As MTM so graciously reminded me the other day, “Hey Cabana Boy Wannabe, those Margaritas ain’t gonna pay for themselves - get to writing!!” It’s time for another entry in “Whatcha Reading?”
As I said before, I read a lot and my “Genre of Choice” is in the science-fiction/fantasy arena. Like most folks, I wander around in the main genre to all sorts of sub-genres and niche areas. Lately, I have been reading a lot of LitRPG with an emphasis on the subgenre of Dungeon Core.
For those of you who know what this is, feel free to jump to the next paragraph. For the rest of you - LitRPG are stories with Role Playing Game (RPG) aspects woven in. RPG aspects like character levels, character attributes, (Strength, intelligence, wisdom, etc.), quests, Non-player Characters, Player Characters, magic, mana, and other assorted RPG tropes and mechanics. The story usually revolves around a character or characters that have entered into a RPG like world, either through virtual reality or god-like intervention, and follows their exploits and adventures. In Dungeon Core books the main character becomes the controlling center of a Dungeon, which they aim to grow in size and power. The dungeon is usually built underground and consists of rooms and passages that have treasures scattered throughout the dungeon guarded by monsters and traps. People come into the dungeon to gain power and treasure by beating the monsters and traps while surviving and the dungeon gains power by defeating the dungeon divers.
Books of a genre are variations on a theme and usually hit on established tropes and while each book can be a well crafted piece of literature, most don’t really stand out. For me, an author really needs to twist the genre or do something that takes it in a different direction - but stay true to the genre’s overall theme.
In the Dungeon Core genre, two books stand out as a different take on the theme. The thing that brings these two books out of the pack is the definition of what a dungeon is. The first one is “Bio Dungeon: Symbiote (The Body's Dungeon Book 1)” by Jeffrey "Falcon" Logue and Jonathan Brooks. Here, the dungeon is someone’s body. The dungeon core “grows” his dungeon by taking control of the body's functions. The “dungeon divers” are viruses and germs that the core has to fight with white blood cells and antibodies. Without putting out spoilers, the tropes are all there - learning his new environment, fighting for survival, outside bad guy, so on and so on.
The second book is “Derelict: Book 1, Repel Boarders” by Dean Henegar. All the main tropes are there, including dungeon monsters, traps, expanding the dungeon, as well as all the normal races - elves, dwarves, goblins, trolls, etc. But the setting is science fiction instead of fantasy. The dungeon is a spaceship and there are space ship battles and “dungeon diving” is actually ship boarding actions. Goblins with laser rifles!! Come on man - what else can I say?!!
If you're looking for something a bit different, give them a shot. Anyway, that’s all for this installment. Keep the sangria flowing.