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'Other Suns' update Niall Shapero


Ethereal

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I recently had an email conversation with Niall Shapero in regards to how he is doing and on his game 'Other Suns' and the novels he has worked on. I asked his permission to post some of that here. I have deleted out my comments and a few of his more personal comments about himself:

 

Original message from 2009.

NIALL SHAPERO
If you're wondering why I haven't published the second edition, the answer is simple:  the first publisher I lined up flaked out.  And I had to re-enter the text, manually, to get it into Word format.  That's been done, but I have stalled on reformatting and cleaning it up for publication (seeking a new publisher, basically) because the market just isn't there right now for non-hack&slash games.  Also, there isn't that much money to be made (sorry about that) in self-publishing.  If my co-author and I can sell one of our novels (we've written several, and continue to work on new projects) we can expect between 10k and 20k in advances on royalties (followed by a 10% of retail price royalty or thereabouts on copies sold, after the advance is made back).  Compare this to $1500 or so if you are lucky in a one-time payment from most publishers (who then require that you sign a "work for hire" agreement, so there are NO royalties thereafter), you see the tradeoff.
Writing a novel can be about the same amount of time spent as reworking, researching and updating an RPG like OTHER SUNS (I'd have to add considerably to the computer/nethacking side to release it now, as well as adding artillery, ground attack, and modern warfare updates for the miniatures types) but the potential payoff is much higher (yes, I know, it comes down to dollars and cents -- but, in tough times like these, doesn't just about every business enterprise end up the same?)
I still run games, and enjoy running in other people's games, but that's PLEASURE.  Writing a game (or a novel) is a lot of hard work.  And with limited amounts of free time, I have to allocate what I have to what brings me the most returns (either in cold hard cash or in enjoyment factor).  I don't have writer's block, THANK GOODNESS.  I just did a word count on one set of works (more than one novel that my co-author and I have written) and the total word count was over two million words and still going strong.
If you were in the Los Angeles area, or in the San Francisco bay area, I'd suggest you drop in for one of our games (I drive up to the SF Bay area from time to time in order to run games with people there -- it is, after all "only" a six hour drive :-)).
 

Dear------

Wed, Aug 25 at 3:01 PM

 

I'm afraid that I'm not all that much closer to a 2nd Edition OTHER SUNS than I was in 2009.  I've since seen a good deal more about exoplanets, and concluded that I need to complete rework the star system generation scheme.  I've also reworked the "past history" of the campaign environment, replacing the original timeline with the timeline used in the CHINESE CURSE series of novels (the first two of which have been published).

What is the result?  Well, with a significant rework of the "past history", the campaign era has been moved closer to "now".  The CHINESE CURSE novels start in 2093, and the "opening moves" of the campaign are now set in the early 22nd century.  In addition, the Earthclan nations have created biological uplifts ("aliens among us") by the mid-21st century, and players will be able to run PCs from any of the thirty-odd uplifted species (varying from uplifted wolves, cats and foxes, to more obscure species, like ferrets, raccoons and skunks).  Or, the players can run humans (and thereby dodge all the social problems involved in running what are still considered to be "second class citizens" or worse, depending up which country they're from).

If you're interested, RED SKIES, the first of the Chinese Curse novels is a police procedural set in 2093-2094 in Los Angeles.  INTERESTING TIMES is set in 2094 and is more of a techno-thriller.  RED STREETS (which I'm in the process of rewriting currently) is more of a "military SF" novel, as is HIGH GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS (which I will begin work on once RED STREETS is finished and off to the publisher.  ALL OF YOUR DREAMS is something of a courtroom drama, and finished up the bulk of the plot lines started in the earlier books, and is currently in "rough draft" stage.

RED STREETS was published in 2019, INTERESTING TIMES was published last March (the Publisher, Jarlidium Press, was put into "hibernation" when Seattle shut down, as the company was deemed "non-essential business" during the worst period of the pandemic so far).  If you're interested, I've included links (below) to the two currently available novels and a review of the first novel by Leslie Fish (an SF novelist herself, as well as being a fairly well known "filker").

https://store.jarlidium.com/products/red-skies-the-chinese-curse-book-1
https://store.jarlidium.com/products/interesting-times-the-chinese-curse-book-2
http://lesliebard.blogspot.com/2019/10/book-review-red-skies-cole-and-shapero.html

Given that the last time you wrote to me was almost twelve and a half years ago, you are hardly in danger of bothering me,  If you buy the books, they'll add to the background material that should end up in the game, and you'll understand a bit more about how to play an "uplift", should the 2nd edition get out any time "Real Soon Now". If you like the novels, do tell the publisher.  If you want to see more work from G. S. Cole & N. C. Shapero (me), then let the publisher know -- it will likely improve the chance of further novels being published.  Also, if you suggest eBook format be provided, the publisher may be willing to get back to us and contract for eBook rights...

I don't have a blog or a website (yes, I know that I SHOULD have a personal website at the very least, as a budding SF author, but amidst all the other tasks, I just haven't quite gotten around to it).  I can be found on Facebook (as "Niall Shapero") and on Twitter (as "@NiallShapero") to see what I'm up to (or just what my random thoughts of the day are.

Sincerely,

Niall Shapero

P.S. You may want to send your next e-mail a little bit sooner than 12 years from now, as (in the interim) any number of things could happen...)

(Sorry I had to leave that comment in. it's true, but humoress.)
 
Message from Aug 25, 2021:
Wed, Aug 25 at 6:02 PM

By all means, do please post to BRP Central.  The more people that are interested in the game, the more likely I will be able to sell the idea of a second edition to a TTRPG publisher.

Sorry to hear that your health is not all that you might want it to be.  Of late, I've been seeing far too many of my old cronies crossing the rainbow bridge (Steve Perrin, a friend of mine from the 70s, and a gaming buddy when I was back in Berkeley, died suddenly this month -- he who wrote much of RUNEQUEST, and was responsible for much of WORLDS OF WONDER as well, not to mention the first edition of BRP).

If you like the two novels, do write an honest review on Amazon, and tell the publisher that you like the novels (the more positive word HE gets, the more likely that I will be able to sell more novels to him).

Cheers,

Niall Shapero

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TYVM!

Did you mention to him Chaosium's new Open License for BRP rule-sets?
And the possibility of a "Fan Content" release via DTRPG, when/if Chaosium produces such a thing?

There's also Kabouter Games' "Toxandria" RPG...

Last but not least:  it may be worth his pitching the game to Chaosium directly...

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On 8/25/2021 at 7:20 PM, Ethereal said:

If you like the two novels, do write an honest review on Amazon, and tell the publisher that you like the novels (the more positive word HE gets, the more likely that I will be able to sell more novels to him).

I have purchased the Novels. I won't give a critique on it, but maybe a little more about the stories. If I like the books, I will probably send a message to the publisher.

 

g33k I will pass along your message. Gives me an excuse for not waiting 12 years to contact him again. 🤪

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