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Gang negotiator, Hank, struggles with his motto of never taking sides when his backwater, criminal space station is invaded.
12 backers pledged $2,657 to help bring this project to life.

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Hard Luck Hank:  Screw the Galaxy is primarily a science fiction comedy novel. It blends genres of sci-fi, humor, detective and comic book.

I wanted to advertise my work so I hired people and put together what I feel are some good mixed-media projects. None of the people I hired were known to me before I started. They all simply responded to my various Craigslist ads or I found them on professional websites. So I'm proud to say I supported "the arts" however much I could while putting Hank together. The scenes and dialogue are word-for-word from the novel.

The main hope of this project is to get it published in hardcover and/or paperback. Barring that, I'd like to get it distributed digitally. I would like to point out that the novel is complete except for a rewrite pending editor review, which should be coming within about a month. This isn't a project to fund my life or lifestyle while I write the novel. It's written. This is to fund getting it published.

I have a website that captures more information as well as some behind-the-scenes of the work involved. It also has the first two chapters and the t-shirt designs.  If the campaign is successful, you'll get an email to choose your t-shirt size/color.

If you like dry, sarcastic humor, science fiction, with a sprinkle of noir, please take some time to review the trailer and contribute what you can.

Thanks!

Steven Campbell

http://www.belvaille.com

CHAPTER 1

The space station Belvaille was not the most corrupt city in the galaxy, but we liked the think we were in the top five.

My job here was as a negotiator and general purpose goon. At the moment I was running late for an assignment to help settle a business disagreement. If I arrived too late, the interested parties would take it upon themselves to resolve their differences and things might get a bit gory.

I currently stood at the edge of the elevated railway. The train, in typical Belvaille fashion, had broken down and left me stranded. I was in the warehouse district by the space port. There were squat, metal, box-like buildings packed tightly all around me. Like a very unimaginative city planner had gone mild when designing the place—which is exactly what had happened. 

It was a five-block walk to the nearest stairs or a fifty-foot plunge straight down to the gray metal sidewalk.

I jumped.

After a lazy mid-air summersault, I landed approximately on my head. My guns flew from my holsters and I tumbled a good ten feet.

“Ow,” I said to no one in particular, rubbing my neck.

I sluggishly got to my feet and examined my clothes, finding my roll had torn a hole in my three-quarter length synth jacket. Not only that, but I noticed a bunch of small holes in the back of my pants. Where did those come from? Had I been walking around all day like this and no one said anything? 

I recovered my four-barreled shotgun and my plasma pistol and looked around to see if anyone had noticed my ungraceful fall. Someone had.

“Did you just dive headfirst from the train tracks?” Garm asked, astonished. She had been standing in the street under the rails and must have seen my head plant.

“I meant to land on my feet.” I secured my guns back in their holsters under each arm, the shotgun bulging out closer to my waist.

“I wish I had your mutation,” she said wistfully, walking closer. “I heard the train stopped so I came to see if you were stuck. Figures you’d just throw yourself off a five-story platform.”

Garm wore her usual decorative military attire, heavy pistol on her thigh and dark sunglasses. She was young, had that nervous energy young people have. I think “enthusiasm” is what they refer to it as. She was only about eighty-five years old and I’d known her for the last twenty or so she’d been on the space station. She wore her black hair short and straight like a knife. There wasn’t a round surface on her—she was all edges, like she was made out of triangles. If she wasn’t so intimidating she would be extremely attractive.

Garm ran Belvaille. I believe her official title was Adjunct Overwatch, but everyone just called her by name. She was the senior liaison with the Colmarian Confederation’s armed forces, which ostensibly governed our city.

“I don’t get you,” Garm stated.

“What’s not to get?” I asked.

“You’ve been here on Belvaille longer than anyone, right?”

“No way. You know Chepless, the lady who runs that noodle shop in the southeast? She’s been here way longer. And Orgono Dultz, that guy with metal legs who works on the sewers? He was here before Belvaille even opened. Working on the sewers.”

“Yeah, but how long you been here? How many years?”

“About a hundred.”

“Right, so a lot longer than nearly anyone.”

“So?”

“And you’re mixed up in just about every scam that comes by. You’re practically my employee.”

“What’s your point?”

“How are you so poor?”

“Who says I’m poor?”

“I can see your underwear,” she said, indicating my pants.

I turned around from where I had been re-clasping my boots.

“What are you doing looking at my butt?”

“I’m not looking at your butt. I’m looking at your tatty clothes. You look like a vagrant.”

