About this project
ELITE - RECLAMATION - It's a Novel!
- £4,500 - Ebook (Crowd sourced prep, editing and cover) - DONE!
- £5,500 - Ebook (Professional editing and cover) - DONE!
- £6,000 - Ebook and print-on-demand Paperback (Professional editing and cover) - DONE
- £7,500 - Ebook and Minimum print run Paperback (Professional editing and cover) - Closing on target.
- £8,500 - Ebook and Comprehensive print run Paperback (Professional editing and cover)
NB - All pledgers at the £5 tier and above will be able to buy the final paperback at 'cost' pricing. (Around 10-20% cheaper than the final retail price).
Latest video update is below...
Drew was interviewed by Michael Brookes, the author of the official sequel to 'The Dark Wheel'. You can read the interview here.
Drew was interviewed by HookedGamers magazine. You can read the interview here.
Drew was interviewed by PCGamesN Magazine. You can read the interview here.
Here's the original promotional video...
And here's me talking a little about the history of Elite and why writing a novel for this game means so much...
And here is the video I made to celebrate reaching our 100% target after only 9 days!
And the 'teaser' trailer for the book, to mark passing £5000! (Minor Spoilers!)
And here's the rest of my pitch. I aim to make this a fantastic quality book, not just from the perspective of writing, but publishing and presentation too...
I can write, I can edit, I know folks who can proof-read. I’m a published author, I know what it takes to get a book to market; the rigorous plotting, characterisation, dialogue fine-tuning, scene setting, pace and narrative drive.
More importantly I’m an enormous fan of Elite. I started playing back in 1984 when I got Elite for Christmas as a bright eyed 13 year old. I know my Zieman deflector shields from my Irrikon Thru-space drives. You'll have seen the Tionisla Orbital graveyard in the video. I *really* know this stuff. You can trust me on this one.
What’s the plan then?
I want to write an official Novel set in the Elite universe. The working title is ‘Elite:Reclamation’. It's going to be a full length story - I reckon on between 70-90k words. That's 250-350 pages. Meaty, something to really get stuck into!
What will this get us?
I’ll write the story and get it to a publishable state. With the basic funding achieved I’ll be able to publish an ebook (multiple formats). An obvious stretch goal is the ability to produce paperback copies. We’ll need another £2,500 for that. Passing the £4,500 goal will also allow for professional cover design, type-setting and editing.
All pledgers from £5 upwards will automatically get a copy of the final ebook.
I’m a writer, I love writing. Writing is what I do to relax, writing is what gives me a sense of purpose. I’ve been writing since 1984 and it was Elite and its accompanying Novella that got me started. I’ve still got the story I wrote back then – ok it’s rubbish, what did you expect from a 13 year old? - but I hope it shows I’m in for the long haul.
I’m a sci-fi buff; Azimov, Clarke, Heinlein, Pohl, Wells. You name it, I’ve read it. I’ve seen all the films; laughed, cried, stared and muttered crossly at the unresolved plot-holes. I hate plot-holes; don’t come to the cinema with me. I’ve seen every episode of every sci-fi series going.
I’ve got previous with ‘Elite’. I wrote a series of fan-fic novels for the open-source Oolite. They’re free. 100k+ downloads can’t be too far wrong. They’re deliberately a bit light-weight, so don’t judge me too harshly. Elite:Reclamation will be written of sterner stuff.
Remember the fabled generation ships? I peeked under the hull of one of those. Check out ‘Schism’.
I published my own novel, a contemporary piece of fiction dealing with themes of atheism and fundamentalist religion entitled ‘Torn’, in 2011. It’s been well received on Amazon by reviewers and critics a-like.
One of my sci-fi short stories was recently selected as part of an anthology; ‘Fusion’ is a great collection and I’m proud to be amongst the winning entries.
I know how much I can write in a given timespan. I’ll be aiming for a finished product of around 70-90k words. I’ve done 120k in a year before, that’s with a full-time job and a family on top. I can do this. It will be a mission, but I can do it.
Why a Novel?
I've asked myself why I feel compelled to write an Elite Novel. It's a question that deserves a considered answer. Grab yourself a jar of Leesian Evil-Juice and pull up a chair.
I’m a child of the 1970's . Back then we’d seen a revival of 'space operas' from the seminal 'Star Wars' and 'Star Trek', through to 'Battlestar Galactica', 'Dr. Who' and 'Blake's 7'. Many children's shows of the time reflected the interest in space: 'Battle of the Planets', 'Star Fleet' and my personal favourite 'Ulysses 31'. Some of these have already been ‘rebooted’.
