Elite Guru set to Burn the Midnight Oil
June 21, 2016
Drew Wagar, author acclaimed for his Elite: Dangerous tie-in novel, Reclamation, has been snapped up by another of the big gaming communities. The Lords of Midnight is very different from Elite: Dangerous but it has some key similarities too. Both games were born into the 8-bit, single-figure MHz technological world of the 1980s, and were crafted by inspirational creators who saw beyond the confines of the technology.
The late Mike Singleton, creator of the Lords of Midnight, squeezed the last drop from the technology of the time, wowing his players with amazing feats of 3D projection, but his real genius was to build his game world of a magical frozen landscape on a background of richly developed lore, and then to give his game players strategic and sophisticated contexts in which to play. It was a winning formula from the off.
The Lords of Midnight is not just a popular retro game, it has been brought up to date by techno wizard and long-time game fan Chris Wild, who has worked with the Singleton family to give 21st century fans the game on their modern phones and tablets, enhancing the magic that Singleton wove into the original with the advanced technological capabilities of today's devices.
From the start, Singleton's world of the Lords of Midnight has been compared to Tolkien's worlds with their elaborate history, traditions and folklore. So the latest step is no surprise. As Wild says, "The obvious next step is an epic novel. I have worked closely with the Singleton family to do justice to Mike's original vision and we were all delighted to come to an agreement with Drew to author the book."
Wagar's publisher, Dan Grubb of Fantastic Books Publishing, agrees. "Drew is the perfect author for this project," he says. "He has gone from strength to strength with his Elite tie-in followed by his Shadeward saga. He is never hidebound by the phony boundaries of genre and never shoehorns his fiction to fit the make-believe pens and stockades sometimes pedalled by wannabe academics as the only way to craft a novel. As a result he writes damned good books and has the fan base to prove it."
Having read the first of Wagar's Shadeward saga and had a sneak preview of the second, I take the point. The books have a wonderful fantasy feel. Wagar is now going places with his own fiction, so I wonder what made him return to another 'book of the game'?
"It's true that there are more constrictions when writing within a world that someone else has created," he says, "and I wouldn't touch a badly constructed universe. For me, the background has to be compelling. But the Lords of Midnight, like Elite: Dangerous, is something special. Mike Singleton ripped up the rule book when he wrote it in 1984. Not only did he do some incredible things with that early 8-bit technology, he had the vision to follow in the footsteps of the great storytellers. There is no penance to writing within the world of the Lords of Midnight."
"There are good reasons for the comparisons to Tolkien," agrees Dan. "The Lords of Midnight stepped away from the omniscient viewpoint standard at the time. As a game player all of a sudden you weren't an all-seeing deity. You saw what your characters could see - no more, no less. It made a huge positive difference to the experience of playing the game. However, this is no Lord of the Rings. This is a very different animal and I'm very excited."
Do we know when the book will hit the shelves? "No dates as yet," says Dan, "but you can watch the process unfold on Drew's website. He is the most meticulous planner I have ever met. He schedules every stage of the writing process and he sticks to his schedule like glue."
The critics are pretty much unanimous. Wagar's style is accessible and his prose gripping. And I can attest that each book he writes is better than the one before. All the signs are that this one is going to be a real blockbuster.
Drew Wagar: www.drewwagar.com
The Lords of Midnight: www.thelordsofmidnight.com
Fantastic Books Publishing: http://www.fantasticbooksstore.com
Dan Grubb, Fantastic Books Publishing: email fbp-publicity@
Fantastic Books Publishing