“So what’s this job, anyway?” I asked, trying to change the subject.

“It’s not far from here. We need to hurry. Follow me.”

We jogged. Or she jogged and I did my best.

“What are you doing?” she asked in mid-stride.

“You’ve never seen me run before?”

“You’re running? You look like a fat kid with flat feet trying to dance.”

I grumbled, but it was true. I was a class-four mutant. Most people, if they were anything, were class one or two. My body was dense, very difficult to hurt, which was how I could jump off trains and not suffer a scratch. In fact, I was pretty much bulletproof. They told me if I were made out of solid steel, I would weigh less than I do now, so it’s all weird stuff. Unfortunately my muscles didn’t keep up with my size. I wasn’t weak, but I was way underpowered for my mass. I liked to think I had torque instead of speed, but that was probably me being generous.

I could also heal very fast. The government had done testing when they first classified me and they sliced off the tip of my pinky. It grew back after a few months, but felt stiff for years after. I keep thinking now what jerks they were for doing that since they didn’t actually know if it would regrow. But that was Colmarian Confederation efficiency. Our government was not known for its competence.

Garm was also a mutant. I think she didn’t need to sleep. Or didn’t sleep much. Maybe that’s why she was all hyper. You find a lot of Colmarians go into lines of work where they can take advantage of their mutations.

Garm ran a crooked space station and never took her eyes off it.

I was a punching bag.

“Well, I finally know your weakness. If I ever get in a fight with you, I’ll just run away.” Garm had started jogging backwards to rub it in.

The fact she had picked me up personally for this particular job was unusual—not that we never dealt with each other, but she could have sent one of her soldiers. It told me she was personally invested in this deal. I didn’t ask her about it because I knew she wouldn’t tell me. 

Garm and I had a great relationship. She always lied to me and I always lied to her. But each of us knew the other was lying.

Risks and challenges

The biggest risk/challenge is that no one will be interested. That the thunderclap of silence will brain me and leave me to wander the streets, homeless and alone, muttering about plasma pistols.

I also don't live on a cotton farm and have my own t-shirt manufacturing plant. I wished the costs for the t-shirts could be lower, but then I would essentially be a free distributor for t-shirts and not actually be funding my book. I have/had a concern that a gazillion people will respond and I lose a nickel on every shirt. However, I wanted to have some real, tangible hold-in-your-hands rewards. I looked into some figurines and maybe that could be a dream stretch goal, but the minimum orders are generally very high for manufacturing.

Keeping everyone on task is not as easy as all that. I still have to get things together and I still want them as perfect as can be, such as the cover. So far I've been lucky to have some really good people to work with, but there's still a lot of things to be done.

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    Galaxy t-shirt. You can see a more detailed view in the intro of the movie. This is one pattern I'm less sure of in terms of the printer's ability to put it on a t-shirt and have it not look terrible. It has type on it that will be pretty small. I'll do my best to get it formatted as I think it looks great.
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    Belvaille t-shirt. I'm a bit concerned about the level of detail in this making it to a t-shirt. But again, I'll do my best on getting the transfer down.

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    Wardian t-shirt. The Honorious Consular Prefecture Wardian Swife Jonathe. Probably my favorite shirt. This is the one with epalauts and cape. Limited.
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    Hard Luck Hank poster. A printing of the cover in poster size. Signed. Numbered. And with my super-secret mark of authenticity (hint: my thumbprint--there goes my life of crime).

    There will never be another kickstarter series of prints and one day it will be so valuable your grandchildren will get into a blood feud the moment you die to try and get possession of it.

    Not only that, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing I fumbled at the post office and got my thumb all inky and looked around for tube things to ship it in.

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    Ioshiyn rename. Ioshiyn is a minor character. He buys a gun from Hank. Which is then used to shoot Hank. Rename within reason.

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    Been-e rename. A recurring character in the book. Has about an entire chapter of dialogue. A salty oldtimer. Hired muscle. Shoots Hank in the face. You get to rename him, within reason.

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    Grever Treest rename. A recurring character. Sleazy drug dealer of the Deadsouth area of Belvaille. Hank has to use his services to fill an order for Jyen. Rename within reason.

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    Zjeckstesh rename. One of the big bosses of the book. Major character. I was never totally comfortable with this name because even I don't know how to pronounce it. He owns the most upscale block in all of Belvaille and has the biggest (literally) muscle in the person of Wallow, a 35 foot Therezian who is not fond of Hank. Renamed within reason.

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Funding period

- (60 days)