Frontier Expo 2017

Posted by on Oct 9, 2017 in Announcements

There have been lots of community events organised around Frontier’s games; LaveCons, FantastiCons and EliteMeets to name the most obvious. Frontier had their original launch party too, but this was the first event they’d organised specifically to celebrate and promote themselves. Frontier Expo 2017 was held at ‘Here East’ in the Olympic Park at Stratford, London. Frontier have come a long way in a relatively short time, with new offices, new franchises and their own ability to publish games. The future looks bright indeed. 🙂 Jurassic World needs no introduction and, whilst it’s not really my thing, Planet Coaster is also a major source of excitement for many. It was clear though, from the cheer that went up, the the majority of folks were there for the most well known franchise – Elite Dangerous. The Expo itself was a portfolio, a showcase of both past and present, with a collection of past titles and current ones on display, counterpointed by a variety of talks. These were provided by some notable people, with a heavy scientific bent; Professor Brendan Walker, who has the exciting title of “Thrill Engineer”, Astrobiologist William Bains and famous palaeontologist John ‘Jack’ Horner.  There were second stage talks too. I’m sure all of these were excellent, but I can’t comment specifically as I never got into any of them during the day – I’m going to watch them online. Reasons for that later. 🙂 I was lucky enough to have a VIP pass, and thanks to the wonderful Bo Marit, I was able to avoid the main queue with my two sons after having a close up look at the scale Cobra Mk3 model outside. Within, having picked up a ‘Goodie bag’ it was time to say hello to friends old and new. Lots of streamers were already on duty in a special room. I managed a wave at the ones I knew. 🙂 We all crammed in to see the day kicked off by Ed Lewis and David Braben before a huge 4k screen (backlit too, not projected!). After that, effectively until 5pm, I was talking to folks and signing books. Premonition was on sale on the Frontier store itself, but many folks had brought my other books with them too. It was a great pleasure to do so. I’ve no idea how many I did sign – I quickly lost count, but it was great to put names to faces, or CMDR names in some cases. I was quite overwhelmed by the response at the Expo to both the books and the storytelling involved. There was huge warmth and affection for it all, which was so gratifying to hear. It was fascinating and humbling to hear how excited individuals and factions were at appearing in the story, even if very briefly. It seems I also got most of the details right too – something I was very...

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Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis

Posted by on Oct 5, 2017 in Announcements

As most of you know I’ve been involved with Elite (in its various forms) for a quite some time. I played the original game back on a friend’s BBC Micro shortly after it came out on the 20th of September 1984. I was given it as a Christmas present in 1985 for my trusty ZX Spectrum home computer. I distinctly remember seeing the Kickstarter for Elite Dangerous appear out of the blue on the BBC website – and that date was the 6th of November 2012. My direct involvement with Elite Dangerous began on the 21st of November 2012 when I launched my own infamous ‘Kickstarter to fund a Kickstarter‘ in order to write one of the first official Elite Dangerous books. Quite a lot has happened since. 😉 Most of it has been positive. I was able, with a lot of help from the community and permission from Frontier, to write two full length novels set in the Elite Dangerous universe (so far!) and create some memorable, if controversial, characters. This has been a great springboard for my own writing ‘career’. There have been conventions, podcasts, interviews, twitch streams, community events, official events, in-game events and hundreds of emails. These have all been special, occasionally even moving and emotional. High points included LaveCons and FantastiCons, the various charity events, the official launch event at Duxford, Amelia and Jay performing SalomĂ© and Patreus. I’m sure the Expo will be fun too. Fans even named a section of the Elite Dangerous galaxy after me and I have a ‘Galaxy’ hanging in my hall as a result thanks to the Children of Raxxla and the Galactic Mapping Expedition. I have met a large number of people, many of which have become friends as a result. The ‘Elite’ part of my social circle is wide and diverse. Friendships forged there will be retained. The blunt edge of criticism (some of it fair) for the things I tried did dull my enthusiasm for a time, but a bit of vitriol and disgruntled feedback is part and parcel of being a writer, of course. With the SalomĂ© event, I tried something that hadn’t been tried before. It was certainly something which has yet to be matched; I’ll leave time to judge whether it was a success or not. The game is very much established now. It’s an amazing creation, which is still breath-taking in scope and execution.  I’ve been able to make a contribution to its evolution that would have amazed my wide-eyed 13 year old self back in 1984. I tried very hard to put into the game a bit of the elusive ‘content’ that folks asked for. Writing for Elite Dangerous has been a fascinating experience that I will recall with great fondness. It’s been, well, a 5-year mission! My aim all along – aside from the mechanics of writing books, mission text, GalNet articles and some of...

