Viva Fractopia!

Yay! I get to work on UbiquiCity 2!

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, I collaborated with several other writers a while back to create an anthology called UbiquiCity. I was approached by Tod Foley to help with the project after he read my WIP, Hermes925. What followed were several video conference calls in which the writers developed a world together, and then came up with characters and short stories within that world.

As you may have gathered from the images on this post, the stories all take place in a futuristic ‘smart city’, or UbiquiCity (a city in which smart technology is fully integrated and ubiquitous), populated not only with people, but also countless drones flying overhead, and AI’s moving wirelessly and invisibly across the city.

This is similar to Hermes925 in many respects, but it takes place about 20 years earlier. People use various smart devices from several manufacturers using different operating systems and carriers. This can cause compatibility issues, and gaping exploits for hackers.

There are also some parts of Union City, as we called it, that are not so shiny. Run down slums where the people can’t afford the technology to keep up, though some come up with inventive, and not precisely legal, ways to circumvent the system. These people are known as ‘Scrumblies’ or ‘Discons’ by the connected majority.

The result is a culture that is utopian for some and dystopian for others. Tod came up with the term ‘Fractopia’ to describe it, allowing us to differentiate from cyberpunk and grimdark sci-fi, though there are elements in common. Tod not only hope to establish Fractopian fiction as a genre in it’s own right, but to develop UbiquiCity into a roleplay gaming system.

I’ve only scratched the surface of the depth and scope of the world we’ve created. If I’ve whet your appetite and you’d like to know more about the project, you can learn more on the UbiquiCity website and support the development of more books, and the gaming system, by becoming a Patreon subscriber and/or buying the book from Amazon:

We’d all be very grateful to you if you did.

Thank you and have a great day 🙂

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To Rewrite Or Not To Rewrite? 

I’m in a bit of a dilemma. My book needs a rewrite to incorporate a new character. What I’m trying to decide is whether I should finish writing the current version of the story first, or scrap the story so far and start over.

So far I’ve been writing Hermes925 as a journal. It’s based in the future. Keeping journal is an archaic practice, so it never really made much sense. Even if Jaime were choosing to write the journal on paper so that there’d be no digital record, the N•Viron system still sees everything. Jaime’s audience needs to be different. Needs to be real.

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Some of my original notes, back when the AR device was called the Avalon system

·In the original draft, Jaime was writing the journal in the Hermes spacecraft. The connection to the N•Viron system (spoilers) had already been lost. This would make a little more sense since he has no other form of expression or communication. Maybe I’ll back to that. Maybe he’s not writing it at all, perhaps he’s talking to the Hermes925 artificial intelligence. I always intended for it to be revealed that the AI is the narrator, recounting and reviewing Jaime’s entries after he throws his journal into the on-board reclaimer. If he’s having a conversation with the ship instead it may make more sense.

I also came up with the character “Rook” though. It might help make the character’s more relatable if at least some of it took the form of a conversation between Jaime and Rook. Jaime could be trying to explain the value and purpose of several aspects of their society, including Arpies, conviction by consensus, reclaimers, and even the portal gates. Rook could provide a counter argument that it’s all part of an elaborate conspiracy to control us and manipulate us, and thusly reveal the Orwellian undertones of society to the reader, while making it seem ridiculous enough to be ignored by Jaime.

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This is kind of how I imagine Rook

However, can I really just stop the current version dead and start over? The new version will be better, but I already have people who follow the story each time I publish a new entry. Don’t I owe it to them to finish it? Perhaps on the way I’ll identify other plot holes and imperfections and be able to address them all in one rewrite instead of having to rewrite again when they come up. However, I think when the story changes I’ll find that some of the problems with this plot aren’t an issue, and that the rewrite has all new issues.

So I’m asking for your opinion. Keep writing a story that doesn’t quite work so you can see how it ends? Or go back to the drawing board and start the story over, making it a more traditional story including conversation with other characters, and not just a series of journal entries?

Comment either here on the blog or on the Facebook page, or via email or messenger if you prefer. I’m leaning toward starting over, so if you’d rather I keep working on the current version instead, please speak up.

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Have a great day. 🙂

Work, work, work!

I decided to spend half my day looking for a job, and the other half working on Hermes925. I feel rather accomplished since I have managed to do just that. There were times when I was living in America that I would set myself a goal, and find the day disappear into the aether of distractions. Facebook, friends, my girlfriend at that time, the Xbox360, and the worst culprit of all, my cat.

