Drew Wager is the author of ‘Elite Dangerous: Reclamation’, the first novel based on the online reboot of 80s classic computer game ‘Elite’.
When game developer Frontier selected one of Drew’s Megaship stories for the online experience, the completed work included another first: that of an actor playing one of the characters. The character is a spacer played by Jay Britton, whose ship is lost deep in the Rift. Two hundred years after the ship’s disappearance, it is found by another character, a commander played in the game by Amelia Tyler.
Drew’s readings from his novels at FantastiCon, the annual Elite Dangerous-and-all-other-things-spacey-and-fantastical-get-together in Hull, are always an event. Last year, he was backed by authorised animated excerpts and music from the game; this year, he went one even better than that.
At first, we had no idea what was going on. A steely-eyed young woman with long black hair, a dominatrix top and disconcertingly large Samurai sword wondered around the stage, occasionally chatting to a tall, authoritative young man in a white shirt. Then Drew Wagar appeared. Laptops were wrangled. The young man suddenly had a sword as well.
Around me, people were muttering, “Yeah, you’re gonna want to be here for this.” But what was ‘this’ going to be? A dance piece? An execution?
It turned out to be prep for a pitch-perfect dramatization of key scenes from the second book in the series, ‘Elite Dangerous: Premonition’, performed by the two online voice actors, Amelia Tyler and Jay Britton. That would have been interesting enough, but the piece was also punctuated by stage combat of a quality that had me worrying about blood getting on Jay’s nice white shirt, especially when he turned his back on Amelia.
“No!” I felt like shouting, “don’t turn your back on her!” Like a true member of the liberal intelligentsia, I kept quiet and hoped it would all be all right. Nobody died, but you really should have been there.
Drew’s next novel is based on another 80s computer game classic, ‘Lords of Midnight’. Needless to say, at 2018 FantastiCon I shall be expecting all said Lords in attendance, doing Something Violent.