Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Space 1889 Game Hits a Homer on Kickstarter!

For those of you who haven't been following it, the Space 1889 roleplaying game on Kickstarter finished its funding window two days ago. It had made its original funding goal within a week or the launch and then made steady progress toward the stretch goals after that. But there was a big surge at the end and it ended up hitting 483% of its original funding goal, with over $100,000 raised. There will be LOTS of supplements and adventures coming, as well as some very handsome 28mm miniatures based on the artwork for the characters.

I am delighted and a little stunned. I expected it to do well, to hits its original funding target easily, and probably double or treble that. But a nearly five-fold increase is amazing, and wonderful. With this game coming out later this year from Clockwork Productions, and the supplements coming out next year, with The Forever Engine shipping from Baen Books in January of next year, with more e-books coming in Space 1889 and Beyond from Untreed Reads, the next twelve months should be about everything Space 1889 fans could want--aside from a working aether flyer, of course.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Final Edits In on The Forever Engine

I received the final marked up copy edits of The Forever Engine a little over a week ago and just express mailed them back to the folks at Baen Books with all of my final changes. Paul Witcover at Baen did a very thorough and professional job on the copy edit and caught a  couple places where I had unintentionally mangled Gabrielle Courbiere's (the heroine's) French. That would have violated one of my cardinal rules: never make a determined woman with a lever-action shotgun look bad. Thanks for the catches, Paul.

In order to check all the edits I had to read the novel again, I had a good time doing it even though there obviously wasn't a lot of suspense for me. I couldn't tell you how many times I've read this, between the rewrites and the chapters I've read out loud at my three writing workshop groups. A lot. But I'm not sick of it, and that's a good thing. I hope you all enjoy it when it comes out in January. Baen will have an electronic advanced reading copy (eARC) out before then. I'll let you know more  when I know more. I'll also be posting at least one sample chapter here, and maybe more, when we get a little closer to publication.

Meantime the Space: 1889 Kickstarter just keeps chugging along. It's at over 250% funding now and has unlocked the Venus Sourcebook as well as a bunch of other goodies. They've added a umber of add-ons as well, including a Space: 1889 soundtrack CD--background music for playing the roleplaying game with friends or even, it occurs to me, while quietly reading The Forever Engine.

It's been a busy summer but a good one.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Venus Sourcebook May Be Next!

The cover for the Venus Sourcebook.

The Space 1889 Kickstarter project is turning out to be pretty exciting. It's at about 195% funding of the original goal with only a bit over a third of the funding period gone, so it's at the point where Clockwork Productions et al are adding additional stretch goals. Since the Venus Sourcebook unlocks (becomes available) when they hit about 225% of their original goal, I'd say the odds are very good. I know from years of experience that Venus is the world gamers asked about most concerning additional material.

This level of support for the game is very gratifying on a personal level. I imagine a lot of you know that Space 1889 was the only role-playing game I designed which I retained control of when GDW closed down. I had control of all of my work, of course, but much of it I sold or licensed almost immediately. That was business. But Space 1889 was also personal for me, so it's renewed success now makes me feel nice and warm inside.

There's more news on the literary front as well. I'll fill you in on that tomorrow or the next day.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The (New) Art of Space 1889

I've posted several pieces of art from the German (and soon to be English language)  Space: 1889 basic book before, including character archetypes. Those were done by Mia Steingraeber and have been big hits with about everyone who's seem them. The above one is not from the main book, but instead is a sample archetype from the forthcoming Venus sourcebook. Here's a link to the HeroPress site giving a little more info about the new Space: 1889 art, as well as al update on the Kickstarter project.

Two New Interviews With Your Favorite Author

Okay, I suppose it's a bit presumptuous to think I am your favorite author, but hope springs eternal.

The interviews were occasioned by the publication of How Dark The World Becomes earlier this year. They were conducted by email a couple weeks ago by Keith Brooke, well-known British science fiction author, editor, and web publisher.  The first interview (link) is in SF Signal online, which I'm sure many of you know of. The second (link) is a follow-up interview which appears in Keith's own Infinity Plus e-zine. I like the result because Keith got me to talk about some things I've never said much about publically, including the "type" of books I like to write. Take a look.

Monday, July 22, 2013


Congratulations to Patric Götz of Clockwork Productions, Angus Abranson of Chronicle City, and everyone else who has worked on the new Space 1889 project. It went live on Kickstarter at 6PM on Wednesday night and by Sunday morning had met its funding goal. As I write this on Sunday evening it is at 111%. Once it gets to 120%, the first stretch goal--the 32-page adventure "The Order of the Invisible Eye" by John Wick--will unlock, with more to follow that.  This is terrific news for the game and thanks to all of you who joined in to help put it over the top.