I loved Scotty. He was my buddy, but when he wanted petting, there was very little you could do to dissuade him. I’d be typing away, and suddenly a cat would be leaping into my arms. If I didn’t lean back and fold my arms under his arse, then his claws would raked painfully down my chest as he scrambled to climb up to my shoulder. I’d just have to stop writing until he’d had enough, or I was determined enough to withstand the claws I’d get when I removed him.

In the house in Wales I still had distractions, and again the main culprit was an animal. Toby is a fun little dog, full of energy, and he’d like nothing more than to play fetch with me. I’d work with the french windows open to avoid getting too hot as I worked, and Toby would trot in from the yard and drop a ball at my feet. If I ignored him, he would pick up the ball and drop it again, and again, and wouldn’t stop until I threw the ball for him until he collapsed.

So now there’s no animals and I can type in peace! I got a bunch of applications filed, and even received an interview time already from one employer.A few of the jobs I applied for were writing jobs. If I end up hearing from one of them I wouldn’t mind having to give up my writing time to do it, because I’d still be writing! 🙂 The follow up wasn’t from one of the content writing positions though. At this point though I just need to get some cash in my pocket, whatever the opportunity might be.

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My Grandad has been reading my rough notes for Hermes925. He made some interesting points after finishing it. I clearly need to give what I’d written so far a read through to make sure that some of the ideas I wrote in later (as I thought of them) are incorporated into the story from the beginning. In particular he wanted the orwellian overtones to be clearer.

He also mentioned that it needed a timeframe. I’ve been avoiding this deliberately, mostly because I find that putting a date on a work of science fiction limits the amount of time in which the fantastic technology is believable. Of course eventually our technological advancement will surpass that which is described in the story anyway, so maybe he has a point. It may help anchor the story somewhat.

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When I started this most recent version of Hermes925 I also intended to explore the character of Psy•Man a little so that I understood his motivation and personality a little better. I’d actually come to a conflict in the previous version that involved Psy•Man, an I wasn’t sure what he’d do in the situation. It has also become generally confusing and I didn’t like the way it was going.

However, Jaime hasn’t met Psy•Man until the exact same point he did in the last version. I may have to write a separate set of writing from his perspective. They would be more analytical, coldly manipulative and reveal his talent for software engineering. I’m also thinking they would be short charming status updates, samples of chats with various unsuspecting victims of his cruel intelligence, and perhaps some gloating private notes.

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I’ve not gotten myself into the right mindset yet, perhaps I need to read some Dean Koontz, Thomas Harris or Jeff Lindsay and come back to it. In the meantime, I’ll keep working on the narrative track I’m on and see if the appropriate time for Psy•Man’s story comes up organically. Some of you who’ve read the older Hermes sample, might recognise the next entry. Here’s the latest entry for now: 11/26 First Day! Enjoy.

Have a great day 🙂

Encouraging Expressive Endeavours

I believe that writers should help out other writers. We’re all trying to make it. To that end I occasionally like to post a book spotlight, recommend a blogger, or even just post a link to someone else’s website. I’d like to do more, thought I also need to remember to work on my own writing, and not get so absorbed in networking and writing articles for others that my own book(s) never get finished.

Having said that, there’s several people that deserve a shout-out and words of encouragement. Great people who have decided to focus on their passion for writing, despite the fact (as my Dad often reminds me) that many writers never make it. Being a writer is a tough, often unforgiving and unrewarded calling, and these guys deserve a medal for even trying.

Sunbow Pendragon already got an entire article dedicated to her, but she still deserves a round of applause. She has 10 books published, but she has yet to become well known despite the fact that her readers love her. Many of us, myself included, think that once someone loves your work they’ll tell everyone else. The word will spread like wildfire and you’ll be famous in no time. This is sadly not the case, and these flames need to be fanned.

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I also did a book spotlight for Terminus by Jay Milius. Jaye has taken a different approach and used a website I’ve considered using myself called Inkshares.com to promote her book before it was even published. She now has 260 copies of Terminus sold due to her dedication, passion and self-promotion. I’m looking forward to receiving the copy I pre-ordered.

