Chroma Caste coverThis was a story that has danced around the edge of my brain, and my life really, for many years. It’s my attempt to wrangle with the implications of a (quite minor) genetic condition of my own, and also with how men choose to socialise in our culture. All cultures, really.

WARNING: this one isn’t a positive future. It involves references to (but not graphic descriptions of) violence, and sexual abuse.

How long have I been wrangling with the idea? I think I first scribbled down the following note about twenty years ago:

Wade inherited his colourblindness from his grandfather, on his mother’s side. 

I was originally going to use it as a poetic metaphor for depression – with the main character never aware that he walked each day through a world that was slightly more muted, less vibrant, bluer. He was to meet a young woman, who would buy him a pair of rose-tinted glasses at a market fair, that would grant him sight of the richness, fire, and passion in the world … but inevitably his eyes would adjust to the filter of her love, and return to the duller, greyer place that he couldn’t help but live in.

That’s a good idea for a story, still. But not one that I think I’ll ever have the talent or insight to write. So enjoy this little thought experiment instead.

Chroma Caste – PDF

Chroma Caste – ePub on Lulu ($1.29)

Chroma Caste – iBookstore ($0.99)

Chroma Caste – Nook ($0.99) coming soon

 

EDIT: My story has won a place prize for this competition!

The winner was Roy Stevenson for his story “The Party Guest”
and
Zachary Chu, who wrote “Arcanum” was the other place taker – keep an eye on this kid, he’s still in primary school!

I don’t have links for their stories, but if I get supplied them, I’ll put them up.


AIvatar - a short story by Stephen Brewer
A few months ago I entered a science fiction writing competition being run by an organisation called Mondeto.

Mondeto: 2024 – a Positive Futures science fiction competition

It’s a wonderful little idea, and they are very open and relaxed about your distribution of any works you’ve submitted. They even suggested that I might like to let their readers know where they could find copies of my work, so with that permission I’m going to post it here for anyone to download and read.

AIvatar – PDF

It’s 7,700 words or so, enough to rip through during your commute, and I promise you augmented reality, kindergarten drama, and feels. Good feels.

If you just want to go through an online publisher, and get a copy sent to your machine (for the smallest fee I could arrange), then you could visit the following places:

AIvatar: on Lulu (cost $1.24)

AIvatar: Apple iBookstore (cost $0.99)

AIvatar: Barnes & Noble NOOK (cost $0.99)

I hope you all enjoy it. Let me know in the comments, below.


 

 

Self publishing a novel

January 29th, 2017

So I’ve been a busy boy.

Over about the past two and a half years, I’ve managed to write a couple of novels. Well – they’re unpublished at this stage, so I have to call them manuscripts, technically. But not for long: I’ll be self publishing

The temporary covers of my two manuscripts, Mnemnosynch and Zephyr.

(I don’t actually own copyright on either of these two images, I’ve just grabbed them to use as my temporary covers to hand around copies for my friends and family to give feedback through. Images linked to where I got them from at the bottom of the post.)

I started Mnemnosynch first (probably five or more years ago) but stalled after 20,000 words. Then around two years ago I first read the term “Solarpunk”, and realised how all the little story ideas I’d had on and off for a couple of decades fitted together. I was absolutely bitten by a bug, and hammered out Zephyr in around eight months – all 120,000 words of it. I went back to Mnemnosynch a year ago, and finished it up at around 68,000.

I’ve been editing them both, but recently spent a bunch of effort on Mnemno, and have recently handed it over to a professional editor, for a book review. I’m planning on self publishing them both this year – Mnemno first, on which I can learn all the mistakes of how not to do it, and Zephyr toward the end of the year.

Cover images:

Mnemnosynch – This is the best version of the image I can find, but alas cannot chase down any provenance for the original: http://www.armtattoos.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Drama-Masks-Tattoo.jpg
Zephyr – This one is by a Japanese artist known as Imperial Boy. His (we will assume) official website is no longer active, having been at: http://tksn.sakura.ne.jp/

I’m using them only on a temporary basis, for private circulation, and will have to have proper art sourced or done before I go to print.

But I think I might get back to putting some content up here.

Major updates from the three years that I have been silent:

  1. I now work as a UX Consultant
  2. I have started a Youtube channel with my wife: Kitty Hollywood. LOTS of content up there.
  3. I have written a novel. No seriously. It’s 120,000 words long. It’s a Solarpunk novel!
  4. I have re-visited my Simple Steampunk RPG concept, and decided to turn it into a Universal, or Omnivariant system.