Thirty-four more funding days left.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Return of Space 1889 part 2

When I posted about Clockwork Productions' kickstarter two days ago, I failed to give a link to the site. Not a big deal, really, as it's the only Space 1889 project on kickstarter, and you are all reasonably resourceful adults. That said, here's the link. Check it out.
Somkeone told me today that if the project hasn't made 20% of its goal in the first ten days it probably won't make it. Well, this one has hit 90% of its goal in the first three days, so I'd say there's a pretty good chance it's going to do okay in the remaining thirty-seven. Get ready for a boffo new English edition of the rules.

In the mean time, here's a look at the sculpts for their Martian Princess figure,  one of the premiums they're doing.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Return of Space: 1889!

I'm way behind on news and views, and so you'll see several posts next week, after I return from Historicon in historic Fredericksburg, VA. But there's one piece of news which could not wait, Stop The Presses kind of news. Clockwork Productions brought us the beautifully-produced German edition of Space: 1889, and everyone wanted to know, "When will there be an English edition?" Your entreaties have been answered. The Space: 1889 Kickstarter crowd funding starts this evening, Wednesday, July 17th. I'll let them explain in detail. Here is their press release. Go take a look. I think you'll like what you see.


Space: 1889 Returns!

Cologne & Swindon, July 2013
Wednesday July 17th sees the launch of a new Kickstarter by Clockwork Publishing and Chronicle City to fund the new English version of the award-winning RPG Space: 1889.

“The year is 1889 and Mankind has conquered the inner planets of the Solar System and now travels through the Ether between worlds. We discovered the ancient culture of the Martians and the misty wilderness of Venus. Mercury is a world of extremes, but rich in valuable raw materials. The Asteroid Belt and the Earth’s moon, Luna, are still waiting for further exploration. And there is still a lot to discover on Earth itself.

Under the burning sun of the Martian steppes, the steamy mists of the Venusian jungle, the deadly cold of the Dry Ice Zone on Mercury, or at the banks of the Amazon River on good old Earth – the world of Space: 1889 is full of adventures.”

Everything Jules Verne could have written.
Everything H.G. Wells should have written.
Everything A. Conan Doyle thought of but never published because it was too fantastic.
Everything you need for the adventures of the century.


Almost 25 years ago, well known game designer and author Frank Chadwick came up with the idea of a roleplaying game set in a world inspired by the fantastic novels of early Science Fiction authors like Jules Verne or H. G. Wells.

Space: 1889 was first published in 1988 by Game Designers Workshop, followed by several additional products, amongst them supplements like “Ironclads and Ether flyers,” adventures like “Canalpriests of Mars,” and board games like “Temple of the Beastmen.”

GDW is long gone but, nevertheless, the fan-base has hung on to this “roleplaying game in a more civilized time” and with the growing popularity of 'steampunk culture' the time has never been better to reintroduce a new edition of the game for old and new fans alike.

The Space: 1889 Crowdfunding project is a cooperation between Uhrwerk Verlag/Clockwork Publishing, Chronicle City, and the master himself, Frank Chadwick.

Already released in German in 2012, the new version features new rules, new artwork, and extended background information that hadn't been available before. Working closely with Space: 1889 creator, Frank Chadwick, a completely new rulebook has been produced, not only building on the original version from the 1980s and 1990s but expanding it in accordance with what has been produced before.

The new version of Space: 1889 uses the fast and easy to learn Ubiquity-ruleset from Exile Games Studios, an award winning system invented by Jeff Combos and used by the RPG Hollow Earth Expedition.

With this new Kickstarter project we hope to expand the exciting new Space: 1889 RPG to where it has its roots: the English-speaking world. We are hoping the core rulebook will be the start of a whole range of Space: 1889 products in English. With each reached stretchgoal, we will be adding new adventures, sourcebooks, accessories or other items.

Come and join us on an exciting voyage through the solar system and visit the deserts of Mars, the dense jungles of Venus or the icy cold of the dark side of Mercury.

About Clockwork Publishing
Clockwork Publishing (or to be more precise: Uhrwerk Verlag, which is the german name, but quite unpronouncable to our english customer base) has been publishing RPGs since 2009, including the German versions of Hollow Earth Expedition, Deadlands: Classic and The One Ring, as well as a lot of RPGs of german origin like Dungeonslayers and Das Schwarze Auge – Myranor. Patric Götz, the owner of Clockwork Publishing, is working in the RPG industry for over 15 years and still hasn't managed to find a decent job somewhere else.
About Chronicle City
Chronicle City is a British based games company set up by multi-award winning publisher Angus Abranson (ex-Cubicle 7 Entertainment; Leisure Games). Chronicle City works with a number of companies and designers, helping to publish and distribute their games. In addition they also develop and license settings to create there own roleplaying, card and board games. Angus has long been a fan and supporter of the steampunk genre, and still has the character sheet of his first Space: 1889 character from when the game was first released!
For more information on Space: 1889, the Kickstarter the companies involved, or to arrange interviews or previews of the game and the creators behind it, please contact us on info@chroniclecity.com

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Conspiracy of Silence Reviewed by Steampunk Traveler

The Traveler's Steampunk Blog  reviewed Conspiracy of Silence (the first book in the second series of Space:1889 And Beyond ebooks from Untreed Reads, and co-authored by Andy Frankham-Allen and Yours Truely) last October, but for some reason it slipped by me. It's a very nice review, giving us ten out of ten Zeppelins and the Badge of Honor (editor's pick), which is about as good as it gets.

