Encroaching dust bowl. Environmental degradation. Climate change. Water shortages. Dangerous political polarisation. Class war. Sound familiar?
The United States is broken. Torn apart by wars of secession, ecological disaster and political conflict. The mid-west, poisoned by biological and chemical weapons, has become a barren, infertile wasteland. The cities, straining under the weight of the ensuing refugee crisis, have succumbed to rampant corruption and urban decay. On the border of order and chaos, civilization and barbarism, lies the city of Cincinnati.
This is bleak, uncompromising cyberpunk. This is our future.
Cincinnati Stories is a collection of illustrated short stories set in the cyberpunkdreams universe, created by writer and game designer Rob Chant. Set in the near future, the stories are a brutal and prescient vision of a balkanized United States reeling from civil war. A savage prediction of the aftermath of current political and ecological trends left to continue unchecked.
Experience a series of vignettes based around characters left to deal with the carnage in the wake of this conflict, each of them caught up in the sleaze, hustle and debauchery of a rapidly decaying society. They’re tales of sex, violence, sleaze and corruption. People from all strata of society doing what they can to survive, or to get their kicks in any way they can.
Cincinnati Stories is the first in a series of books that expand on the setting of our forthcoming cRPG. Get in on the beginning of this wild, brutal ride.
We're reprinting Cincinnati Stories and re-offering a lot of the rewards from the original Kickstarter, but that's not all. There's also Outside Edges, a completely new set of stories set in the world, plus a new t-shirt design and prints.
The emphasis is on compelling characters and atmosphere. All the stories are interconnected, sharing characters and pivoting around the same day and night. They’re snapshots into both everyday and extraordinary lives, with an overriding theme of people caught in the crossfire.
To help bring the settings and characters to life, we've picked some of the very best visual artists working in cyberpunk, including Sergey Zabelin, Guido Sato and Amir Zand.
So what do you get? The main thing is the fully illustrated book itself, which will be available digital, paperback and hardback formats. But we've got a whole lot more in store for you too.
Cincinnati Stories is a narrative artbook, comprised of 17 illustrated short stories set and in-world dossiers in the cyberpunkdreams universe, available in Kickstarter-exclusive hardback and paperback editions. It's 139 pages and about 60,000 words long.
Can I read any of the stories online?
You can! We've made "Gangland", one of the stories featured in the collection, available for free download here in PDF and ePub formats. Download your preferred version using the links below:
This Kickstarter isn't just a reprint: we're also producing a book of at least four completely new stories set in the cyberpunkdreams world.
These stories won't be set in Cinci itself, and won't necessarily connect directly with Cincinnati Stories (although you might see a cameo or two). Instead, they're your opportunity to start exploring the wider world of cyberpunkdreams and the state of decay it represents. cyberpunkdreams has never been about just Cincinnati.
Outside Edges will be available in digital formats (EPUB and PDF).
T-shirts are available in sizes Small to XXL and are sourced from a high quality supplier. We want you to feel as well as look great in your cyberpunkdreams t-shirt. There will be two designs available – the original version, as created for the previous Kickstarter (see illustration below) and a new design which we'll keep secret until it's in your hands. You'll be able to chose which design you want when we send out the backer surveys, subject to availability.
You'll receive art prints featuring illustration from Cincinnati Stories. The A3 prints will be archival quality C-Type – easily good enough to frame and hang on your wall, and they'll last for years. A5 prints and postcards will be high quality digital prints.
If you backed the previous Kickstarter, please be aware that the A5 prints we're offering are the same as before.
If you backed the previous Kickstarter but want to add extras (or upgrade on your previous reward), select this option. To calculate your pledge using the matrix below add together the items you want and then pick the highest shipping that would apply to you (don't add the shipping together if you're selecting multiple items). We'll sort out the details when it's time for the reward surveys.
*These items can't be shipped alone.
What is cyberpunkdreams?
cyberpunkdreams is back to basics cyberpunk. The aliens have not arrived. The singularity has not happened. No big event or technological discovery has shaped our future. It's a slow hellslide into a world where tales of sleaze, debauchery and hustle are forged. Gangs? Drugs? Sex? Violence? You couldn’t escape them even if you wanted to.
cyberpunkdreams was originally conceived around 2003 as a group writing project, where multiple authors could contribute stories set in the same world. The idea has evolved from that starting point, and Cincinnati Stories is just the beginning of everything we have planned for the world. We have both a cRPG and a board game in development.
Why illustrated stories?
Cyberpunk has a rich visual history and culture. Some would go as far to say that the genre is defined by its aesthetic. On top of that, illustration can massively enhance the impact of a narrative, providing atmosphere, grit and detail that would otherwise be impossible to convey. We're lucky to know some very talented artists, and we felt that bringing them in to work on Cincinnati Stories was just a must. We hope you enjoy the results.
Cincinnati has always been a geographical and cultural crossroads in the United States, between North, South, East and West. Our version of Cinci has turned into a sprawling slum of 24 million people, dotted with policed enclaves for corporates and the rich. It’s a current developing-world city translated into a future first-world setting.
Although decidedly not post-apocalyptic, Cinci now sits on the eastern edge of badlands stretching across the whole of the western United States, and is the economic and cultural capital of the independent country of Ohio. The city grew over the preceding decades as refugees fled from environmental collapse and a series of civil wars that tore the country apart.
Why a reprint?
Our first Kickstarter was a great launch for cyberpunkdreams, and now that the delivery from the it is entirely done, we want to start bringing it to a wider audience. Enough people have written to us post-Kickstarter asking to buy a copy that we decided to do it again.
However, as noted above, we didn't want just to do it again, which is why we're bringing additional rewards to the table.
Lots! It's unlikely that there will be yet another reprint for Cincinnati Stories, but we're still working on City Streets, the board game set in our world, and our eponymously titled sprawling cRPG. A follow-up novel and another full collection of stories are also in the works.
The future is bleak. The future is cyberpunkdreams.
The world of cyberpunkdreams was conceived by Rob Chant. A fan of Neuromancer, Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell from an early age, Rob studied physics at degree level, did a bunch of work with AI and has never had a conventional job.
Rob’s work is character driven, permeated by a looming atmosphere of survival. Technology forms the backdrop to a dystopia like no other, based on a vision of the future we could already be facing.
Risks and challenges
As we're essentially reprinting an already-existing product, the risks are extremely low. All the files already exist, and we'll be going back to the same printers as we used first time around.
The new items we're producing are also low risk. We'll be using the same t-shirt printer and other suppliers as produced our additional merch first time around, as we were super happy with the quality that we got.
Copies of the book and other merchandise should start going out very quickly once the campaign is complete (save for any delays at the printers that we can't control). Producing Outside Edges might take a little longer as the writing isn't yet complete, so please don't expect that to be ready before February 2019.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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