Not that I’m surprised

      1. ElementalAlchemist says:

        No, lol.

  30. DeadlyDark says:

    The story of the Mass Effect series needed more calibrations. This book provides them in droves

  31. Gargamellenoir says:

    A minute tough love dissection of what Mass Effect did great and where it failed, with brilliant insights, cathartic rants and deadpan humor. A nerd’s delight!

  32. James Undercofler says:

    Reading this will make humanity stronger.
    – The Illusive Man

    1. Mikko Lukkarinen says:

      Considering the size of the damn thing, reading this book will literally make humanity stronger.

  33. Mark Ayen says:

    “Love Mass Effect but hate Kai Leng? You need this book!”

  34. The Big Brzezinski says:

    “In a world where everyone else complains about video games for money, Shamus Young remains a purist. He complains for the fun of being a crank.”

    “I’m Commander Sherbet, and this is my favorite… sorry, what am I endorsing this time again?”

    “A verbal palliative for people who have suffered on their journeys through the badlands of video game writing. Good thing it’s so long.”

    “Thanks to this book, my couch is finally level again!”

  35. Sabrdance says:

    “It’s like the codex, but for plot holes, contrivances, and of course -the infamous ending. It won’t make Mass Effect make more sense, but it will at least explain the problems in detail.”

    Feel free to edit for length and clarity.

  36. Rho says:

    A joke quote from the Reapers’ perspective?

    “There is a book far beyond your understanding. Unfortunately this isn’t it.”

  37. Groboclown says:

    “Hot Shot City was particularly good.”

    Too obscure?

  38. BlueHorus says:

    – “A mass of effective criticism on the mess that is Mass Effect’s story.”

    – “Shamus Young Wrex Mass Effect’s storytelling, assembling a Tali of the games’ flaws and Sheparding us into a new understanding.”

    – “2/10, needed more puns.”

    – “Shamus Young Has Questions. And it’s great.”

  39. MilesDryden says:

    “Pinnacle Station analysis not included.”

  40. Borer says:

    How about:
    “Everything is fine.”
    Probably doesn’t work quite as well when You’ve had to remove most of that running gag from the book. But I like it anyway.

    “The best 800 pages of complaints You’ll ever read!”

      1. SidheKnight says:

        You misspelled Shepard, Wrex.

  41. beleester says:

    “Whether you loved or hated the Mass Effect sequels, you’ll learn something about storytelling and game design from this book.”

  42. Geebs says:

    I turned off life support for the entire Housekeeping department while finishing this book – Vigil.

  43. evileeyore says:

    “I laughed, I cried, I felt myself filled with the warmth of love for my fellow man. Then I read this book…”

  44. Zeta Kai says:

    “You’ll either like Mass Effect 3 or this book. Pick one.” – Zeta Kai (no relation)

  45. GoStu says:

    “In an age of rushed contrived plots that hold up just long enough to get you to the end of the episode, Shamus Young will take you through the difference between a story that looks good in the moment versus one that can launch a universe. Not to be missed by any fan of writing, worldbuilding, or meticulous nitpicking.”

    Seriously, I want to give some major praise to the back cover of this thing and not let it slide with a pithy one-sentence joke or meme. This series transformed my outlook on fiction and storytelling and worldbuilding – and I firmly believe that the world needs to embrace the idea of “Details-First” and “Drama-First” in how it analyzes a story.

    The larger world of fiction is aching for something like this. Look at the “Freefolk” subreddit and the reaction to the latter seasons of Game of Thrones. It was the biggest TV/cultural thing of its time, and a couple hack storywriters waving their hands and ignoring details in service of railroading their way to a finish just ruined its public image. This concept of “respect your story” is very much out there and your Mass Effect series very much dives on it.

    I want this book to be huge for you. May 800 pages of dead tree with your writing on it weigh down bookshelves ’round the anglosphere.

  46. Alarion says:

    “Why did you write this book Shamus?…Had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong.”

  47. Smosh says:

    “But what do they eat?”

    1. Philadelphus says:

      “But what do they read??

