Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: New SR Fiction Released: Novella, "Neat"
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
Pages: 1, 2
Critias
Some new Shadowrun fiction just went live, an e-novella named "Neat," which features one Jimmy Kincaid (a PI who has made appearances in the intro fic of Twilight Horizon and more recently Dirty Tricks).

You can find it on drivethru: http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/1079...adowrun%3A-Neat

Or battleshop: http://www.battlecorps.com/catalog/product...roducts_id=3066

And it should be available on Kindle and Nook before too long, if those float your boat.

So, as someone who is in no way neutral and impartial about this project (the farthest thing from it, in fact, I've been violently biting my tongue for quite a while), you guys should totally go buy it. And tell your friends about it, and tell them to buy it. And buy extras to give to people as gifts!
Halinn
QUOTE (Critias @ Nov 11 2012, 07:45 AM) *
And buy extras to give to people as gifts!

And extras to keep around just in case something happens to the primary, I take it? wink.gif
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Halinn @ Nov 11 2012, 04:55 AM) *
And extras to keep around just in case something happens to the primary, I take it? wink.gif


Well, that only makes sense. smile.gif
Prime Mover
Bought it but can't get either format to open on good reader app.
Prime Mover
Had to reinstall iBooks. Seems to work in that.
Critias
QUOTE (Prime Mover @ Nov 11 2012, 02:12 PM) *
Had to reinstall iBooks. Seems to work in that.

Glad it's worked out for you -- I'm way outta the loop on the technical side of things (I had to download an epub reader, myself, to do my final proof). Hopefully you enjoy it now that you jumped through the hoops to read it! wink.gif
Halinn
QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Nov 11 2012, 04:35 PM) *
Well, that only makes sense. smile.gif

What I really need is for CanRay to weigh in if I should purchase this instead of another copy of Safehouses.

Critias, I'd probably get it if it was printed or an audiobook, but I quite dislike reading e-books.
Patrick Goodman
QUOTE (Halinn @ Nov 11 2012, 06:18 PM) *
Critias, I'd probably get it if it was printed or an audiobook, but I quite dislike reading e-books.

That's your loss, Halinn. I'm about halfway through and am enjoying it thoroughly....
Halinn
QUOTE (Patrick Goodman @ Nov 13 2012, 06:13 PM) *
That's your loss, Halinn. I'm about halfway through and am enjoying it thoroughly....

I like my books the way some people like their cyberpunk. Stuck using technology from decades ago.

At some point, the day will probably come when I cave in and get an e-book reader, but it is not this day! This day we fight!!
Critias
QUOTE (Halinn @ Nov 13 2012, 02:12 PM) *
I like my books the way some people like their cyberpunk. Stuck using technology from decades ago.

At some point, the day will probably come when I cave in and get an e-book reader, but it is not this day! This day we fight!!

On the off chance you change your mind and decide to give the story a shot, there are several ways you can open e-book files (ePub, etc) on various web browsers. Amazon offers a download, even. So you could read it, hypothetically, just as easily as you browse forums and read the text there (no need to buy an actual e-reader as a separate device).

If it's not your cup of tea, it's not your cup of tea. But I know I, personally, would love for more people to read the book, so if you decide you've got $3 burning a hole in your pocket and want to check it out, I'd be thrilled. So far reviews have been great and sales have me smiling, but the better it does, the better everyone's odds of getting more new fiction, and (by the way) of maybe getting some of this fiction printed up, someday.
hermit
Wow. Is this ... a novel? A Shadowrun novel? How many pages does it have? Will there be more like it? Will there be print?
Critias
QUOTE (hermit @ Nov 13 2012, 02:48 PM) *
Wow. Is this ... a novel? A Shadowrun novel?

Novella, actually. Trust me, I would've loved to have gone longer, but you write what the boss tells ya to write. wink.gif But yes, it's very much Shadowrun. Elves, ally spirits, headware commlinks, Knight Errant, Yakuza, Mafia, orks, all that good stuff! There's even a special guest star that makes an appearance, straight outta Jackpoint.
QUOTE
How many pages does it have?