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At the Frontier Expo

Posted by on Sep 29, 2017 in Announcements

A quick update, as time is pressing – a week to go! Frontier have confirmed that there will be 150 paperback copies of Premonition available at the Expo. I have no idea how popular they will be but the usual ‘when they’re gone, they’re gone’ applies! I’ll be at the Expo all day, but watching the events during the morning and late pm. If you would like to have a chat, get a book signed or similar, Frontier have kindly given me a spot alongside the streamers, vloggers and radio shows in the community booth area during the afternoon from 1pm-4pm, so catch me there. You can see all who is doing what here. We seem to be almost set, so look forward to seeing you there to learn more about the future of Elite Dangerous (and some stuff about dinosaurs and roller coasters 😉 ) and of course… Right on,...

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#VoteYesAustralia

Posted by on Sep 16, 2017 in Announcements

Something a little different today, a guest blog. Nothing to do with SF or Fantasy, but a poignant letter from my sister, Jacqui. She and her partner, Alena, of 16 years are currently unable to get married because they live in Australia, it remains against the law. Citizens there soon have the option of a vote to change this. Here’s her story. As a child I never saw myself getting married, the whole white wedding was never for me. All that money, the stress of public speaking, the fanfare of fabric, hair, makeup, etc., frightening!! If two people love each other that should be enough I thought. Looking back, I guess I knew that I wouldn’t be getting married because deep down I knew I was different, and that my life wouldn’t follow the normal route of settling into happily married bliss with Mr. Right like my friends & family expected me to. It was only in my mid 20’s that I allowed myself to come out, first to myself (hard enough), then to close friends and family (much harder & extremely emotional). This journey was not an easy one, and there were some very dark, and very lonely moments. When you fear losing everyone you know & love, fear being rejected, displaced, ridiculed or worse. I did not choose to be gay, no-one does, who would choose to go through this? But I am, and I am now a much stronger & braver woman for going through this journey. I am so proud to be a part of this GLBTIQ 🏳‍🌈 community that accepts not only me, but who are also so accepting & forgiving of those who have not always been so of us. I have been fortunate to find the most magnificent woman to share my life with, we have supportive friends & family around us, and have found the majority of people we have met during our time together, from all walks of life, from all around the world, to be accepting & non-judgemental of us. I count myself very lucky. And so I have found myself wanting to marry, but this has not been an option for us in Australia… Alena & I have been together for 16 years, and engaged for over 14 years, but we have not been able to celebrate this in the same ways as our straight siblings, because ‘it’s not legal so what’s the point’. Our politicians have continually denied us the right to choose this option, and the future of our beautiful relationship now lies with the people of Australia. Since this postal vote was announced, I have been walking around my neighbourhood, walking our dog around the park, passing locals & friendly faces, and can’t help thinking that every one of them will have a ‘vote’ on whether my relationship is acceptable to them, whether they consider my relationship...

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Elite Dangerous Premonition Launches!

