I’ve been spending more time at the hospital than in front of the computer screen recently but thought it’s been a while since I did an update so here we go – the in’s and out’s of my writing in 2016:
If you aren’t aware, Shallow Space is an open world, RTS space sim/fleet computer game, currently in alpha testing stage. It’s looking awfully mint and my role in the project is the ‘story’.
That sounds a little vague, but that’s because it is. If there is a narrative in anything of the game, i’m behind it. I’ve charted four hundred years of human history. I’ve developed the names, sizes and make up of many stellar systems and developed extensive background stories for them. – how they were colonised, the growing pains, where they are today. Such back stories dictate how certain factions in the game think, how they work, which has a direct response on the type of space ships they produce, how they fly them and how effective they are in battle. It’s all linked, and its damn fun imagining it all up, making it work, making it true to its own rules, making in internally consistent.
I also write standalone stories for Shallow Space and a few new ones have come through:
This story was released in serial form on our website and was completed a few months back but I have collated it on my website here for ease of reading with a new piece of cover art so thought I’d sneak it in here.
The Tale of Samuel Shallom was an experimental piece of me. It wasn’t told through traditional narrative. Instead, each chapter moved the story forward through one means or another, whether that was confidential intelligence reports or 25th century bulletin board forum threads. It was fun to write and puts a few game story ‘nuggets’ in the players hand.
This is a novella set in the years before the game start date. If you have ready any of my fiction then you’ll probably have a fair idea of how it reads. It’s a story of smuggling, of truth and character. It’s a story I have wanted to write for Shallow Space for a while, but due to what I’ll refer to as my “2015 Issues”, well lets just say that 2016 was the right time.to write this.
Like everything I’ve written for Shallow Space, I want to introduce verisimilitude. I want to provide familiarity with the worlds and the times in which the game is played, so when the game is released and you rip into it, it’ll feel comforting and familiar (And then of course we rip the carpet out from under you, but we’ll talk about that another time).
I built this up a bit with The Tale of Samuel Shallom, with some nuggets that at first won’t be of any use but down the line will be very useful in game play. For Paradijs Lost, I have taken this a step further. I squirm on my seat excited just thinking about it 🙂
We are releasing the story in serial form over on our website and I’m collating it here on my site.as well and when it is fully released I’ll put it on amazon. In time I hope to have an anthology of Shallow Space shorts to share with the world.
Last year my publisher Fantastic Books Publishing (who have a brand new spiffy website by the way…) put a call out for entries into a writing competition for a short story anthology with the theme of ‘robots’ and a maximum word count of 1500.
That is quite a tough challenge for me, with the type of stories I like to tell, but I decided to give it a crack and I came up with ‘Indirect Harm’, a piece which achieved an ‘honorary mention’ in the competition.
The anthology was released in ebook on Amazon in March 2016 and already has some great reviews. There are 27 stories, each as above no longer than 1500 words which makes it very easy to digest and think ‘yeah ok, just one more story’.
The Ebook is a cheap and cheerful way to go but if you prefer the printed book, this will also be available in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
This is another computer game I have been working on, one of several writers working to produce chapters in the life of the player as he progresses through a destroyed world. Writing post apocalyptic fiction was really exciting and I took a lot of inspiration from ‘The Road‘, an extremely visceral read. I hope I have added my own grit and realism to the PA genre by completing my fourth and final ending to the game (the game has many more possible endings). It has been quite fun to write the character struggling with survival from starvation, other people, then looking to the winter and how he will survive the impossibly cold temperatures coming up. I confess Macgyver began to influence me on those later chapters 🙂 So my work on this work is currently completed, but will wait to see what else it brings.
Elite: And Here The Wheel
And finally a little tease for you. I’ve been looking to add a few bits of bonus material to AHTW for a while now, and its been approved by my publisher Fantastic Books, so its currently with Frontier Developments for final approval. Fingers crossed we get it across the line and then I can share a few more details with you.