It's my understanding that it can change from e-book reader to e-book reader (depending on personal settings, etc), but on mine it clocks in at just about 100 pages.
QUOTE
Will there be more like it?

That's outta my hands. Last I heard there are plans for more, yes, but I dunno the details. For what it's worth, I'm certainly lobbying to get to write more Kincaid stuff (and have a second one just about done in my head, I just need an excuse to sit down and type it up).
QUOTE
Will there be print?

See above (no one knows yet). If I was to guess, I'd say that maybe if it sells well, and more of them get published, there's the possibility of them maybe being bundled together in dead-tree format someday (but that's, honestly and totally, just me guessing, nothing in any way official).
Marwynn
Well, for those that like it in DTF (dead tree format) you can buy the ePub, convert it to a PDF and take it to a Staples or whatever and print it out. It'll cost more, and you can pay more to get it bounded. But as long as you don't sell the thing it should be safe.

I did this for some old BattleCorps stories, hated their format.
Grinder
Why did you have to name him Kincaid? Every time I'm reading the name, I'm thinking of Dresden Files. wobble.gif
Critias
QUOTE (Grinder @ Nov 13 2012, 06:15 PM) *
Why did you have to name him Kincaid? Every time I'm reading the name, I'm thinking of Dresden Files. wobble.gif

My wife pointed that out to me, but not until after I'd submitted my draft (and got to liking the name), quite a long time ago. To be honest, all I know about the Dresden Files is from a few sessions of the RPG (we didn't get too far into it, and as far as I know never interacted with any 'canon' characters). Everyone I know shouts at me that I need to read up on the series, but I've just never gotten around to it.
Halinn
QUOTE (Critias @ Nov 13 2012, 11:56 PM) *
My wife pointed that out to me, but not until after I'd submitted my draft (and got to liking the name), quite a long time ago. To be honest, all I know about the Dresden Files is from a few sessions of the RPG (we didn't get too far into it, and as far as I know never interacted with any 'canon' characters). Everyone I know shouts at me that I need to read up on the series, but I've just never gotten around to it.

It's a good read. The first and second books aren't as well-written as the later ones, but they're still good, and a lot of important stuff later in the series is established in them.
Grinder
Go and red the books then! read.gif
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Halinn @ Nov 13 2012, 04:21 PM) *
It's a good read. The first and second books aren't as well-written as the later ones, but they're still good, and a lot of important stuff later in the series is established in them.


The First and Second books are where the character is really established, though. Yes, they are all awesome books. smile.gif
Critias
QUOTE (Grinder @ Nov 13 2012, 06:15 PM) *
Why did you have to name him Kincaid? Every time I'm reading the name, I'm thinking of Dresden Files. wobble.gif

So aside from Kincaid's name, have you got any thoughts on it? Hopefully you enjoyed the read, except for the name commonality?
Aria
Just finished it and really enjoyed it, thanks! Emminently digestable at that size reading it on my phone smile.gif
Critias
QUOTE (Aria @ Nov 19 2012, 09:38 AM) *
Just finished it and really enjoyed it, thanks! Emminently digestable at that size reading it on my phone smile.gif

Awesome, I'm glad you liked it! If you've got a sec, please feel free to drop a review/rating at whatever e-shop you got it from -- every little piece of feedback helps!
bannockburn
Thoroughly enjoyed it, thanks. smile.gif
This is SR as I've played and GMed for years now and reading it felt like coming home smile.gif
Vegetaman
Oh crap, just found out this was out today. Finally some new SR fiction. (I wish it was in .pdf format for those of us without e-readers, but we can make do)

Hopefully we'll still be getting some more -PRINT- novels somewhere down the line; but this is still fantastic!
CanRay
EPUB can be read with Firefox using an add-on, so it's "Web Browser" capable if you finagle around a bit.

I'm slowly working my way through it. Hit me at a strange time in my head.

...

Yes, stranger than usual.
Critias
QUOTE (Vegetaman @ Nov 30 2012, 08:44 PM) *
Oh crap, just found out this was out today. Finally some new SR fiction. (I wish it was in .pdf format for those of us without e-readers, but we can make do)

Spread the word, every little bit helps! The more folks hear about it, the better. Make sure to tell your gamer buddies, holler on forums, all that fun stuff. It's appreciated!