  48. “I should go!” – Shepard

    “The best worst book about a game nobody cares about by a writer nobody cares about that has a blog nobody cares about. Book of The Year. 10/10” – NotIGN

    “Look, p-i-c-t-u-r-e-s!” – Your Momma

    “You can hide your hentai comic inside it!” – Anonymous

  49. Lino says:

    “I never thought i’d be interested in an 800-page retrospective of a video game. Years later, I can’t stop re-reading it! No, seriously, I can’t stop! Send help!!!”

    Seriously though, I think this retrospective really helped change my outlook on fiction.There are some stories that just don’t click with you, and I’ve never been able to put my finger on why. Trying to find the cause, I’ve always ever been able to look at superfluous elements. This retrospective – by virtue of being so meticuolous and well thought-out, has really helped me look at stories in a more comprehensive way, and figure out why they work (or don’t work) for me.

    I really hope it does well for you!

  50. SidheKnight says:

    “Mass Effect’s story didn’t come apart at the end of the third game, but at the beginning of the second”.

  51. Adamantyr says:

    “Makes Ben-Hur look like an epic!”

  52. Braking Gnus says:

    “No Genophages were created in the making of this book”

  53. Jacic says:

    “The first third was great, but the cracks started to appear in the middle, and then it all fell apart by the time Kai Leng showed up.”

    “The best novel-length retrospective on a sci-fi franchise by a once-beloved studio that I’ve ever read!”

  54. The Trexr says:

    “Young has done something amazing; he’s explained why I fell in love with Mass Effect. He’s also explained why I fell out of love with Mass Effect in later games, and I’ve come to know myself and my own tastes better by reading this book.”

  55. John Wright says:

    A more productive use of your time than playing Mass Effect: Andromeda.

  56. Nick-B says:

    I’m mentioned 51 times in this book!
    -Kai Leng

    1. BlueHorus says:

      ^^ (I love this one)

    2. The Despot says:

      “Not enough Kai Leng.” – Kai Leng

  57. Harbinger says:

    This hurts you, Shepard.

    1. Khazidhea says:

      My first thought as well!

      Going through his quotes, will also accept:

      “Embrace perfection.”
      “If I must tear you apart, Shepard, I will.”
      “You do not yet comprehend your place in things.”
      “Take what is useful, destroy the rest.”
      “Direct intervention is necessary.”

  58. Retsam says:

    “When are you going to get a real job?” – Mom

  59. RFS-81 says:

    “Contains all the information you need to build your very own warship.”
    – Tim

  60. Megan J says:

    About the cover image adjustment, I think bleeds might have been the issue. For a paperback print book front cover, you’d typically need to provide a small amount of bleed at the top, bottom, and right-hand sides of the front cover — where the edges are going to be cut — so that a strip of background colour won’t accidentally show up on the edges of your cover.

    1. CloverMan-88 says:

      Bleeds have the same thickness around the image, so it wouldn’t change the aspect ratio.

      1. Shamus says:

        Wait. Hm. This idea tickled my brain. “Is this really true?” It sounds plausible enough, but I think it’s not true.

        Let’s say the cover is 4×6 cubits. (Cubits are my favorite anachronistic nonsense unit.) That works out to a 2:3 aspect ratio. Let’s also imagine that the bleeds are enormous. The bleeds are the same thickness all around, which means they subtract a uniform 1 cubit from every side. That would make the final cover 2×4 cubits. 2×4 is obviously no longer 2:3.

        1. bobbert says:

          I would like to point out that your 4 x 6 master-book is the size of my bedroom.

        2. Megan J says:

          Yeah, the 2:3 aspect ratio would only be preserved if the right/left bleeds are just 2/3 as thick as the top/bottom bleeds. Instead, all bleeds are the same thickness, which skews the aspect ratio.

          But also — what I tried to point out above — there wouldn’t be a bleed on the left-hand side since that’s where the spine starts, so that would change the aspect ratio too (two bleeds increase the height, but only one increases the width).

  61. ColeusRattus says:

    “If Mass Effect’s ending made the whole trilogy feel like a waste of time, wait till you’ve read this book!”

    “If nitpicking were an artform, this would be it!”

    “But the gameplay is sooo much better in part 2!”

    “It’s a bit derivative”

  62. Aaron+B+Wayman says:

    This book could be the final piece of research to finish that pesky doctorate thesis you are working on, or the basis of it!

  63. Glenn Eychaner says:

    Absolutely the best book I’ve never read about a game I’ve never played!