That last one is probably the easiest to blog about, so I’ll focus on it for a while, I think.

Alright, so this is 5 weeks or so later, rather than every week, but I’ve been busy, alright?
Anyway, if I updated this blog too often, it would become an onerous read. And you don’t all want that, now do you?

Right, progress below:

So, Hopefully you can see some advancement there from the state of play last time.

Basically, Character Generation is done, and I have moved on to Conflict Resolution, or the Mechanics part of things.

That part is pretty simple (the whole thing meaning to be a very simple system) and I am actually finding it quit easy to write.

At the moment it seems to be about 9,000 words long. I’m aiming at about 15,000 for High-T con, and the end result will be possibly as many as 19-20,000.

SSRPG Progress indicator.

July 13th, 2012

Progress tracker, as at 13th July 2012

Progress tracker, as at 13th July 2012

Also, (in preparation for this week’s required update of work done on my game pamphlet) I have developed this nifty little visual aid for myself.

I do this kind of thing in documents at work, and while Google docs isn’t letting me update my Table of Contents with the background colours I put on my headings, I still think it is worth doing, so I can see the scope of the work ahead of me.

And as this series of posts are to allow myself and others to follow my progress, then I reckon I should post it here each week, along with my update to Australian Game Designers.

The Yellow are sections that are still to be written, and the Struck Through are sections that have been written. Pretty simple, Huh?

Also, if you look really closely, you will be able to ascertain and understand the structure of the document that I am putting together, and the topics I am covering.

Simple Steampunk RPG System

July 10th, 2012

I have been doing some more work on games recently, and having enjoyed the writing process decided to head back to my roots in gaming as well.
I am re-purposing a lot of the work I did for GENIUS! the deck-building game, and writing up an old-school tabletop RPG system, in a Steampunk milieu. Now, I know there are a lot of people doing the same thing right now, and several very good offerings out there that are similar. You can delve into some truly innovative and individual worlds that people are taking a lot of time to craft. My issue with most of them is the sheer investment of time (let alone money) that people would have to make to get a gaming session up. I feel that really large and complicated worlds are kind of hard to buy into, unless they are based on some already existing, and for commercial reasons, quite popular setting: from a book or movie, say.
So what I am proposing to do is produce a short, concise set of rules, but with no real defined setting. It is to be short, flexible, and put an emphasis on fast-moving gameplay. The idea being that anyone could pick it up, breeze through it in an afternoon, and be ready to start writing up an adventure or play a module by the evening. That way people can take all their gorgeous setting work, or their favourite Steamy comic book, and have an RPG system that they can just plug it easily into.
One of the wags over at the Brass Goggles forum has suggested that I call it “STURPS”, which is cute, but my aim is not to be everything for every setting: just Steamy enough to let people tell Steampunk stories, and lean enough not to get in the way of their idea of what a Steampunk RPG should be. Thus, Simple Steampunk RPG System.
To that end, I am calling it an RPG “Pamphlet”, like Sherlock Holmes’ essays on blood stains. A neat little thing, that will only be of interest to a narrow group of people, but who should find it quite illuminating.

Back to some writing.

December 12th, 2011

I have been wandering back to my roots recently, delving into the world of pure fiction, and getting my keyboard rattling. Two things in particular have been keeping me busy.

I have finally completed a 35,000 word story that I started over two years ago, about a couple who are dropped into a Fantasy World. That’s always been a favourite theme of mine, but till now I had never found a way to make a relevant statement with it. This time I think I have, and it feels good to have a first draft of a decent length story down.

The second thing I am working on has grown out of that first: another story that is a parable, or a metaphor of people in our world, told in a Fantasy setting. That one is looking like coming in at around 10,000 words, but I think it will need to be culled to around half that on revision.

An examination of Genres.

November 11th, 2009

I’ve started posting my own fiction work, The Genre Tunnel in episodes. Each only runs to around 10 – 15 thousand words, so can be easily ripped through in an afternoon. If you’re lucky, they’ll keep you busy for a week’s worth of morning train trips to work.

The first one, The Mystery of Huntley Manor, is available in the Prose section of the website….

Prose ahoy!

November 6th, 2009

Dear god.

Well, this website was bound to get embarassing. I have gone and  uploaded what is probably the most shameful thing that it has ever been my immense pleasure to have a hand in writing.

The Novel Experiment, by 6 Mad Bastards, is now downloadable, for your reading masochism.