And I'm glad you enjoyed it (and you, too, Bannockburn). The feedback's just been fantastic so far, reviews have been great, and I've been thrilled with the whole thing. Hopefully it'll continue to do well, folks'll keep on diggin' it, all that good stuff.
hermit
Very nice. I'm a sucker for Hard-Boiled Gumshoe stories myself, so this was right up my alley. 2XS was what got me really fired up for Shadowrun as a world, and I'm happy to see this feel (and the Paranormal PI) back in the game. Hope to see more of this. It was a good read, best I've had in Shadowrun fiction - new, that is - in quite some time.

I'll second Bannockburn here - it was like coming home.
Critias
Awesome, Hermit. I can't think of a fan response much better than that, thanks man.
apple
After reading it: Neat is indeed quite nice for a short story. I think I would like to read more about Jimmy Fucking Kincaid and his hot sidekick chick. wink.gif

SYL
Critias
E-gads!

I somehow managed to not spam you guys with this link, a few weeks ago (how?!). The Critical Glitch podcast guys had me as a special guest star on a recent interview, chatting about Neat (among other things, but mostly Neat and my gaming experiences). So if you've got some time to kill over the holidays, go check it out! Post comments, ask questions, do whatever.

I seriously can't believe I never posted this.

And -- as a reminder, as I just wrapped up a lengthy PM to someone -- please don't hesitate to ask me questions or share thoughts or whatever, if you've got the inclination to do so. I really dig the characters involved, I look forward to (hopefully) getting to write more Kincaid in the future, and I don't mind jabbering about him to anyone who's got questions in mind.
Remnar
I'm about half way through the novella and I have to say its been very well worth the read. I love the characters and style, please please please write more.

JesterZero
I realize that this is an older thread, but it seemed like the place to comment/give feedback (rather than creating a new one), so here goes.

I held off picking this up for months for a variety of reasons. I'm busy. I'm not a huge fan of ebooks. The recent Shadowrun sourcebooks haven't thrilled me. The (relatively) recent Shadowrun fiction really hasn't thrilled me. It's cheap but the value seemed suspect ($3...for ~67 pages; at that price per page, a 250 page novel would run me over $11). Etc., etc. All that to say that I wasn't optimistic about this when I finally did get around to picking it up.

That being said, let me be clear: this is the best stand-alone Shadowrun fiction that I've seen in years.

The Good:
  • The author clearly knows the universe. Unlike some of the other stories out there, you won't find any magical or technological macguffins that drive the story at the expense of the setting. The writer is clearly "one of us" in the sense that he is deeply invested in the Shadowrun universe, as opposed to having skimmed a setting guide with the intention of collecting a paycheck. When I finished reading it, my first reaction was that I wanted to play that story as an adventure.
  • The author clearly loves the universe. The sense that the author had fun writing this is palpable throughout the book. I already mentioned that the author's demonstrated knowledge goes well beyond the norm, but his enthusiasm for the setting actually comes through in his writing. In some respects, this is like a love letter to the setting itself. Except...you know...by someone competent.
  • The story is actually "mainstream" Shadowrun. Yes, I realize this will vary according to taste and experience, but this is a tale that's actually grounded between "street level" and "elite shadowrunner," and as a result we get a lovely look at the dystopia we all know and love. A fewer higher-level folk get honorable mentions or wander through the background like a Hitchcock cameo, but the story itself if gloriously mainstream as opposed to relying on fringe plotpoints.
  • The writing quality is actually good. Seriously. I didn't get derailed by any obvious grammatical or typographical issues. It's better than the other ebooks I've seen, and (I don't say this to be mean), it's better than some of the Catalyst stuff that was coming out for a while there. That's actually intended as a compliment; this book comes across as an example of the line offerings getting better. That's encouraging.
  • The story itself is actually good. I already mentioned that I wanted to play the thing. But beyond that it's actually structured well. The structure isn't particularly fancy, and it's clearly intended to be derivative of classic noir, but it's done well. Really well.