The reviewer believes it's the strongest of the Space: 1889 and Beyond books to date. I wouldn't want to compare it to other folks' work, but I think it's the strongest of the three books I worked on. Check it out. Here's the link to the review.

An Incredible Model Zeppelin

If you like Steampunk, it's hard to imagine you don't have a soft spot for zeppelins. I sure do, ever since the 1971 film Zeppelin with Michael York and Elke Sommer -- and probably long before, but that's what sealed the deal. Well, the 1986 Miyazaki film Laputa/Castle in the Sky really sealed the deal, by why quibble?

I recently was directed to an amazing link which shows dozens of pictures of a 28mm zeppelin as it was built, step by step, by two brothers. It's for a 1930's pulp game, rather than a Victorian steampunk game, but agin why quibble. A cool zeppelin is a cool zeppelin. The picture at the top of the page shows the forward section in an early stage of completion. The one below shows the same section from a different angle and a little later in the construction.

The girders are made with heavy card stock and the exterior panels appear to be cut from cerial boxes. That's a great forward obervation bay, isn't it? There are a couple 28mm figures in the picture as well to give you an idea of its size.

Since this is a 1930's model it includes an aircraft hanger and biplane fighter painted in German markings. That's not relevant to Steampunk exactly, but check it out when you visit the site. They did a really nice job.

Here a close-up from the passenger lounge in the complete model. I love the attention to detail and it's followed throughout this massive model. I think the little model zeppelin in the lounge is a nice touch.

Finally, here's a long view of the completed model. Of course there is no top half as it's used as a complete game environment. Here the link. Check it out by all means.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Forever Engine - A Map of Europe

Baen Books commissioned this map of western Europe in 1888 as a two-page spread in The Forever Engine, due out next January. I like what they did with it, particularly the gears for cities and towns. It covers the area where the action of the novel takes place and from some of the unlikely smaller locations included, you can probably figure out that some of the important action takes place in out-of-the-way places like Kokin Brod. You get a nice look at London and Munich as well, however.

They've also commissioned cover art well in advance and may end up with some interior art as well, so I'm very pleased with the care they're taking with the project. It's not too soon to start some buzz about this book. If it sells well, I can pretty much guarrantee sequels. When we get a little closer to publication, I'll post some sample passages here. As soon as I get the go-ahead from Baen (which I think will mean as soon as they are happy with it) I'll post the cover. Cool cover.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

How Dark The World Becomes -- now street-legal

Well, How Dark The World Becomes shipped in early February and is in Barnes & Nobles around the country as well as available through Amazon and directly from Baen Books, my publisher. I'm pretty excited. I already had a reading in Champaign, IL at the Iron Post (a great local jazz bar) and I have another one coming up on April 13 at the Jane Addams Book Store in Champaign, IL at 1:00 PM, as part of the Boneyard Arts Festival. Stop by if you're in the neighborhood. For than matter, I'm doing a book signing at the Champaign Barnes & Noble on Saturday, March 23rd at 1:00 PM as well. No reading, but stop by and say high if you happen to be in east-central Illinois around then. And as a writer friend of mine has said, "I wouldn't be offended if you bought a copy."

Here is the book back-copy:

An Addictive Taste of Freedom

Sasha Naradnyo is a gangster. He's a gangster with heart, sure, but Sasha sticks his neck out for no man. That's how you stay alive in Crack City, a colony stuffed deep into the crust of the otherwise unlivable planet Peezgtaan. Alive only -- because if you're human, you don't prosper, at least not for long. Sasha is a second generation City native. His parents came to this rock figuring to make it big, only to find that they'd been recruited as an indentured labor force for alien overlords known as the Varoki.

Now a pair of rich young Varoki under the care of a beautiful human nanny are fleeing Peezgtaan, and Sasha is recruited to help. He'd prefer to leave the little alien lordlings to their fate, but certain considerations -- such as Sasha's own imminent demise if he remains -- make it beneficial for him to take on the job.

Sasha discovers his simple choice has thrust him in the midst of a political battle that could remake the galactic balance of power and save humanity from slow death by servitude. Now all he has to do is survive and keep his charges alive on a hostile planet undergoing its own revolution.

But it's the galaxy that had better watch out. For now the toughest thug in Crack City has gotten his first taste of read freedom. He likes it, and he wants more.


If you've read it, please go on Amazon or Good Reads and review it. Good or bad, call it like you see it.

Here are some handy links.

Baen link to both the physical and e-book.

Amazon link to the physical book.

Amazon link to the Kindle e-book.