Eric Ashley is a Multiverser player and referee who was among the first to read Verse Three, Chapter One, the first Multiverser novel, and he enjoyed it thoroughly.  He wrote this review, posted originally at RPGnet.
Eric Ashley's Review of Verse Three, Chapter One, the First Multiverser® Novel
The reviewer's words... Thoughts of the author...
This is my first review for RPG.Net so I will be happy to receive constructive feedback or questions. We thought it a pretty good review; you can post your comments at the original site, or catch Eric at the official Multiverser forum at Gaming Outpost.
In the interests of disclosure, I do have some, at arms length, association with Valdron Inc., but I payed for the copy of my book which should tell you something. However, I will get a free print of the excellent front cover, so that is something. Score one for the beginning of my family fortune. The extent of Eric's association with Valdron Inc is limited.  He purchased and runs Multiverser® at game stores and conventions, and sometimes receives notes on worlds in development to use for his demos.  He also negotiated permission to write a Multiverser-based story on his own, as yet unpublished, which will be published independently.
Verse Three, Chapter One is a hardcover novel with 367 pages in the text with a page of spacing and two pages for Acknowledgements at the back. The Total is 370 pages. The binding seems very good and sturdy to my experienced amateur eyes. It hardly creaked when I opened it the first time, and now it does not at all. The company has a history of making very solidly constructed books for its gaming line. I have had no problems with them falling apart, and I expect as much from this one. It's good to hear that the game books are holding up in the trenches; we trust the novel will as well.
I saw no typographical errors, no "their" when the author meant "there", which accuracy seems to be slightly unusual in the gaming industry. I recall reviewers here excusing authors for making such mistakes, and complaining about authors making even more significant mistakes in other RPG.Net reviews. As in the Multiverser RPG books, such excuses are not needed here. I used to think such a standard was simple professionalism; my illusions were slightly shattered when I happened upon a book in a brick and glass store with incorrect spelling on its back cover! Tsk, tsk. We did proofread it extensively, and also brought in the excellent Steve Darlington of Places to Go, People to Be to edit; it's gratifying to read that those efforts were not wasted.
However the first few pages and some others run a little too close to the bottom, and tilt at a very slight angle. Your eyebrows raise, and then you get to reading the novel. We noticed this on a few copies; we'll have to call it to the attention of the printer.
The spacing seems a little odd in a few places, but the overall the effect is usually extra easy to read. We'll probably tighten it up a bit in the paperback release, and maybe make the overall font and images smaller.
The artwork on the front cover nicely evokes the unlimited potential of the worlds and the protagonists. This potential is a central part of the novel woven through the whole structure which makes the novel appealing for its innate optimism. Great things are possible if you just give it the "old college try", and even if you fail, its not the end. This was done by Jim Denaxos, comic book artist. A great deal of effort went into getting that cover; we're very happy with it, and I'm sure Jim Denaxas is pleased it was noticed.
The interior artwork at the start of each chapter is a small "glyph" which is related to the particular character and the particular world that character is in. Very clever and neat idea I think. And the designs are well executed and stylish. Eric York did these pieces. This was the author's idea.  Our game books generally have an image for each chapter, but the minichapters of the novel called for something different, and this gives the book some pizzazz and visual interest without making it too long.
The back inside leaf of the smoothly glossy bookcover also has color reproductions of the fronts of the RPG's Referee's Rules, and the First and Second Book of Worlds which is an unexpected minor treat. Credit art director and cover designer Jim Denaxas with that idea; Bill Kozak should also be mentioned, as he did the world book covers.
The central concept of the story is that certain people are infected with "scriff". Scriff is probably interdimensional oil, and the end result of this infection is that when such a person dies, they disintegrate and reform in another alternate universe. Also, in a related effect they are effectively immortal, but the heroes and heroine "lost in space and time" making the best of what ever world fate, the gods, or the Creator dishes out to them have the disadvantage of leaving home far behind. This is, in essence, the central concept of the game as well, so in that sense the book is representing the game well.
The three main characters are diverse in a number of ways, but normal modern day people you might meet on the street. A housewife, an army medic, and an auto mechanic go on something a lot longer than a "three hour tour". The story smoothly switches between them as they deal with a wide array of problems and worlds. The characters are quickly sketched out. They are believable characters. If we had any concern about the book, it was whether readers would be able to follow the threads of three stories which run independently for most of the book before converging.  Apparently they can.
I found myself often surprised or off balance as they story went in sensible, but unexpected directions. He took a number of genres and by inserting a modern perspective into it had unusual things happen in the story. One of the great challenges in story creation is to be able to do things that surprise the reader without losing credibility.  It's critical to a good read.
I hope to have my wife read it because the female character is not as too many books are--the reverse of the action movie hero. "You killed my boyfriend, and now I must kill you and all your friends, evil bad guy!" We look forward to hearing what she thinks.  Lauren is something of an action hero herself, but because of her beliefs.
Also, I found myself expecting certain results to happen from certain events (that is deliberately vague so as to avoid spoilers), and a reasonable alternative occurred. Again, the story surprises but remains believable.
I believe this is because the author has a flexible and broad mind. I can personally testify that you do not have to be that terrifically bright to write a book. But that extra smarts often manifests itself in varying pleasing ways. This book is intelligent. This caught our attention:  the book is intelligent.
The book is written in a straightforward, plot-heavy manner with a lot happening very quickly (it has a fast pace, in other words). The characters are self-directed not being forced into one path or another by The End of the World or something equally heavy-handed, but they still find it easy to cooperate at the end when they join together despite their different opinions and approaches to save a young alien. The story keeps moving, and never gives the feeling that the characters were forced to do something for the sake of the story.
If you are looking for a calm, thoughtful, upbeat in essence, action-ful (there is lots of that), unpredictable, fun, down-to-earth and truly adult (its heroes are adults) SF novel then you may want to try this. That's a lot of good things packed in one book.
If you want total immersion, and over the top melodramatic characters then this may not be for you. Despite the fantastic that at every turn, the characters always seem like real people; if you don't like good characters, look elsewhere.
I sat down and pretty much read it straight through in five hours. Now I am rereading it more slowly. It was good enough that the reviewer wanted to read it again.
This book is the first in a series, and I look forward to reading the next one. The second is well in hand, and we'll be sure to get Mr. Ashley a copy as soon as it's available.
You can find out more about the book or the game at or That's where you are now; there's more information about the novel here.
Thanks for your time, Eric Ashley. Thanks for your time, Eric Ashley.  Reviews like this help people decide whether a book is worth reading.
Style: 5 That's five out of five in RPGnet review terms--it's a good piece of work.
Substance: 5 Again, five out of five.
This is the first review of the first novel we've published.  The only bad news here is that we're going to have to keep up the effort to produce a worthy sequel; we hope to succeed.

The original review was posted on  It was a pleasant surprise; we were unaware that Mr. Ashley was writing a review.  We do hope that this excellent book reaches beyond gamers to science fiction and fantasy fans, and also that those who read it may go on to explore the possibility of creating their own similar adventures with the Multiverser game system.

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