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Knee-deep in the Dead (Doom #1)

3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  923 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews

The Gates were there on Phobos when mankind first arrived. Inert, unyielding, impossibly alien constructs, for twenty years they sat lifeless, mute testaments to their long-vanished creators, their secrets hidden. Then one day, they sprang to life...

Meet Corporal Flynn Taggart, United States Marine Corps; serial number 888-23-9912. He's the best warrior the twenty-first c

Published (first published August 1995)
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The chief amusement of this book was that it made me nostalgic for all of that time that I wasted as a teenager playing the game on which this book is based -- but hey, it was an awesome game, so, y'know, I enjoyed reading this a lot.

It wasn't The DOOM Comic of yore (comic reading link, youtube dramatic reading), of course, which is and always will be the DOOM adaptation against which all others must be compared, and I think that where it missed most of its mark was that, unlike the comic, the b
Jan 27, 2011 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
The original Doom is a rather mindless and repetitive game, so to see this novelized was quite the curiosity. To further my resolve to read this, my friend went so far as to tell me the novel was actually very good. Based on this, I thought it was time to give this a try!

People expecting some grandiose literary work with a fully in depth story should probably look elsewhere. This book is written in the spirit of the game! Those complaining about the books sequence where the characters, mainly F
Jan 26, 2012 Frank rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review is being written over 15 years after the fact. The boy who read this book and loved doom, has grown up, but still this book is remembered fondly.

The big thing about this book, is unlike the scholastic series of Video game books, this is written as if it was a real book, that only owes a theme from the game, and it comes off surprisingly good. It's not high end fiction, it's not pop fiction, this is a novelization of a video game that takes a good amount of liberties to keep it intere
Nicholas Diak
With the upcoming Doom reboot on the horizon to be released, this is an opportune time to take a look at the novelizations of the original Doom games. Four books were jointly penned by Dafydd ab Hugh and Brad Linaweaver in the mid-90s: Knee-Deep in the Dead, Hell on Earth, Infernal Sky, and Endgame. This review is for the first book in the quadrilogy, Knee Deep in the Dead.

Knee-Deep in the Dead is an adaption of the first game in the Doom series, and attempts to cover the events from the game’s
Nov 05, 2014 Nick rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
While reading this I was reminded of a Stephen King quote:“...most writers can remember the first book he/she put down thinking: I can do better than this."
Knee-Deep in Shit is more like it.

Doom Guy not only has a supporting cast, but he can't stop talking about them. Even in the middle of a demonic invasion, he'll spend as much time fighting as expressing his admiration for a female Marine and reluctance to go beyond the "buddy" zone. The same crutches are used over and over. So many times, he
Michael Hanscom
Okay, so I wasn't exactly expecting much when I found this one at Goodwill…but it didn't even live up to those low expectations. Not even enjoyably dumb, just bad. All the thrills and excitement you'd expect from reading about watching someone else play a video game. One of the rare books to go right back to Goodwill.
D.L. Denham
Nov 18, 2014 D.L. Denham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
DOOM is a recognizable brand to any 90s kid or true gamer from the PC age of first person video gaming. One of my most vivid memories as a kid is sitting in my underwear at the large IBM PC a kid, around the age of six, blasting away demons, boneys, and hell-princes until late into the night. DOOM changed video gaming and provided a fun, horror filled universe for fans to live in. Sadly, as a kid, I never read the DOOM novelizations. Now, more than twenty years later, I am enjoying this series. ...more
Jun 26, 2012 Rémy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve read bad books before. There have been books I wanted to toss across the room after reading. There’s even been a book I wanted to burn after reading. Several books made me feel disgusted at the amount of time I put into them. You know that feeling where you feel disgusted you let that book into your mind, and let it roam around for a while? The first Doom novel somehow worse than the books that made me feel all these things.

The narrative is a clunky mess. It follows a space marine as he get
This is obviously not going to be high literature, or even groundbreaking writing - it's a simple, mindless, "junk food" kind of read; and for that I actually don't think it's that bad. In fact, it's actually quite okay.

