A serialised version of my prehistoric fantasy novel, Face of Glass, will be running on The Pigeonhole from the 18th of March 2020. You can sign up free through this link, but be quick! There are only so many slots available.
You might recall that The Pigeonhole serialised Ten Little Astronauts shortly before the book launched. That was a really interesting few days, and if you didn’t grab a slot that time, I highly recommend giving it a go for Face of Glass. It isn’t just an opportunity to read the book for free: you’ll have the option to leave comments in the margin, and I’ll be following along myself to answer any questions.
Because there’s a community coming together to read the book all at the same time – which will be released in eight staves, one each day – the whole thing is a bit of an event. If that’s not your cup of tea, you can just enjoy the book and never open up the comments. But if you fancy getting involved and/or seeing other readers’ takes on the story as it unfolds, it’s well worth getting a slot even if you’ve read Face of Glass already.
Finally, regardless of whether or not you plan to sign up for a slot yourself, if you’d care to share this news around then you’d really be doing me a favour. I’m just one guy – I don’t have some big publicity department to help me out – and with events like this especially it can be a challenge to get the word out before it’s come and gone. It would be great to see as many people as possible all making a start on Face of Glass when the first stave goes out on March 18th!
Unbound has opened up a special Christmas Shop of books and bundles that would make good festive gifts, and Ten Little Astronauts is among them! This bundle would be perfect for anybody you know who loves sci-fi so much they’d definitely get through more than one book before New Year.
This is currently the second most ordered bundle, which I realise isn’t saying much as the shop has only just opened and most have yet to see any orders at all, but still seems like a pretty promising start. Most books have an RRP of around £10, so four for £25.99 is a bit of a bargain. Also, if you order before the 17th of December (from within the UK) the bundle should arrive in time for Christmas.
Even if you’re not shopping for sci-fi, do check out the full selection of books and bundles: there’s quite a range on offer!
The 25th Interactive Fiction Competition is now over, and the results are in! Girth Loinhammer and the Quest for the Unsee Elixir came 33rd in the end, which may not be a Top Ten result but I’m still pretty happy with. There were 82 entries altogether so that’s very much in the top half of the rankings, and apparently high enough to score a small cash prize and possibly some other stuff. (IFComp is pretty generous when it comes to runners-up: if you’re on the fence about submitting something in 2020, I highly recommend giving it a go.)
The range of responses from the judges is interesting: the game attracted more votes than most (I’m guessing because people saw the title, thought “Haha what?” and clicked it), and managed to snag every possible score from one to ten. It didn’t divide opinion enough to earn me the Golden Banana of Discord (which, as you can imagine, I really really would have liked to win), but clearly there were at least a few people out there with strong feelings about it, and quite a few more who got a chuckle out of it. For something I hammered together in about a week, I think that’s a pretty good response.
I’ll be aiming to produce a slightly more ambitious version of the game in the not too distant future, which I’ll hopefully make available as an actual printed gamebook. There should also be an ebook, an online version, and probably a mobile app.
Girth Loinhammer and the Quest for the Unsee Elixir got a mention in Part 2 of The Short Game‘s IFComp 2019 podcast! (That bit starts at 00:39:27 if you want to skip ahead.)
It’s great to see the game reaching people in any form – this being my first time entering IFComp, I’ve been pleasantly surprised just how many players have already given it a go – but it’s especially nice for it to be so well received!
If you haven’t yet played Unsee Elixir, this might be a nice little lead-in to it, and if you haven’t got involved in IFComp at all, it the podcast as a whole might point you towards some good ones to try. You’ve got until November 15th, you only need to rate five to be a judge for the event, and naturally it’s easier to manage that number in that time if you throw a few short ones into the mix. For an introduction to the entire event (and a few more games), do check out Part 1 of their IFComp podcast as well.
Here’s something I’ve been waiting to share for a while: the lineup of games on show at WordPlay 2019 has now been announced!
WordPlay will be running on November 9th and 10th at the Toronto Reference Library. This is the same event that featured Wolf at the Door in 2018, and I’m pleased to say that they offered me the opportunity to judge games for the shortlist this time around! If you’re anywhere nearby that weekend, do drop in: I wasn’t sent everything that was submitted, but what I did play through was exceptionally good. It was tough to whittle it down to just the top few of those, and I’ve got no doubt that what the other judges chose must be similarly excellent.
If you missed my live reading of Girth Loinhammer’s Most Exponential Adventure at EGX Rezzed this year, then good news! You’ve got another chance to catch it. I’ll be performing at the EGX Fringe Theatre at 1pm on Friday the 18th of September!