Elite originally allowed a way for us kids to fly into space and adventure amongst the stars in a rather more intelligent way than the 'left/right/shoot' variety of the original arcade games. Elite rode the wave of 'space enthusiasm' that occurred in the early 1980s. The 3D graphics were a significant part of this, but the real 'core' of Elite was that there was no set purpose; you went where you wanted to, travelling, fighting, trading at whim.
The graphics were still scant, the procedurally generated universe rather homogeneous - this forced you to inject your own imagination into the game. I was at once a bounty hunter, a fearsome pirate, a dashing hero rescuing beautiful princesses from the evil clutches of hardened gangsters. By treating its players with respect, Elite catered for it all.
Elite paid homage to the 'Zeitgeist' of the time. The spinning Coriolis stations were clearly modelled on 2001. Later versions even included the familiar 'Blue Danube' music whilst ships were docking. Ships were armed with lasers and missiles, defended with shields. Enemy ships came equipped with different levels of weaponry, so there was an 'arms race' to bring your own ship up to speed. There was no score, only cash and reputation; it was the 1980s!
Another key aspect of this was Robert Holdstock’s ‘The Dark Wheel’ novella, a short story that came with the game. Whilst the manual told you what you needed to know to play and was peppered with interesting titbits of information about the Elite universe, the novella told you what you wanted to know – how did the Elite Universe work? What was it like there?
With the Novella, the Elite Universe was now a 'real' place, with people, societies, organisations and powers, as fully formed and as compelling as the universe of Star Wars or Star Trek. We learnt it was a rough place; death was never far away. Life as a trader was tough, hard and brutal. There were those with secrets to protect, who'd stop at nothing to do so. A thousand years of technology hadn't changed the nature of humanity one bit. This was no sanitised universe where mankind had improved itself, quite the reverse. If anything, mankind's darker side was more prevalent. Here was a universe of piracy, illegal and underhanded trading and danger, just about held together by a thin veneer of civilisation and advanced technology.
The Novella followed a familiar groove – a huge personal loss and a vendetta. A naïve but talented young hot shot, a feisty female sidekick, a mysterious mentor/benefactor and a shadowy opponent. Through the course of the story the hot shot gains experience and becomes less the callow youth, finally winning the day and avenging his loss.
Probe a little deeper and you find that Robert included other fascinating details: 'The Dark Wheel' – an eponymous group of mystical old-time star-travellers; a lost planet – 'Raxxla'. None of these were actually in Elite, but that didn't stop people looking, wondering if somewhere in the code these places might be hidden. Such was the rich tapestry upon which the player painted his own story.
Fast forward nearly 30 years. Computer games are unrecognisably more complex. The original Elite looks like what it is, a product of a bygone age, a piece of history. So why does this game refuse to die? Why do people invest so much time and effort into it, and why do I want to write a Novel for the long awaited upcoming version?
Because I care. Elite is part of my life and I know it’s part of yours.
Elite was both story and game, and for many of us an escape from a reality which looked increasingly bleak as the 1980s drew to a close and we all entered the workplace. Perhaps Elite showed us that hard work and determination could prevail over impossible odds, or perhaps it was just a great game, a distraction from the depressing real world.
Either way, I don’t think Elite’s greatest contribution was the oft mentioned 3D graphics, or the procedurally generated planets. The real big deal was the unforeseen and unlooked for opportunity to mould and shape the minds of youngsters; there can be no greater privilege, or heavy responsibility, than that.
And so to my Novel. In many ways this will be my thanks to the David Braben and Ian Bell, to the late Robert Holdstock, and to all the fans out there. Elite gave me a lot in my youth, and this is at least a down-payment on that debt. I want to do this, but I need your help.
I'll keep you updated here, on my website, facebook and twitter - choose your poison.
Pledge and I guarantee I’ll write on, Commander!
Risks and challenges
Risks and Challenges?
Writers block, unresolvable plot complications, inconsistant characterisation... the list of problems is endless. Time can be an issue, I still have a 9-5 job.
But, I've been there, bought the t-shirt and ironed it. This isn't my first book, I know what I'm letting myself in for.
I commute to London, that gives me two hours a day on the train. That's up to 8 hours every week most weeks that I can devote to writing. That's a working day. I'm a bit OCD, I can focus and stay focussed.
I'm confident I can deliver on this. All I ask is the funding and the encouragement along the way.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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