Friday, 17 February 2017

Gamebook Friday: Alice and Oz updates

Wouldn't it be nice if, in this week of exciting Pax Britannia news, I could tell you that I was writing a new steampunk-inspired gamebook?

Well, I can't, but I can update you on Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland (which has steampunk elements) and The Wicked Wizard of Oz (which has dieselpunk elements).

First there's this new review of Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland:

"As usual Jon Green starts from a very clear and coherent background concept (in this case a mash-up of Alice and gothic-horror-steampunk literary canons) and builds on this a great interactive fiction with brilliant literary skill and stringent internal logic (in this case it is the logic of illogic!!). The result is fantastic and will bring joy both to gamebooks fans and to Alice's fans. What else can we ask???"

Which was nice.

And in The Wicked Wizard of Oz news, the book is finished and currently with the proof-readers and play-testers, and Kev Crossley is hard at work on the illustrations.

Here are his sketches for a couple of the characters you may meet when you return to Oz this May.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Steampunk Thursday: Pax Britannia - Worthless Remains

Having marked the 10th anniversary of the Pax Britannia series on this blog yesterday, today I am delighted to announce that Ulysses Quicksilver returns for a one-off short story in Matthew Bright's Clockwork Cairo - an anthology of steampunk stories with an Egyptian connection - later this year.

One of the great things about the anthology is that each story comes with its own piece of artwork, and here's the title page illustration for my own story Worthless Remains.

Clockwork Cairo will be published in May by Twopenny Books.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

10 years of Pax Britannia!

Did you know, according to the Rebellion Publishing website, Unnatural History, the first Pax Britannia novel, was published ten years ago today?

I first pitched the idea for what would become Abaddon Books' Steampunk science fantasy series, when Jonathan Oliver - now Editor-in-Chief of Abaddon, Solaris and Ravenstone Books - put out the call for authors, but the kernel of the idea had been knocking around in my mind for years before that.

The oldest notes I can find that would be recognisable as the basic outline of what would become Unnatural History are dated 1990. (I wouldn't be published for the first time until 1993.) The dinosaurs in the Challenger Enclosure at Regent's Park Zoo get a mention, as does Queen Victoria being in a life support throne. There's even a line about bases on the Moon and Mars, but the protagonist is one Mandeville Sachs, Gentleman Adventurer, rather than Ulysses Quicksilver.

So although later today, I'll be raising a glass to Ulysses Quicksilver and toasting the Pax Britannia series as a whole, the idea is actually at least 27 years old, making it older than my writing career (which is 25 years old this July)!

And what's lovely is that people are still discovering the series for the first time and, I'm pleased to say, enjoying it. And who knows, maybe one day I'll get to bring Ulysses Quicksilver's story to a conclusion.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Thought for the Day

"A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom."
~ Roald Dahl

Monday, 6 February 2017

Thought for the Day

"A poet must never make a statement simply because it is sounds poetically exciting; he must also believe it to be true."

~ W.H. Auden (1907-73)

Friday, 3 February 2017

Gamebook Friday: The Wicked Wizard of Oz

If you backed the Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland Kickstarter back in 2015, you may remember how you pledged to receive a 400-reference gamebook but ended up with a 520-reference gamebook. This increase in length was in part a consequence of the rules system I developed for the book, and partly because of the epic maze I plonked in the middle of the adventure.
Having learnt from my mistakes with that previous project, when I pitched The Wicked Wizard of Oz you may remember that I announced that you would be backing the Kickstarter to receive a 500-reference gamebook. I also said that you would be able to play as one of four different characters, and a fifth bonus character if you pledged at the Wicked Witch reward level. And then this happened...
This afternoon I finally finished the manuscript for The Wicked Wizard of Oz, almost six months to the day after I first set fingers to keyboard. (I actually started writing the gamebook on Thursday 4th August 2016.)
Now all that there remains for me to do is re-number the entire adventure by hand - all 850 references of it! - and then re-structure it before sending it out to the proof-readers and play-testers.
But before I can do that I need to work out which sections have to relate to a specific number (as a result of being the answer to a puzzle, for example) and where all the illustrations are going to go.
Best get started then!

Monday, 30 January 2017

Thought for the Day

"If you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer."
~ Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)