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Set in the worlds of Elite, inspired by the wit of Douglas Adams; the tale of the least deadly assassin the galaxy has ever known.

Mostly Harmless - an Elite Dangerous novel

& with stretch goals AUDIO BOOK!

Stretch goals:

  • DONE -- £5,500 - Ebook (Professional editing and cover)
  • DONE -- £6,000 - Ebook as above and print-on-demand paperback at cost price for all £5+ tier pledgers  
  • DONE -- £14,000 - Ebook & print-on-demand paperback as above plus professionally recorded and produced 'voice only' DRM-free UNABRIDGED audio book FREE to all £25+ pledgers
  • £16,000 - Ebook & print-on-demand paperback as above plus professionally recorded and produced enhanced (with sound effects and music beds for atmosphere) DRM-free UNABRIDGED audio book FREE to all £25+ pledgers

N.B. SEE BOTTOM OF PAGE FOR FURTHER DETAILS ON TERMS OF STRETCH GOALS...

Looks like we've got 'a reader'.

I am a huge fan of Elite and I want to see it funded. Check out my author's interview with The Cult of Me for more about how this bid came about. Since then I've decided to take a risk on buying the writers pack up front and stretching my KS to fund it out to cover next month's pay-packet for those who already pledged too much! So now we can squeeze every last penny possible into getting the game funded this week!

So, what will this novel be about?

It's early days but I'm starting to get some solid ideas which I'll be talking about in the campaign updates over the coming weeks - so please do sign up for £1.00 if you think you might like to support me eventually! The action will centre around a female character who goes on to become the worst assassin the galaxy has ever seen - unable to kill not through sensitivity but just sheer bad luck!

Like David Braben I was heavily influenced by Douglas Adams growing up, so it's going to be written with off-the-wall humour. If you recognise me from BBC Click, where I host a weekly round up of websites and apps then you'll know I have a fairly playful sense of humour and this is definitely where my writing sits.  

I have been writing about science and technology for nearly 20 years. I have regular columns in Web User Magazine and National Geographic Traveller and I have my first (business) book coming out in March. So I can write! 

Here's a piece I wrote for TheNextWeb.com following an interview with David Braben - and that should give you some background about my connection and passion for the game as well as an idea of how I write.

So you write for news - but what about fiction?

It's something I have loved and written for as long as I can remember. I have a keen sense of the ridiculous and a flair for the dramatic - and I love stories that twist and turn along the way so you can't tell where you're heading next. I've written countless short stories and silly poems and even finished a full length novel aimed at the teen market. 

To give you an idea about my style and this story here is a brief scene I've written in the last few weeks... it is an early prototype, so please take it as a rough draft to give you an impression rather than a finished, polished extract. 

__________________________________________________________

A scene from 'Mostly Harmless'

Angel pulled the keyboard out of its storage slot and tucked it under the rattling flight-desk clamp in front of her, leaning back in the command chair as she checked the ship’s forward display. She looked down at the ‘H’ key, worn to a sheen and no longer actually showing the letter 'H' at all. Most people used voice-control these days but she’d never fancied that upgrade, even though it wasn't expensive. As if to prove her point the conscience-bot her step-mother had foisted on her piped up.  

'It slows you down, you know?'

'What?'

'That keyboard contraption that looks like it belongs in a museum. ‘QWERTY’; it was designed to slow down human typists in the age of mechanical typewriters.'

Angel glanced  at the plastic relic on her dashboard, accumulating dust and grime from years of hauling minerals and rock.

'Two and a half millennia later, despite a mountain of peer-reviewed evidence showing there are far more economical and ergonomic ways to interface…'  

The robot let the inference hang in the air like an annoyingly self-righteous parent who thinks the lesson is so obvious you will figure it out for yourself. Angel glared at the floating biscuit-box of well-reasoned arguments, which seemed to hover even more indignantly in reply. The tension was eventually broken by the soothing, synthetic voice of SysCon requesting details of her jump destination so that she could be ushered into the correct lane.

Orbit was busy today.

A fleet of vipers stalked across the horizon; probably off to chase down some Thargoid invaders wreaking havoc elsewhere in the solar system. It was of little consequence to her anyway as she wouldn’t be back round these parts for a while. Her stepmother had seen to that when she’d sold her precious rare silk for a steal to one of her friends – claiming not to know its true value until the cloth had already been cut and sewn. She’d invested a lot into that silk and quite frankly she was broke.  

Now her shaky old Cobra had only gold in it's belly instead of granite and black marble, and she was travelling 10 times the distance she would normally go to trade. She didn't have the credits for much gold so the ship was running light and she had a full tank of fuel. She could probably make 8-light years in her first jump. 

She checked the map on the side display then tapped some co-ordinates into the computer. Her vision blurred with the reverberation of the cockpit as the engines roared and the Cobra shifted lanes, accelerating through the traffic to get ready for the jump. She just hoped to land in safe space so she could fuel up and keep moving as quickly as possible. She didn’t like making herself such a juicy target to any stray bandit with a galactic wanderlust and a fancy for gold bulleon, but she’d been resisting a trip like this for a long time, and now her bank manager was all but insisting on it. She was aiming for the Hedeonic IV system, 80 light years back across the heart of the galaxy where a strange and costly matrimonial tradition of having the entire wedding-party dress only in gold leaf had evolved, resulting in severe shortages of the precious metal for several dozen light-years in every direction. Their fervour for tying the knot hadn’t dampened however, and neither had the size of their families since they were free to marry as many times as they liked (and very often did). It was a sweet deal if you were carrying gold. You could pretty much name your price – as long as you could get it safely through pirate infested space.  

