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BioShock: Rapture Hardcover – July 19, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 338 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“I am Andrew Ryan and I’m here to ask you a question: Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his own brow? No, says the man in Washington. It belongs to the poor. No, says the man in the Vatican. It belongs to God. No, says the man in Moscow. It belongs to everyone. I rejected those answers. Instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose....Rapture. A city where the artist would not fear the censor. Where the scientist would not be bound by Petty morality. Where the great would not be constrained by the small. And with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city as well.”

About the Author

John Shirley won the Bram Stoker Award for his book Black Butterflies. He was co-screenwriter of The Crow and television writer for Fox, and Paramount Television. His novels include City Come A-Walkin', Eclipse, Crawlers, Demons, and Bleak History.


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Product Details

  • Series: Bioshock
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (July 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765324849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765324849
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (338 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #464,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
!!WARNING!! This book is a prequel to the games, but DO NOT read this book before playing them (Why haven't you played them yet???). It will give away certain "details" that the player should not know about when playing the games. This holds especially true for the first BioShock. I won't mention any of these spoilers in this review, so read on...

I wasn't expecting much when my copy of BioShock:Rapture arrived in the mail, but I consider myself a pretty big fan of the series and the idea of a prequel in print was enough to make me preorder it. I was not disappointed... far from it in fact.

If you've played the BioShock games then you know a great deal of the storytelling is done via audio diaries. These audio diaries are exactly what they sound like... the audio recorded thoughts of those that lived in Rapture. As you progress through the games you discover these recordings scattered about here and there. Each diary contains a small piece of a puzzle; a very dark puzzle that paints a picture of what took place in Rapture. From these diaries we learn of some of the horrible experiences of its citizens, as well as the events that ultimately caused its downfall. John Shirley does an extraordinary job of tying these diaries together into a novel that really fleshes out the story of Rapture.

In bringing these diaries together, Shirley takes side-characters from the games and gives our brief encounters with them more meaning. People that had small cameos from the games are given new life as you see the events that led to their fate in greater detail and from different angles. Not every character is given as much attention as others, but overall I was very satisfied.
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Format: Paperback
This book is odd...in more ways than one.

I love BioShock. I mean, LOVE IT. It's one of the most inspiring works I've ever experienced before in the whole of my life. The very first time I sat down by myself and played the first BioShock, I started playing and thought to myself "This is INCREDIBLE" but then, after I continued playing, started collecting the diaries, paying attention to my surroundings and really analyzing the whole thing, I realized that what I was experiencing was much deeper than simply a video game. The message(s), themes, characters...they are as complex and as vivid as those of any great film or novel. By the time I was half way through the first BioShock, my reaction went from "incredible" to "this is important...this is tragic and deeper than they let on...". Of course, I played and got the "positive" ending, which I assume is the "true" ending to the story, so that made the experience all that much better.

Fast forward 2 years and I stumble upon this book by John Shirley. Needless to say I got it the day it came out. At first, I was amused with it and how the story was progressing...then I was troubled...then, by the end of the novel, I was thrilled. Make no mistake, this is not a perfect book. Nor does it give a good, in-depth view of Rapture. It certainly extends the story and tells a harrowing tale, but I often found myself wishing parts were longer and that the characters interacted more. Additionally, I think John Shirley had a mixture of success in the characters...I think he got McDonagh, Ryan, Fontaine, Sander Cohen and the Lutz's perfectly right.
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Format: Paperback
The Good: Fills in the blanks in the first game, captures the atmosphere perfectly, everything in the game is in this book, a lot of questions answered from the game that couldn't have been otherwise

The Bad: Ending feels a tad rushed, a little slow to start

Rapture is a book that gets the novel translation perfect and all other games novels need to do. Rapture manages to used every single character, area, and even use word for word audio diaries from the game, and puts it into one cohesive narrative. The book starts off in 1945 with Andrew Ryan starting plans on building Rapture. The stories main protagonist is not Jack, but Bill McDonagh. He starts out as a plumber and Ryan plucks him up and has him help create Rapture. This all can be linked to the first game, and the whole book is just 100% spot on with everything.

If you truly love the lore and setting of BioShock this is the book to read if you want to know what happened during certain audio diaries, why certain ones were made, and even just how the hell did this underwater city get created. The book spans 14 years leading right up to the beginning of the first game. The book actually has you following a whole civilization fall into despair and depression. Slowly everyone starts going insane on ADAM and EVE and Plasmids. You even get to know how those things were actually invented. You even get to see how security bots, turrets, and cameras came to be, and even Circus of Value vending machines get mentioned.

The book does so much right that fans will just be shocked and awed about events playing out and will run through the game in their head and think, "So that's how that happened!". The book even made me go back and play through the whole game again just to link everything to the game.
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