Geoffrey Porter is currently working on a military sci-fi, and also runs and edits an online magazine for short fiction of all kinds. It’s called “Untied Shoelaces of the Mind” and it’s a great collection. He’s very helpful. He pointed out that my Hermes925 sample lacked a description of the interior of the spacecraft. He has a point. It would be a new experience to Jaime, he’d probably enthusiastically describe every detail he could remember. I may work on that later today so I can resubmit it.

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I also wanted to applaud lostgirl131 for posting her second article on her brand new blog Journal of a Lost Girl. The article is called Always Keep Fighting, and it’s about Jared Padalecki’s campaign to help people fight depression. I’m a big fan since I also fight depression and believe that it’s better to fight it than just give in and be depressed. Publically acknowledging your depression is very brave, especially if you tend to be shy and introverted. Keep up the good work Lost Girl!

Last but not least, I’m proud of my nieces, both of whom want to be writers when they grow up. Bethany, who’s 9 has even written a couple of short stories already and wants to be the youngest published author. Her sister Imogen (6) does too, but I think that’s mostly because she wants to do everything her sister does. Imogen says she wants to practice writing more before she writes a book. Bethany’s books are charming little pre-school children’s stories, I’d love to show you one when we can figure out which moving box they were packed in! It would be so great if her work was actually published and used in schools. 🙂

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Would you like a mention in a future article? I’d be happy too help. Like I said, writers need to help each other out. I’ll also love the opportunity to help artists and musicians get the word out, and perhaps even help bring several different creative types together in a mutually supportive and perhaps even collaborative community. If you like this idea let me know. You could even help me come up with a name for the group!

As always I’d appreciate any and all feedback, either in the comments below, via the contact me page, or on Facebook. Have a great day!

 

Divine Invasion (story idea)

I’ve been staring at the screen most of the day wondering what I was going to write today. I had an idea or two, but none of them really grabbed me. I even picked up my notepad to rewrite the part I’m not happy with and move on, but I wasn’t really feeling that either. It wasn’t until during a conversation with a friend via messenger that something came up that I wanted to write about.

First though I promised a friend I’d give her new blog “Journal of a Lost Girl” a mention, see if we can get her some traffic! Her first entry, appropriately called “First Review“, discusses a new album by ‘Day to Remember’ called ‘Bad Vibrations’. Go check it out and give a new blogger some encouragement :).  Just follow one of the red links above.

I had considered writing an article on the Pocket Shot Arrow Pouch, which claims to be the smallest and most powerful circular bow. I’ve never heard of a circular bow before and thought it was rather cool. I immediately saw a problem with reloading that would make me want a traditional bow instead, and made me lose interest entirely. However, here’s the video so you can decide for yourself, and you can follow the link for more information.

What I’ve decided to talk about instead came up while I was chatting with one of the lovely ladies in the US I mentioned in a previous article. We were both raised Christian and have since rejected the teachings of the church in favour of a personalised faith based on older religions that Christianity.

I’ve often wondered to myself, particularly when I still went to church, that if the biblical god did create our world, then did he create the rest of the galaxy too? I wondered if other sentient life-forms worshipped the same god we did, and if so, how would we recognise it as the same deity since the bible makes no mention of other sentient life besides us, and the Angels.

“If we had aliens coming from other worlds to make a pilgrimage to the planet that God’s only son was born on…..wait. That would make an awesome story!”

That was what I wrote in facebook messenger. Let me elaborate on what I meant. If the Christian God is the only true god, then it stands to reason that he would also be worshipped on other planets. It would also follow that these civilisations would also know of us, humanity and planet Earth, as the birthplace of god’s only son, Jesus Christ. Their own bibles would therefore include a version of the gospels, perhaps based on their own observations.

These aliens may have visited us many times throughout history but this is where I can’t decide which way to go. Do I make the aliens Angels, and have them report directly to the actual god-creator, who in this case is an actual being that has communicated with the aliens directly? In which case there could be a rebel faction also. Or have the aliens merely adopted the Christian religion having observed it’s development for eons, and even probed rednecks for more information?

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Maybe I can leave that part ambiguous and leave it up to the characters to argue over and the reader to decide. Either way I think these aliens should come to planet earth, in the story, and attempt to set us on the right path. They, of course, believe that they know the truth. That our bible is wrong, our church corrupt, and that earth christians are misguided heretics.

