Mass Effect’s story left a strong echo with the fanbase, inspiring hundreds of breathtaking fanfics and phenomenal artistic pieces. In my opinion, one of the finest fan fictions written on Mass Effect is done by Dennis J called the Dark Sky Series. The series takes place after the Reaper War.
What caught my eye isn’t just the series, but also the facebook page that’s maintained by several administrators. The admins constantly update the page with clever posts and some of the finest pictures I’ve ever seen on Mass Effect. So I asked them if I could interview them. Much to my absolutely delight, they said yes.
(note: I’m not sure if the pictures are accurate, as I didn’t ask them what they looked like… but I’m reasonably certain Dennis is the Space Hamster in Shepard’s room and Jackson is really Chibi Garrus)
Press Start To Begin: When did you get into Mass Effect?
Jackson: Well I got into Mass Effect shortly before the Shadow Broker DLC came out for ME2
Dennis: I got into Mass Effect when the second title released, Mass Effect 1 came out while I was deployed to Iraq so I missed the ad blitz and fox news hype. Once I bought and played Mass Effect 2 I fell in love with it’s rich story and characters.
Press Start To Begin: What inspired you to write the series you’re working on?
Jackson: Dennis plus Mshenko got me working on my writings.. plus i needed a way to vent my disgust for the endings. I figured the best screw you would be to do a better job then Hudson.
Dennis: Dark Sky came about because like many people I was not happy with the way Mac Walters and others decided to end Shepard’s story. Not that it was sad, but it didn’t make sense broke from the story line and was just plain bad. I stated with a simple short story on the Turn on Turn off event page. People seemed to like it and they pushed me to continue so I did and 300 plus pages later The Dark Sky Series is going strong with a third book already planed.
Press Start To Begin: What do you feel the appeal of Mass Effect is?
Jackson: For me the appeal of Mass Effect are the messages i take from it. Which are: 1.NOTHING is impossible. 2. When we put our shit away and work together we are more powerful than our enemies. The whole point of the game was fighting sentient starships each the height of a building that are VERY good at killing and harvesting. And there are thousands of them coming at us. And to kill one took a crap load of ships. And still we beat them, we destroyed an armada of giant killing AIs and we did it because we decided to work as one. Different components coming together in a cohesive whole. The Quarian’s tech expertise, the Turian’s war instinct, the biotic supremacy of the Asari. The games to me show when people put aside their differences even for a second, they see the strength they have as one. And then it makes it very hard to hate each other again. When you break break with your enemy and fight beside him and learn about him it becomes impossible to go back to being enemies.
Dennis: Like Star Wars/Star Trek, Mass Effect appeals to the part of every human to explore and see what is over that ridge. Since space flight is still low orbit it is nice to dream of a day when Humans can visit the stars. As for the game it is a great balance between story and action. The writing is top notch and even the few bad parts are far outweighed by the good. The short answer is choices Mass Effect allows the player to guide the game as they see fit.
Press Start To Begin: What makes your facebook page unique?
Jackson: This page is unique both because it was based off a Fan Fiction and because of the Admins. Dark Skies is a really great read and its a shame more people don’t give it a look. But the Admins are what get me most of the time. Dennis is both the leader and a participant in the fun. He knows when to have a laugh and when to be the head Admin, and he’s very good natured. Robert is easy to laugh with and fun to compete with, and he can revisit old jokes 1000 times without loosing the humor. Mady is the stabilizing force, she keeps us level and she’s got a sort of honesty that makes her just fun to share the page with. Grunt’s a fire cracker, he switches between jokes and honest questions at the drop of a hat. The admins as a whole have got good chemistry.
Dennis: This page has something for everyone it has pictures of course but the admins are very good at what they do. From Jackson’s role playing with a few of the fans to Grunt’s terrible spelling we try not to hide who we are and it comes through. I also think many people enjoy that it is all about bashing the game for the ending but we don’t hide from the fact that few people liked it.
Press Start To Begin: Tell me about the Dark Sky Series. Why do you feel fans enjoy it?
Jackson: Dark Skies for me is the ability to see outside the box. My OTP (as if you couldn’t tell) is Kaidan and Mshep. So I honestly can’t imagine very well what a Liaramancer sees post reaper conflict. It’s a refreshing palate cleanser, and a riveting read at the same time. I like to think i know Dennis pretty well as a person. Dark Skies is both a new view on a Mass Effect Ending and a new view on him, how he feels and what he thinks the game should have been. It’s a step away from the usual for me. As for the fans, I’m pretty sure many would agree with my reasoning, also Liara and Shepard is the most common pairing in the game.
Dennis: The Dark Sky Series was to be one book, but after it took off and became the most read Fan Fic on Holdtheline.com before it was finished I decided to make it a series that will follow Shepard’s family and a new war. Over all most people like it, some on Bioware’s page point out the short falls but that is to be expected and it is helpful to get feedback. As for why people enjoy it I have no idea, at first I thought it was because of the ending of Mass Effect 3 and the fans wanting something from BioWare but when they didn’t get it authors like myself stepped in and provided it. As for the second story in the series I honestly couldn’t tell you why so many enjoy it. I am taken back and humbled that so many do, trust me I am no Mark Twain but I think my writing has improved as I go so who knows perhaps Mass Effect: Rise will be even bigger.
And on a personal note to Dennis: thank you for keeping my love of Mass Effect alive. Your series reminds me why I loved Mass Effect so much and why the fight for a better ending was so worth it. I can’t wait to see where the Dark Sky series will take me!