The book doesn't really retell the story of the Doom video game - there wasn't really any story in that game - but reinterprets the game in a way that makes it readable. It brings in its own original sci-fi ideas, which, while half-baked, do move the book along at a compelling pa
Henrik Rostoft
So-so, but interesting enough that I want to read book number 2
J.W. Patten
What is fear?
Naturally, this will form a different definition from person to person. In the case of ID, the creators of the video game, DOOM, fear is simple:
You are alone. You have to find your way out of a maze. There are creatures within the maze that will kill you. You have only a pistol.
Now escape.
Level after level, maze after maze, you have only two objectives: escape, and survival.
I was addicted to this kind of gameplay from the start. And when DOOM's story became a series of four books,
Apr 14, 2013 Dark-Draco rated it liked it
Flynn Taggart is a Marine, threatened with court martial until the Gates on Mars suddenly start working. Aliens that resemble our very human ideas of demons, plus a few zombies thrown in for good measure, take over the base, leaving Flynn on his own. Following marks that he hopes are left by his mate, Arlene, he travels down the levels of the base, the monsters getting worse and harder to kill, the scenery changing at each doorway, and challenges to solve before he can move on.

This was an intere
Sep 26, 2013 Dustin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tie-in, sci-fi, future
Two and a half stars, but I'm feeling generous so I'll round up in this case.

I'll admit I'm surprised. Going in I expected this to be absolutely terrible. It's a novel based on an early 90's first person shooter that I found in the dollar bin of a local book store. Turns out it wasn't bad.
Now, it's exactly what you'd expect in terms of story. You follow a SPACE MARINE as he fights his way through hell on Mars (well, since it's based on the original Doom, above Mars, but whatever), trying to lo
Chris Hamburger
Jun 05, 2014 Chris Hamburger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed it as I do all brain candy, monster killing, heart shattering bullets almost missed the hero by an inch type of stories. It is surprisinly philosophical, but perhaps only because I tried my hardest to find more value than just as mental fluff.

Its a book about a video-game. Its not Tolstoy.

It does get confusing trying to follow the characters around the infinite platforms, pushing infinite switches, to lower infinite "lifts", but the game was just as confusing and as such i don't blam
Sep 10, 2011 Nativeabuse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-again
I was a huge fan of Doom and I still kind of am, and I've got to say that this is probably one of the best tie in books I've ever read. People complain that it is to simplistic and boring, but I really enjoyed the way that it kept with exact the style of the game, which for some people was a bad thing.

I really enjoyed being able to tell exactly where our hero in the book was in the game on most pages, it really follows the game incredibly closely.