It will be some time before I get around to actually writing this story. I still have to get Hermes925 finished, and I’d like to work on The War on Magic, or perhaps The Lord Highwayman next. I would however enjoy hearing your thoughts on the Divine Invasion and see if you would read it, or if you’re actually very upset at me for discussing Christianity at all. Please comment below.

Have a great day! 🙂

Shameless Self-promotion

Since it’s the weekend and many of the Facebook writer’s groups I’m in only allow links and promo posts on weekends, I thought I’d pack as much as I could into one article!

First, there’s this blog in which I write about whatever I feel like writing about. It could be about something actually happening in my life. It might be about a new geeky product, game, movie/tv or book that’s gotten me excited. It could be an article about the writing process itself. Or it could be an idea I’ve had for a story that I’m not currently working on.

These general articles can all be found under the ‘Blog of Indefinite Purpose‘ tab, and are categorised and tagged to make them easier to browse through. Everything except ‘secret stash’ articles are also shared to my author page on Facebook, Antony M Copeland.

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Then there’s the book I’m currently working on. Hermes925. I’m writing it a bit at a time, as if they were journal entries written by the protagonist, Jaime. Here’s what I have so far:

Hermes925 also has it’s own Facebook Page.

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Then there’s also City of Gate, a long running fantasy rp group on Facebook. Basically, I update the group every Sunday to tell the group members what’s happening. If they’ve created a character, they then have until the following Saturday to add a comment describing what their character is doing in response to the situation. It’s fun, and it keeps me on my toes, often having to come up with new layers for the narrative based on what the player controlled characters are doing.

Over the years I’ve written quite a bit of non-player character backstory. You can read this in the City of Gate group under files. I’ve played with the idea of making this into a book, filling in the gaps between character-written accounts with a more traditional narrative based on the events that have already taken place in the game. The project is on pause while I focus on finishing Hermes925. If you’re curious though, you can check out the City of Gate: Chronicles tab or the City of Gate: Chronicles Facebook page.

Boom! One link filled article that would do the job of a timeline full! I look forward to any and all feedback, I can take it! Have great day 🙂

Inquisitor: Martyr ‘Blood & Gore’ Trailer

For those who’ve followed my blogging career since the days of ‘Don’t Hate The Geek’, you may recognise this game. If not here’s some links for you back to the original post and the update regarding destructible environments. Feel free to browse round the page a bit if you like and give them a follow. They’re good people.

For those of you still here, Warhammer 40k has been a love of mine since I was a teenager,with roots going back even earlier. Back then I only played the tabletop battle game. I collected hordes of miniatures, painted them up (though not as many as I should have) and fought epic battles versus superhuman Space Marines and alien Eldar. It’s lots fun.

I don’t have the miniatures anymore, but I still have a deep and abiding love for the lore and fluff of the Warhammer 40k universe and I get ridiculously excited when I see video games that put the grim dark imagery of the tabletop game into a playable environment. Inquisitor: Martyr is doing a particularly great job of this. Warhammer 40k players might even recognise the faithful reproduction of the Hellbrute miniature in the video above. As well as the gothic architecture and dark atmosphere we’ve seen in the artwork of the rulebook and your favoured army’s codex.

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Inquisitor: Martyr focuses on a particularly shadowy part of the Imperium. The Inquisitors are charged with investigating rumours of corruption within the Imperium, and eliminating it by any means necessary. Imagine a secret agent crossed with Nazi Gestapo and the Spanish Inquisition, that also has a fanatical devotion to his God-Emperor. These men and women are brutal protectors of humanity. In this game you are one of them, and you’ve stumbled upon a particularly virulent nest of Chaos worshippers.

Followers of the Chaos Gods were once loyal innocent citizens of the Imperium lured away by false promises of power. This is exactly the sort of corruption the Inquisition are supposed to prevent. You have the perfect excuse to use your influence and resources to acquire all manner of grim futuristic weaponry to blast the foul minions of Chaos to bloody bits!

It’s not just a standard shoot ’em up though, it’s an action-rpg! You’re not just stuck on a set path, you can explore the open sandbox environment as you see fit. If you’d like to know more, you can visit the developer’s website. I’m sure you’ll hear more from me on the subject too whenever another video comes out! If you prefer the idea of playing the tabletop version of Warhammer 40k, go to Games Workshop’s website and drool over all the pretty miniatures.

In the grim darkness of the far future…there is only war.

Have a great day! 🙂