'Well buckle up Doris, because antique interface or not, this puppy’s about to jump into Witch-Space and your moral compass won’t sound so clever with it's arse in its mouth.'  

Angel smirked at the effect this had on the robot, which hummed darkly as it activated its magnetic safety strip and was summarily stuck to the cabin door for its own good. Angel turned back to the front view display.

'Let’s get this show on the road,' she said to herself as she leaned forward and punched the ‘H’ key. ____________________________________________________________

So there you have it - as much as I can tell you right now. If you have enough confidence in my ability to write something that will entertain you to bung a fiver into the pot for an author's pack then good on you :) If not, no hard feelings. Just watch your back out in the gaming world because it might just be me with my cross-hairs trained on your fully laden cargo hold... and I am NOT mostly harmless!

Stretch Goal fine-print:

  • £5,500 - this stretch allows me to pay for professional editing to smooth out spelling and typo errors, plus a professionally commissioned piece of artwork for the cover.
  • £6,000 - with the extra £500 I can pay for typesetting and preparation to make the book ready for a print-on-demand paperback run. I will open up the ordering for this run for for 4 weeks leading up to the release of the Ebook. Anyone who has pledged £5 or more will have the opportunity to order a paperback at this time for cost price (which on a run of 100 is likely to be around £10, reducing a lot as the number ordered goes up - a deposit of £5 will secure your order with the balance payable when the ordering period closes). The ordering process will also be open to non-backers and those who pledged under £5, who must pay cost price + 40%. This way I hope to drive the cost of the books down by getting a decent volume order together. In addition, anyone who has ordered the £75.00 signed edition copy will have the opportunity to upgrade to a signed hard back book at cost price and a deposit will again be required to place an order, TBC when I have priced it up closer to the time.
  • £14,000 - if we can raise this much we get a professionally produced and mastered, unabridged audio book, read by me and with a couple of 'celebrity cameos' including David Braben himself! The company I have asked to quote are very experienced in this line of work having produced lots of audio books already and working regularly for BBC Radio 4. This will be available for all to buy after the release of the Ebook at the going rate for a 6.5 hour audio book, and ALL pledgers of £25+ will get a FREE MP3 version when it's ready for release (other formats to be agreed at my discretion).
  • £16,000 - for this level we get the same as above but with sound effects, musical beds and atmosphere to help the story along where appropriate. I realise these amounts are substantial but they are with a top notch London studio and I have had to add VAT and Kickstarter costs on top to make sure I'm not out of pocket. To put it into perspective if 500 people go in for £25 then we're home and dry!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

My business book is released in March 2013, so after that I will prioritise this creative project above all others (and hopefully some royalties from sales of the business book will give me something to live on while I get this story written). Worst case scenario I will have to work on it weekends and evenings, but with a March 2014 deadline there is plenty of time as long as I don't procrastinate.

It will be your job to make sure that doesn't happen :)

FAQ

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    I've already pledged too much on ED: you're probably an Elite obsessive who has blown more than too much on getting the game funded this month. Jump in for £1 to be kept up to date with plot planning and some sample prose through campaign updates and you can chat with myself and others in the comments before hopefully upping your pledge once the next pay cheque arrives!

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    Big Issue Backer: you won't get anything but a warm, fuzzy feeling and if the book ever gets printed you'll probably be able to pick up a discarded copy on the London Underground eventually. Plus all of the rewards above.

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    Attention seeker: you'll get a subtle mention at some point during the story. It might be a space-station or ship with your name woven into it, or some incidental and fleeting character not central to the plot. You might also be a disease or a deadly weapons upgrade... it's a lucky dip but you'll be in there somewhere.You'll also get a proper name-check in the credits of the ebook, plus all of the above.

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    Random input backer: you'll get to suggest a keyword, theme or object that must at some point form a central part of the plot - you know like those improvisation game-shows on TV? You will need to supply this to me by March 2013 so I can work it properly into the plot. This option is subject to your contribution not being deliberately rude or offensive, and you will take full responsibility in the credits, plus all of the above.

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    Slightly stalkerish: you get a signed and personally inscribed 'limited special edition' paperback copy of the book (not related to the stretch print run) including free P&P to the UK (overseas pledgers will have to pay additional fair postage costs), plus all of the above that are not limited numbers plot/character rewards.

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    Digital diva: you'll get to name one of the minor characters and decide on key personality traits (up to a maximum of three). This character could be modeled on you, or be the person you wish you could be. I cannot guarantee they won't meet a gruesome end, although they might equally do rather well for themselves. You will need to let me know the name & traits by March 2013 so that I can write them into the plot properly. This option is subject to your contribution not being deliberately rude or offensive, and you will take full responsibility in the credits, plus all of the above that are not limited numbers plot/character rewards.

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    Nosy parker: you'll get invited to a private Google+ Circle (from April 2013) where you can check on my progress and give me feedback on plot & character development, as well as helping me to choose a cover design and other various fun tasks along the way. We'll probably have the odd Hangout at key points during the creative process, but only if you promise to keep all your clothes on and not be too weird, plus all of the above that are not limited numbers plot/character rewards.

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    Revenge killing: you get to name one of the major characters in the plot in the sure and certain knowledge that they are going to die in a very spectacular and grisly way. You will have to take responsibility for your handiwork in the credits, and I will need written permission from the intended 'victim' if a full identifiable name is to be used. This option is subject to your choice of character name not being intentionally rude or offensive, plus all of the above that are not limited numbers plot/character rewards.

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