Dead Space: Martyr is a much-needed good omen for the future of the video game novel. A lot of other video game developers would do well to learn from Visceral Studio's careful, loving treatment of their Dead Space IP. Visceral has expanded their hit 2008 horror game into several comic books and an animated film. They seem to recognize that fans have a hunger for the universe and story they have created. And they love that universe and story enough to want to make the cross-media expansions of the Dead Space IP worthwhile endeavors. This horror novel is Exhibit A of Visceral's careful management of their IP. They hired someone who could actually write, not some hack who spits out something that reads like a video game walkthrough with slightly better vocabulary. Hiring Brian Evenson was a terrific choice. Video game developers take note: when you want to cash in on a novel that your fans will buy, at least take a second to find somebody like this guy, who can actually write. Martyr is a prequel to the original Dead Space, set hundreds of years before that game. The novel covers the discovery of the original Marker and ultimately gestures towards the beginnings of the Church of Unitology. Michael Altman may not turn out to be quite who you'd expect him to be, given the reverent way you hear his name used in the games and comics, but that's part of what makes this read so much fun. Evenson doesn't deliver some punched-up version of the text logs you read in Dead Space. He's made a unique and interesting story that doesn't insult your intelligence and will surprise you along the way even if you know where it has to end up.