‘The computer game Elite was a place to escape to after school. I was in space, flying with other pilots and docking at space stations. Lave, the place you started at was just a circle on the screen.’
Fast forward thirty years and a lot has changed. Game creator, David Braben has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list for his contribution to the computer gaming industry and his science fiction classic is back with the sequel, Elite: Dangerous, a new award winning release from his company Frontier Developments and Allen Stroud’s been along for the ride.
‘I played Elite as a child, but it was pure luck that reunited me with Frontier’s new Kickstarter project in 2012. I offered to help and ended up swapping late night emails with David and Executive Producer Michael Brookes. I was able to contribute to the design, something I’d never dreamed of being able to do.’
‘I think the world has to feel believable. There are a lot of things that are part of that,’ said David Braben. Allen joined the Elite project to write and collate background material for the game, filling in aspects of the history of the Elite Universe, and drafted most of the documents on which all the authorised fiction is based.
‘It was a pretty intense process, but something from my childhood just lit a fire in me. I collated timelines, pulled together the previously published documents and expanded the history for the game factions and corporations. 6am starts before work became regular and I’d finish around 2am. I even broke the couch by sitting in one place for so long!’
The story for Elite: Lave Revolution came out of that process. An epic Big Brother meets Star Wars novel, drawing inspiration from a wide selection of science fiction greats. ‘As Elite was released in 1984, it seemed fitting to draw inspiration from George Orwell and our modern surveillance society.’ Allen explains.
As a long-standing writer of fantasy and science-fiction, Allen is well placed to produce a cracking good read and with Elite: Lave Revolution he has done just that. Initial reviewers say, ‘Hang on and enjoy the ride. And great fun ride it is! ... packed full of action, intrigue, plot, suspense … a great read … Anyone who is interested in Science fiction, and or the Elite universe on which this book is based should pick up this book and start reading it today.
‘It’s a book for the fans,’ Allen says. ‘There’s nods to the old games and history, plus some new details that will intrigue enthusiasts, but at the same time, it needed to be accessible. You don’t need to know Elite to read this story and that’s important. I want new readers too, who can get just as inspired as I am about David’s work and everything they’re doing at Frontier.’
In addition to his work behind the scenes and his beautifully crafted novel, Allen has produced original music and digital artwork for the Elite world. He also contributes to the popular podcast, Lave Radio, which covers the development of the game and regularly gets 5,000-10,000 downloads per episode. He’s also organising Lavecon on the 5/6th of July weekend at the Kettering Conference Centre in Northamptonshire, where the public can drop in and play the latest version of Elite: Dangerous and meet the authors of authorized fiction from Gollancz and Fantastic Books Publishing.
‘This work needs be out there,’ Allen continues. ‘Everything about this game and its associated fiction projects is exciting and incredible. The artists, programmers, designers, writers, everyone have been inspired by the incredible good will of the fan community around the reincarnation of this thirty year old computer game. It’s a privilege to be a part of it and I want people to give it the attention it deserves. If you do, you’ll fall in love with it all, just like I did as a child.’
Will there be any more Elite fiction from Allen? ‘I hope so,’ he says. ‘I’ve got another Fantasy book to write this year and I’m working with another gaming legend Julian Gollop, on his new project Chaos Reborn. But, I’d like to write more about Lave. There’s more to the story and characters after Elite: Lave Revolution. I’d love a crack at a sequel, but that’s up to Frontier and the fans.’
Allen is organizing Lavecon on 5/6th of July. He will also be at Fantasticon on 16th August in Hull.
LaveCon details can be found here: http://laveradio.com/
FantastiCon details can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/
About the book: Elite: Lave Revolution is available from Fantastic Books Publishing at https://www.fantasticbookspublishing.com/
About the author: Allen Stroud is a university lecturer and active academic researcher working on a PhD in the methods of fictional world building. He runs the successful BA (Hons) film and television production degree at Buckinghamshire University. He has been writing science fiction and fantasy stories since he was a young child.
About the game: The game’s founder, David Braben was honoured for his contribution to the video gaming industry. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/
For further information about Elite: Dangerous see this interview with Braben by one of Fantastic Books’ Elite authors: http://thenextweb.com/
Web : www.allenstroud.co
Dan Grubb, CEO, Fantastic Books Publishing
Tel: 01964 671997