This will all be happening at ExCeL in London, and it’s my first time there. In all honesty I’m a little disappointed to see EGX move away from Birmingham, but I’m also incredibly happy to get a chance to take my work to the “big” EGX. I think it went well last time (which I assume is why they’re letting me do it all again), and if you did manage to catch it back in April then you’ll be happy to know that the odds of hearing any of the same storylines again are more than a hundred to one.
If you don’t already have a ticket for EGX, you should know that they’re now running a little low. Early entry day tickets are already gone, but you can still catch my panel with a standard Friday ticket. There are also a limited number of Super Passes left, which will get you in early all four days. If you can stick around for the whole thing, I highly recommend it: if the London version of this event is anything like the Birmingham one, there’ll be way too much to see than you have time for while it’s running, let alone in just one day.
Finally, if you’d like to come along but can’t shell out for a ticket, you might like to know that Tranzfuser is looking for abmassadors (but be quick – applications close at 5pm on the 15th of September). Not only will you get free entry, they’ll pay you £70 per day to run their stand. I don’t know for sure that you’d be able to duck out and catch Exponential Adventure, but I figure there’s at least a possibility you could make that your lunch break or something. Regardless, it sounds like a great opportunity, and I’d be applying for it myself if I weren’t already attending as an exhibitor.
If you haven’t already been following my interactive fiction, this should be a really good introduction to it. Even if you have, there’s still some new stuff including plans for a sequel to Blacklight 1995. It also touches upon Ten Little Astronauts pretty heavily, so there’s something for everyone!
That’s DISCo as in the Interdisciplinary Digital Culture and Society Conference, not Disco as in, you know…
The event will be running from the 9th to the 12th of July at the University of Nottingham’s De Vere Jubilee Conference Centre, and I’ll be there for the full four days. My workshop in particular will be running all day on Thursday the 11th.
If you’d like to see what else is going on, you can find the full range of workshops through this link. Mine requires no previous experience and will borrow a fair bit from my Twine for Beginners series of tutorials. Since we’ll have a full day available and I’ll be there in person to help with any problems, there should be an opportunity to become quite proficient with the software in just this one session.
Tickets for the event are £65 for one day, £195 for the full four, or £340 for the full four with accommodation. They’re available until the 2nd of July.
If you’re into comedy, drama, comedy-drama and/or Greek mythology, I highly recommend taking a look at OLYMPIA, which is funding on IndieGoGo right now:
I actually co-wrote an episode for this series a while back, but the project has grown in scope pretty substantially since then. I’m not sure any of my contributions will make it into its current incarnation (and in any case it wasn’t the pilot that I had a hand in) so I feel sufficiently distant from this to say that it looks like a very impressive endeavour that deserves your support if you can spare it.
OLYMPIA has just launched, so if you want to see it succeed then now’s the time to make that happen. You can be the hipster who knew about it before it was cool.
The project has a really solid team behind it, and a big part of the reason they’re looking for funding is so that they can go beyond the standard portfolio project and actually pay the people who are doing all the work, which is disappointingly rare these days. I personally can vouch for Claire Rose (who you may have seen on Yesterday’s Nazi Murder Mysteries) and Alex Carter (who filmed and edited one of my own videos). Other names are new to me, but their previous credits include titles such as Avengers: Age of Ultron, which I feel is kind of a big deal.
Long story short, I’ve chipped in for this and it would be just fantastic if you felt like helping it along too.
Ten Little Astronauts has now been published and is available for sale – no pledging, no pre-ordering – anywhere you might reasonably expect to buy books! Readers who supported Unbound’s crowdfunding campaign started getting their copies yesterday.
If you’ve got one yourself, please do share a photo – I’m putting together a Twitter moment featuring as many as I can find:
The book is available in a whole bunch of places I’ll be adding to its page on this site as I discover them, but for now your main options are:
Alternatively you should be able to quite simply walk into a bookshop and ask for it. I’m not sure how many places will stock it right off the bat like this, but any of them should be able to get a copy if you request it. This is actually one of the things that will help persuade booksellers there’s a market for the book in the first place, so seriously do consider it instead of flinging money at Jeff Bezos.
That said, though the book has been collecting reviews on Goodreads ever since it was serialised by The Pigeonhole, it wasn’t possible to leave a review on Amazon until today. If you’re one of those lucky people who got an early look – either through the Pigeonhole serial or me sending you a review copy – please do rate it on either Amazon UK or Amazon US (or whatever Amazon is local to you). I know Amazon sucks and has a terrible habit of feeding what you write directly into a digital shredder for any number of poorly defined reasons, but reviews there are one of the things that really helps an author out.
Finally, because I just can’t say it enough, thanks to everyone who helped get Ten Little Astronauts to where it is today. Whether you supported the crowdfunding campaign directly or just shared it around, this is the moment it was all leading up to. I’m looking ahead to a launch event after Christmas, and I hope to see lots of you there!