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BioShock: Rapture (Novel)

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BioShock: Rapture
Novel Paperback Cover
John Shirley
Cover Artist
Craig Mullins
Release Date:
July 19, 2011
432 (Tor), 400 (Titan)
978-0-7653-2484-9 (hardcover) 978-0-7653-2485-6 (paperback)
$27.99 (hardcover, USA) $14.99 (paperback, USA)
$31.99 (hardcover, Canada)
£7.99 (paperback, UK)
Novel Hardcover

An alternate cover for the novel.

BioShock: Rapture is a science-fiction novel set in the eponymous BioShock universe and released on July 19th, 2011. It was written by John Shirley and published by Tor Books in the U.S.A. and Titan Books in the United Kingdom. Its story covers events from the creation of Rapture until a certain point before the first game. Both familiar and lesser-known characters from the BioShock universe are expanded upon in the story, as well as locations like Apollo Square or Point Prometheus.

Synopsis Edit

"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."

It was the end of World War II. FDR's New Deal had redefined American politics. Taxes were at an all-time high. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has created a fear of total annihilation. The rise of secret government agencies and sanctions on business had many watching their backs. America's sense of freedom was diminishing . . . and many were desperate to take their freedom back. Among them was a great dreamer, an immigrant who pulled himself from the depths of poverty to become one of the wealthiest and most admired men in the world. That man was Andrew Ryan, and he believed that great men and women deserved better. So he set out to create the impossible, a utopia free from government, from censorship, and from moral restrictions on science, where what you gave was what you got. He created Rapture---the shining city below the sea.

But this utopia suffered a great tragedy.

This is the story of how it all came to be . . .and how it all ended.[1]

Author's Note Edit

The following is an unpublished author's note which was intended to be included in the novel.

This novel is a dramatization of the backstory of BioShock and BioShock 2. It is essentially a “prequel” to the events in the first two BioShock games. It incorporates information I gleaned in playing the games through several times and in consulting with designers, online sites, books, interviews. I also pored over background and timeline materials provided for me by 2K and by Tor Books.

The tale you hold in your hands begins shortly after Rapture was first conceived, and carries on, through Rapture’s civil war, into 1959. The main characters, and some minor characters, from BioShock are to be found here; characters from BioShock 2, like Sofia Lamb, and the Wales brothers and even Delta, as well as settings and historical details from BioShock 2, are also incorporated.

While we sometimes leap several years from one chapter to the next, the story’s arc is unmistakable, and is close as possible to the tale that emerges in the audio diaries, public address announcements, and radio conversation found in the game. It also incorporates consultancy provided by Ken Levine (through the conscientious efforts of Sarah Rosa). I drew terminology, large events, and characters from the game, but invented a certain amount of connective story and character background. I created a few new characters, as required in the composition of a novel, but never knowingly contradicted BioShock. As suggested by Ken Levine, the narrative’s chief protagonist is Bill McDonagh.

Most of the narrative threads begun in this book are resolved by its finale. A few are resolved within the games themselves. I was very pleased to be involved in adapting this unique, artfully designed game.

—John Shirley, [2]

See AlsoEdit

References Edit

  1. The synopsis of the novel on
  2. "BioShock: Rapture – interview with the author, John Shirley" article at Console Obsession

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