Fantastic Books recently released the first of their Elite novels Elite: Mostly Harmless by BBC TV presenter, Kate Russell. Drew’s novel is the second off the launch pad. ‘Our first Elite novel was trending on the news streams within a week,’ says Fantastic Books CEO Dan Grubb. ‘And we’re expecting Drew’s novel to follow suit. It’s a great book already gathering stunning reviews.’
In fact, it was Drew’s book that first tempted Fantastic Books into the Elite world. 'Elite: Reclamation was the first of the Elite series that we signed up,’ says Dan. ‘I already knew Drew from his contribution to our anthology, Fusion, so I knew he could write good science-fiction. We signed him on the basis of a synopsis and a few sample chapters, which is unusual, but I never had any doubts. His book is a winner. It's an excellent read and a gripping story.'
All the authorised fiction must be set in the Elite universe and must adhere to specific rules. I wonder if this is a difficult restriction for an author. Drew says not. He has been an avid adherent of the game since it first came out in the 1980s. 'Elite changed the landscape of computer gaming,' he says. 'From the standard three lives and you're out, the game opened up a whole universe in which you could play for years. And although Elite: Reclamation had to be set within the world of the game, I was allowed to create my own star system and I did just that.'
Astronomer Drew created the Prism System, a star system that could actually exist. He says, 'I work hard to make my writing as scientifically accurate as I can.' Does this put restrictions on his imagination when he's writing in what is after all a fantasy world? Drew shakes his head. 'No, this is fiction. The story comes first. But it's important that it's credible, that the reader can believe in it, or the story won't grip them.'
It looks like Drew got the right balance. Not only do initial reviews of Elite: Reclamation heap praise on the book calling it ‘an absolute belter of a space opera’ and ‘a rip roaring space adventure’ but one review explicitly praises ‘the attention it gives to being real.’
Having built his own star system, where does Drew go from here? It turns out he’s staying with the stars but leaving fantasy behind. His next project will be built from real bricks and mortar. He is currently raising funds for a planetarium and observatory in his home town.
Drew will be appearing at Fantasticon in August in Hull where Fantastic Books Publishing will be holding a fantasy and sci-fi extravaganza featuring celebrities from the worlds of Elite, Star Wars and Dr Who. Included will be an official launch party for Drew, Kate and all their authorised Elite fiction authors. https://www.facebook.com/
About the book: Elite: Reclamation is available from Fantastic Books Publishing at https://www.fantasticbookspublishing.com/
About the author: Drew Wagar is a British science fiction and fantasy author. He is a founder member of the Ashford Astronomical Society. http://www.drewwagar.com/
About the game: Further information about Elite: Dangerous can be found in this interview with the game’s creator, David Braben: http://thenextweb.com/