The other books in the series veer off into the
Dave P
Feb 21, 2016 Dave P rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As a massive fan of Doom in my childhood, I spotted this in the library and had to give it a go!
I highly recommend this to fans of the game- its hilarious faithfulness to the subject matter makes for very (perhaps unintentionally) amusing reading. It's all in here; finding the weapons and monsters in the correct order, explosive barrels, glowing radioactive goo, primary coloured key cards, discovering the dangers of rocket launcher splash damage... I particularly enjoyed the conversation where t
Aug 25, 2014 Ian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So, you got a game about demons invading a Mars outpost, and a lone marine fighting back the hellish tides. Not much to work with, but it can be done, right? Well, the authors decide that the best way to adapt the game is to make it as literal as possible. At one point, the hero touches a glowing blue orb and then feels better afterwards. Yup, it even keeps the power-ups! It wouldn't be so bad if the action was written well, but as it, it's pretty much "I turned the corner, shot a demon, turned ...more
I got to the mention of the 'blue orb' and I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants. Why the fuck would you mention the power-up? -I was done after that. Couldn't take the book seriously anymore. The book is poorly written, littered with pop culture references, and the only real 'substance' of the book is the protagonist fawning over the female Marine he's trying to save. This may be fun for teens who grew up playing the game or fanatics of the game, but for those of us who played Doom, found it ...more
Jun 20, 2015 Jeffery rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Trudging through this book was like trying to jump rope through quicksand. The descriptions were sorely lacking, and the characters were one-dimensional cardboard cut outs. The story in general couldn't seem to find out if it was a story about fighting or a story about some guy who was having reservations about going out with his female marine companion. It was so hard to picture anything that was going on because the details were so scanty that we're only given the very bare minimum of what we' ...more
Dec 19, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just re-read this after having read it 13 years ago when it came out. I was about 14 and wayyyyyyy into Doom at the time. I gave it the fourth star more for nostalgic value than anything, but even then the book did hold up better than I thought it would. It is surprisingly well-written for the kind of book it is (short action scifi novel based on a videogame). The prose has some faults, but they're not that annoying. I'd say if you were into Doom back in its hey-day then you'd probably enjoy thi ...more
Jun 08, 2016 Juan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read this around the time the games came out during the early 90s. Take it for what it is. Basically a story fit to size a good chunk of the levels faced in the game. At times it can be corny.... like really cheesy in a stretch to make sense of the weird elements of the game. Its not all terrible. To think, reading this as an adolescent was exciting but its definitely no prize winning book. I enjoyed it.
Tommy Sutherland
Jan 28, 2014 Tommy Sutherland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've seen this book blasted a good few times out there in cyberspace but as a doomer it's everything I was hoping for. Taking you through a rough idea of the levels at break neck speed it sure packs a punch. It's got it all in there with a healthy dose of nostalgia to boot. Why would yours truly give it a four. Simply because of style. Perhaps this is where most get stuck. I reckon it's bang on!
Jul 31, 2016 Brook rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the game, back in the 90's, and when I saw a book based on it i had to have it. I was over my head at the time, but it is one of the only books\series I've ever re-read, and I picked up the things i missed when i was younger. It's fun and a little jovial without being completely silly. Just a good time, as a space marine tries to save himself, his friends and his home world against the forces of evil.
Jul 25, 2015 Ken rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-adventure
The interesting feat of this book is that it somehow manages to weave a strong narrative around the events of the player character in the original Doom; interesting because while Doom had a backstory, the game itself was basically survival and maze exploration. This series is crude and pulpish, but in an enjoyable way. Later books focus less on the events of the Doom games and more on the plot they've established in the Doom universe.
John Opalenik
Based on the video game series, but only as a jumping off point (which makes sense since the video game had an extremely simple plot).

Rather than "demons" they're aliens, and the whole situation of Earth is actually a very small conflict, almost insignificant to a greater multi-galaxy war. Interesting idea.

I was probably too young to read it at the time, but it did inspire me to be able to read more complex books.
Jul 21, 2011 D.seL rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This small review goes for the entire 4 book series..had great potential as a story..was ruined by the absolutely atrocious language and riddled with blasphemies...not really something you want your child to read. All the unnecessary profanity really detracted from an otherwise promising storyline...docked 3 stars for excessive profanity.
Jan 29, 2013 Sid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have spent so many hours on the video game I was wondering what the background story may be. Was not even aware there were books on doom. Thanks to ebay I bought the lot cheap. Usually I don't read to much science fiction. I thought they were ok. Books 1 and 2 kind of explained what happen in the game. # and 4 took it much further. Not a bad light read.
Decent (not great, but decent) military SF action book. If you happened to read it while/after playing the game, it was pretty enjoyable. Otherwise, it's a C-grade mil-SF story, with relatively shallow characters, and we know how such things end - the hero, after having lost some loved ones, conquers evil & saves the world.
Jul 11, 2012 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book sticks quite closely to the original Doom first episode of the same name. Similar rooms and enemies are described. this doesn't make it bad though, the addition of some extra characters makes it very interesting and some scenes in particular, if you played Doom, will really bring back the fear of your first encounter with Barons of Hell.
Glen McColl
May 24, 2012 Glen McColl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No Flynn, you ARE the demons...

Play now (ZDoom source port for modern windows):

Shareware Knee Deep In the Dead episode:

Unzip ZDoom into the shareware directory and click to play
! Easy!
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Other Books in the Series

Doom (4 books)
  • Hell on Earth (Doom #2)
  • Infernal Sky (Doom #3)
  • Endgame (Doom #4)

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