Posted by on Jul 5, 2017 in Announcements

It’s eleven months to the day since I embarked on writing my second novel in the remarkable universe of Elite Dangerous. In truth, the preparation for it started quite some time before that in terms of pitches, discussions, outlines, plans and so on. The actual writing commenced in August 2016 and continued at pace until early May this year. But now, Premonition, the sequel to Reclamation (which was launched 3 years ago!) is out. A journey complete – and what a journey that has been! Frontier commissioned me to write the current story of Elite Dangerous and it was aimed to tell the behind the scenes story of the game, a glimpse behind PowerPlay, the factions and the politics and embracing the events that players took part in, and often, changed the course of. Here then is what was happening in-game in 3302 to 3303… This book involved a huge amount of collaboration with players and Frontier staff to whom I’m very much indebted for their support and assistance. The ‘thanks to’ page in the book is not insignificant! Within hours of it first appearing on the Frontier store I was amazed to find that folks had finished it. It’s not a short book at 155,000 words (Tolkien’s Return of the King is only 135,000!). Initial feedback has been hugely positive. You can get a taste of that here, and there’s a first in depth review on Goodreads already. It’s been a mammoth project and I’ve had a great time putting altogether, though it’s not been without a modicum of controversy. This was something quite new and ambitious. My huge thanks to all involved, and to the wider community at large for their support. With your help I was able to write on, Commanders!   FAQs What formats is the ebook available in? It’s available in .epub (generic ebook readers) .mobi (good for Kindles) and .pdf (good for pretty much anything). You get all three versions when you buy the book from Frontier. When is the Amazon / Google Play / iTunes version going to be available? They are coming later this year. I don’t have an exact date at the moment, but will post up on all the usual channels once I know more. For Kindle users, the .mobi version of the ebook from the Frontier store is compatible, you can upload it manually or email it to your Kindle. When is the physical version of the book going to available? This is being combined with the other digital channels above. As yet there is no firm date. Will there be an audiobook version? This is being considered by Fdev at the moment. If I have news I will advise. The more people who ask, the more likely it will be. 🙂 Will the book be translated into different languages? Nothing confirmed on this at present. Will there be...

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Aftermath

Posted by on Apr 30, 2017 in Announcements

Commander SalomĂ©, ex-Senator and disgraced lady Kahina Tijani Loren of the empire, is dead. She was confirmed killed at 20:49 gametime on 29th April, 3303, succumbing to hostile fire from Commander Harry Potter. Some will accuse me of having scripted this event. Some will accuse me of seeding factions and sowing discord on the ..er.. discord. I would love to accept such a compliment, but I’m not that good. I can write a plot, but I cannot manipulate an entire playerbase to my whim. SalomĂ©’s death was the result of you, the Elite Dangerous community, what you did and didn’t do. I set out to write your story. For good or for ill, for heroes and villains, for Elitists and for compatriots, for factions and lone-wolves, for griefers and carebears – this is the universe of Elite Dangerous and the book will be true to that zeitgeist. She survived, in open mode, being assailed by hostile commanders almost immediately, for 1 hour and 45 minutes due to a combination of strategy, practice and a measure of luck. She even had our start location advertised. I’ll agree, the odds were against her. SalomĂ© got within 6 systems of our target, having fought her way across 600 lightyears of space. Her ship was battered and damaged. At the point SalomĂ© was finally interdicted her hull was holding up well, but the modules within were shot. The FSD drive was failing to engage. Chaff and weapons were offline. We had an AFMU – we’d already used it completely – twice. We prioritised repairs to the FSD hull (not the hull as you can’t repair it! – my bad), shields and thrusters, hoping to limp on. We had stocked up on jumponium, but we had used it all in our flight. We suffered some client disconnects, but we never combat logged. She didn’t make it. Harry Potter dealt the death blow, but she was already dying by that point due to other interdictions by hostile players and our attempts to escape using emergency FSD drops. Contrary to rumours circulating, Commander Potter wasn’t part of SalomĂ©’s wing at any point. A valiant proactive, reactive and strategic defense was managed by allied forces in an attempt to keep her alive. You can read about that here. When news of her death was confirmed there was silence. Deep meaningful silence. Then sobs and cries. Anger, vengeance and retribution followed. This was humanity – this was the aim. Yes, I had anticipated her death. Clearly that was a highly probable outcome. Personally I was hoping she would make it. She had a speech all ready to go – she liked speeches. That will never see the light of day now because you changed the story. But this wasn’t scripted, there was only preparation for as many eventualities as we could foresee. The logs in the Teorge system were revealed by the...

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