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 browser-based cRPG. Get in on the beginning of this wild, brutal ride.
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 Trevor Storey.
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 15 illustrated stories set in the cyberpunkdreams universe, available in Kickstarter-exclusive hardback and paperback editions.
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:
T-shirts will be available in sizes Small to XL and will be sourced from a high quality supplier. We want you to feel as well as look great in your cyberpunkdreams t-shirt.
You'll receive art prints featuring illustration from Cincinnati Stories. The prints will be high quality – easily good enough to frame and hang on your wall.
Badges & Postcards
You'll receive a selection of postcards and badges featuring cyberpunkdreams logos and artwork from Cincinnati Stories. The images below are just examples; we'll be doing a few different designs.
Make your mark on the world of cyberpunkdreams: work with the author to create a dossier for inclusion in the book.
- A dossier is an in-world report about a character, event, place, etc, formatted as an internal document from an in-world group or organisation. The example below is from our friendly neighbourhood rent-a-cops, Tower Group, about one of their persons of interest.
- Contribute anything from an idea for us to work on to a fully realised piece for us to edit.
- One or two pages long (about 500-700 words).
- You'll receive an exclusive sneak preview of the stories in the book and other content to give you a feel for the world and background.
Please contact us before choosing this reward! We just want to make sure that we're on the same wavelength before you go for this. We will, of course, retain final editorial control over any contributions, but we'll do what it takes to make this work.
Personalised ID Cards
(subject to stretch goals): All backers from rewards Deckard and above get a personalised ID card with working QR code for in-world corporations and organisations!
A portrait of you as an in-world cyberpunk character to be featured in the book and delivered to you as a high quality print (in addition to the other prints you'll be receiving).
Working from photos and character information you provide, our artists will turn you into someone who'll fit right into 2090s Cincinnati. Final art approval will be up to our editorial team, but we're sure you'll love the result.
Note, if you want the portrait as a print but don't want it included in the book, please just let us know.
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 original 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 browser-based RPG and a board game in development, each of which is slated for release during 2018.
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.
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.
Risks and challenges
The risks of this project are very low. The stories are already written and edited, and we've chosen artists we know can deliver on time. As well as being an author, Rob Chant has commercial experience in graphic design and book layouts, so we're very confident that the finished product will look as good as it reads.
For printing, we've partnered up with an established print company with a track record within the book industry of delivering high quality products. We're confident that we can deliver to the satisfaction of our discerning backers. In addition to printing costs, funds raised will go into creating the rest of the artwork for the project, so the final book will have many more illustrations in it than the sample we've shown here.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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