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The Mass Effect Universe: Primer

The Mass Effect universe is complex. It is steeped in history, encompasses scores of worlds in hundreds of solar systems, and is incredibly colorful and gritty. As such, it is outwith the scope of a short ‘primer’, and any information that I relay below should only be seen as a skeletal framework. If you wish to know more about any race, piece of history, individual or entity that is mentioned in this primer (and this novel), your appetite can be satisfied by visiting any of the online resources dedicated to Mass Effect; specifically, the Mass Effect Wiki located at

A mass relay

Brief Universe Overview:
In the year 2148, mankind investigated Mars and discovered the ruins of an ancient civilization called Protheans. From the ruins and technology contained within them, humans were first able to unlock the secrets of mass effect physics and element zero. These advances led them to first discover the Charon mass relay near the planet Pluto, activate it and thus become part of the vast intergalactic community of races beyond the Sol System (earth’s solar system).

Over the past centuries, the intergalactic community has been brought together by huge constructs called ‘mass relays,’ which propel spaceships through a virtually mass-free corridor of space-time between relays, allowing nearly instantaneous travel between solar systems. Believed to be the work of the long-extinct species called the Protheans, it has recently been discovered that the mass relays were actually made by the Reapers – a race of gigantic, sentient machines widely regarded as myth at the beginning of the Mass Effect trilogy of games.

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