Taia de Haas loves having her own virtual spaceship, and wants nothing more than to visit every planet in the solar system. But she cannot ignore the question of whether such a magnificent gift comes with strings attached. Is the game a trick, a trap, a subtle invasion? Or an opportunity to step up and fight for her own planet?
Caught in a tangle of riddles and lies, Taia can't resist trying to win answers from Ryzonart's mysterious administrators. But will finding the truth cost her the Singularity Game?
About the bookThis is a story that began life as "Snug Ship" which is a name that I liked a lot (not least because it was easy to fit on a book cover!), but didn't exactly telegraph what kind of story to expect. It wasn't until late in the development of the story that I decided to change to The Starfighter Invitation - not because I don't like the final title, but because I felt it telegraphed perhaps a little too much.
This was also a book that took me a long time to write - nearly two years - which I can only blame on 'research'. To write a story about MMOs (massively multiplayer online roleplaying games) I felt it necessary to refresh my memory of MMOs, and so I reactivated my Final Fantasy XIV account.
|Pictured is my character (Rennyn). Although there is some pointlessly revealing clothing, one of the things I really appreciate about FFXIV is the wealth of clothing options that don't involve chainmail bikinis.|
In terms of writing speed, that was a mistake. FFXIV is a beautiful game (with a lot more plot than the usual MMO), but like all MMOs it's designed to be played and played and played. There is no end, there is just a timesuck of enormous proportions. Eventually (admittedly after I'd levelled all the crafts to the current max level) I decided the only thing to do was quit cold turkey, and so I logged out one day and never logged in again (though I do intend to pick it up when the new expansion comes out around June).
The Starfighter Invitation covers something of the experience of playing an MMO, while adding true virtual reality to the mix. The experience of virtual reality is definitely a topic that opens up exploration into the self you present and the self that you feel that you are. I also spent a lot of time thinking through narrative structure, since I was building the story along the common experiences of an MMO player. I'm not sure the way I approached the structure will work for everyone, but much of it will certainly be recognisable to MMO fans.
I also spent some time getting into current gaming culture so that I wasn't using completely outdated slang, and now regularly watched Twitch and YouTube as a result. I don't stream myself, however, as my internet connection is not currently up to it.
The Singularity Game series is an ongoing one, and I'll be swapping off writing it with The Trifold Age, so next up will be Tangleways (finally!). I would very much like to get Tangleways out in late 2019, but my writing speed has definitely dropped, so I will make no guarantees.
I hope you enjoy meeting Taia (and Dio, who is one of my favourite characters ever). See you in-game.
LinksThese are the currently-available links. I will add to them as further links (including the trade paperback) become active.
- Smashwords. [50% off coupon valid until 16/12 NS98W]
- Google Play. [Note: Google Play books are always priced as more expensive for complicated price-matching reasons - I recommend waiting until Google does a deep discount.]
- Amazon US.
- Amazon UK.
- Amazon AU.
- Amazon FR.
- Amazon DE.