  64. A must-read for any fan of the Mass Effect franchise or of storytelling in general. Spoiler warning: all the endings here are the same color.

  65. Syal says:

    An in-depth look at how small details add up to an immersive fictional world, and how quickly the lack of them can shatter it.

    With jokes. Possibly poop-related; no promises.

  66. VPofTucson says:

    “I loved Mass Effect 1, was unimpressed by the second, and didn’t touch the third. I couldn’t put into words why I felt the way I did — until I read this book.”

  67. William says:

    I’m very glad Kai Leng isn’t my father.

  68. OldOak says:

    Mass Effect 1 was lit properly all the way through.

    Some AMD users might disagree with you :)
    You had to use “viewmode unlit” console setting in order to “see” your characters (as opposed to black blobs) through some of the Noveria and Ilos locations.

    1. bobbert says:

      So, that’s why it did that.

  69. microStyles says:

    A thorough and passionate analysis of the rise and fall of a once-beloved game series and the company that created it.

  70. Paul Spooner says:

    “Having mastered fan-fiction with his classic ‘Free Radical’ Shamus Young has done it again with this bookend tome of meta-fan-fiction. Delight in the smoldering frustration and mounting outrage as he relives our collective nightmare.”

  71. Dreadjaws says:

    “This book sucks!” – Kai Leng

    “You will start this book because we allow it and you will end it because we demand it.” – Sovereign
    or, alternatively
    “You will buy this book because we allow it and you will read it because we demand it.” – Sovereign

    “I’m Commander Shepard and The Lord of The Rings is my favorite book in the Citadel. This one’s pretty good too, though.” – Commander Shepard

    “Assume direct control of this book and you won’t be able to stop reading it like I wasn’t able to stop Shepard from saving the galaxy. Hahaha, boy, do I suck… Uh, I mean… THIS HURTS YOU.” – Harbinger

    “Some women find long analyses of videogames attractive; mind you, most of those women are krogan. – Garrus Vakarian

    “Do you like Mass Effect? Do you hate Mass Effect? Are you ambivalent towards Mass Effect, but are still interested in long, detailed and deep analyses of videogame franchises that relay what works and what doesn’t in extreme detail while offering clever insight into their story and characters? Well, in either case you’re in the right place. Buy this book now and you might just delay the death of our galaxy’s advanced species by another 50.000 years.” – Me

  72. Michael Sheely says:

    The best analysis I’ve read of any video game. An tour de force through the universe of Mass Effect, part ballad for the narrative which could have been, part post-mortem for the what went wrong. If you love thinking deeply about fictional worlds and worldbuilding, you don’t want to miss this retrospective.

  73. Dennis Stewart says:

    “Shamus puts into words what had previously only existed in my subconscious.”

  74. James Young says:

    “This book helped me understand the relationship between writing, production, and delivery during a formative time in my development as tabletop GM. Have I ever actually GM’d a space opera RPG………well no. But at least my villains’ motives make a little more sense now!”

    Note that if you don’t want to use my last name so it doesn’t look like some family member of yours gave you a pity review feel free to credit me as “Jimmy Jortsman”

  75. pseudonym says:

    “The definitive proof that the first Mass Effect was the best in the series.”

    “Nobody expected this sort of inquisition.”
    – the Spanish inquisition

  76. ngthagg says:

    This book is the Kai Lang of fanfiction! Or something like that, I never played Mass Effect.

  77. Simplex says:

    “Mass Effect Retrospective 45: The Temple of Duh is almost totally re-written to correct.”

    This is driving me crazy – to correct WHAT? :)

    1. Nimrandir says:

      Didn’t that section say that the asari only have one religion, despite a codex entry on siarism and its effect on other asari religions/philosophies? Maybe that’s what is meant here.

    2. Shamus says:

      Oops. “to correct the way I bungled the description of Asari religion.”

  78. Jamey says:

    “Sometimes you just want to read the internet.”

    “Ordering a physical copy of this book starts a Rube Goldberg machine at your nearest Amazon warehouse.”

  79. Braking Gnus says:

    “Did you enjoy the Mass Effect Series? WRONG! Buy this book to find out why”

  80. “Shamus Young understands Mass Effect better than the people that wrote it.”

    “Remind me to never make Shamus Young mad.”

    “If you like to read books, I hear this is one.”

  81. Dennis Stewart says:

    You might not have noticed the storytelling problems with Mass Effect, but your brain did. – Mr. Plinkett

  82. Doug Sundseth says:

    “When all of your problems are nails, this book makes an excellent hammer. When your problem is Mass Effect, it’s even better.”

    “You liked it on the blog; you’ll love it as a paperweight. Or wheel chock.”

    “Makes a much better doorstop than the website.”

  83. Decius says:

    I would like to preorder the signed and numbered colector’s’ editon.

  84. Albert Rimmer says:

    I can’t believe no one has suggested:

    “This book was great right up until the last 20 pages.”

    -Mass Effect Fans

  85. Decius says:

    “The entire book isn’t on the front page anymore”

  86. Benjamin Paul Hilton says:

    “The cathartic release we’ve all needed since Mass Effect broke our hearts”

  87. Dragmire says:

    I like the idea of quotes that sound the person is emotionally exhausted.

    “Man, just wait until you read about Tim…”

  88. Taellosse says:

    “I thought I liked the Mass Effect series. Then I read Shamus Young’s analysis, and realized it was actually terrible. It changed my life!”

  89. Anonimous Coward #15 says:

    “This book, despite the good intentions of its author, still requires a huge amount of calibrations.”

    — Garrus Vakarian

  90. Anonimous Coward #15+1 says:

    Do you feel overburden by your own inner dialog and intrusive thoughts? Wait no longer, and start reading this “book” (short-hand for “Diary of a madman”) and feel the relief of trying to follow the ramblings of somebody else instead of your own! Priceless!

    — A Guy on the Internet (who read in awe the whole book in, like, 3 days).

  91. Profugo Barbatus says:

    “A entertaining exploration of world building, plot collapse, and narrative contrivance. The existence of this book makes the ending of the third game worthwhile.

  92. Hush says:

    “Using holistic analysis, biting sarcasm, lots of nitpicking, and even genuine shock and frustration, Shamus dissects the tragedy of Mass Effect – a franchise that SHOULD still be making money and captivating audiences today, but is merely a punchline instead.”

  93. Neil deGrasse Tyson says:

    I have never heard of this book, and have no idea why you’re asking me about it.

    1. Cilba Greenbraid says:

      The most fun you will ever have indulging a pentagenarian complaining for 800 pages!

      (Love your work, Shamus. Looking forward to the Rant of the Year edition.)

  94. General+Karthos says:

    “Ignorance is bliss. [Shamus] Young breaks down everything wrong about the Mass Effect series you can’t unlearn.”

    “Rudimentary creatures of blood and flesh, you enjoy bad games because he allows it. This will end because he demands it. “

  95. Ander says:

    Just play Jade Empire

  96. Miguk says:

    “Because spending only 200 hours playing the game to be disappointed by Mass Effect wasn’t already enough!”

  97. Xbolt says:

    “Information is my weapon, Shepard. It’s good.”

    -The Illusive Man, on why this book is important

  98. Amstrad says:

    “Test blurb, please ignore.”

    “Positive comment about this book.’); DROP TABLE blurbs;–“

    1. Philadelphus says:

      ERROR: content (“approbatory comment”) not found.

  99. Lars says:

    This blog post and all the comments need to be in this books appendix.

  100. Tim Viuellsi says:

    A visceral catalogue of flaws. Experience first-hand the descent into madness from the original masterpiece that was tantalizingly dangled only to be broken apart in every way that matters. I wish you could see it like I do. It’s perfect.

    it’s too late but im a big fan of your work and this is what i do for a living anyway so here goes.

  101. GoodRobot says:

    Logic: Kai Lang is Bad
    Logic: Kai Lang is in this book
    Logic: Therefore this book is bad.

  102. Gautsu says:

    “Vindicates my life choices,” Marauder (Shields) [R.I.P.]

  103. Nate Winchester says:

    “This isn’t a critique, this is an exercise in improving as a writer by learning from others’ failure.”

  104. Ofermod says:

    “This is the sort of arrant pedantry up with which I (and any readers with an eye for story breakdown) most certainly shall put.”

  105. Nils says:

    Will people in Europe be able to buy the book? I would love to have that in my shelf! The blog is already a good read and I learned a lot about storytelling reading it.

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