At the end of the day, I vote with my wallet, so let me just put it this way: at this price point and quality, I would buy as many of these as the author cares to produce. So yeah...two thumbs up, five stars, A+, whatever metric you want to use, this pegs the needle at the high end.

And now I'm going to pick on it a tiny bit, so please keep in mind that the previous paragraphs.

The "Bad" (such as it is):
  • The ending felt a tad rushed. Maybe I should have italicized "felt" or something, because I honestly think this is a side effect of the structure rather than poor pacing decisions on the part of the author. Without spoiling anything, the first 90% of the book is basically "show," and the last 10% is basically "tell." This means that the reader-as-observer winds up having this slightly disconcerting sense of "while you were out..." as the story wraps up. Now, (again, without spoiling anything), the author mitigates against this with a wonderful little bit of narrative slight-of-hand at the very end to keep the reader off balance and give you one final thrill. And maybe I'm just being unreasonably picky since there's precious little to criticize. It's also possible I'm just cranky because the story had to end. But as I thought back on it, it was the only aspect of the experience (which is admittedly subjective), that wasn't over-the-moon positive.
  • This isn't really a "bad" point so much as a transparent attempt at getting more from the author...but since Mr. Zimmerman has such familiarity with the game/setting, and since he has such love for the characters, and since he's already demonstrated a willingness to use his signature to give us little "extras"...why not put out stat blocks and/or write-ups for some of these characters? I'd be surprised if he didn't have notes and the like floating around, and I just want a little bit more...just a taste... *winks*

This is too long, so let me wrap it up with my own abrupt ending and one last endorsement. My opinion of what constitutes the high-water mark for Shadowrun fiction is the writing of the late Nigel Findley. I'm not willing to say that this story was better...but it's absolutely in the ballpark.
bannockburn
Thanks for putting some of my thoughts in such eloquent words smile.gif
I haven't had the time to write a proper review here or on Amazon, but some of this is very close to what I have thought while reading the novella.

Had to chuckle a bit at your quip about the pricing, though smile.gif
A 250 page novel at 11$? Yes please, I'll take it! That would be cheaper than what I pay for much shorter books here in Germany, fixed book prices what they are.
Personally, I see books or pdf releases in the SR line that run under 10$ as being in the impulse buy range. Meaning: I don't calculate how much a book would cost if it had so and so pages, but I rather think about "Can I afford it at the moment? Do I want it?" and then just buy it, if both answers are yes. That's micro-transaction territory, and it doesn't only work in MMOs.

And in this particular case, the price was a steal. I actually re-read it last week smile.gif
Critias
Awesome, Jester, and I appreciate the review (and the minor thread-bump). I'm glad you enjoyed it, and it's always nice to get specific feedback. As awesome as it is to get folks just giving me a thumbs up or a five-star review, any time folks can really let me know what they liked (or didn't like!) in particular, it's great to hear. Really, though, it's always just cool when someone's enjoyed a pet project of mine. Kincaid's fun to write, and if folks are having fun riding along with him for a few days, I'm happy.

While there's nothing written down any where, I very much do have a fairly solid statline in mind for Mr. Jimmy Kincaid, Paranormal Investigator. I mostly use it (and the earmarks I've got for Skip, and Trace, and Ariana) to keep myself in check, as much as anything else, though. I've got a rough idea of what these folks can and can't do, what they are and aren't good at, and -- always, always -- buzzing in the back of my head what the universe does and doesn't let happen. You'll never see Kincaid cast a teleport spell or Ariana tear apart a Great Dragon or something. There are things Kincaid'll do that might require a surprise round or an Edge expenditure (or both), or even just an above-average roll instead of a terrible one...but I always try to keep the SR physics and numbers in mind, at least a little bit.

Part of what's kept me from setting anything in stone was that I knew SR5 was coming. The thing that's kept me from showing them anywhere, even with a "rough draft" disclaimer, though, is that I'd hoped to tell a few more stories, and have a few more in-universe reveals, before a couple of his nitty-gritty details get "spoiled" by me sharing stats instead of telling stories.

We'll see what the next year or so brings, though. I'm all NDAed up so details are a no-no, but let's just say...I know who's writing some of the upcoming novels, and I know what some of 'em are gonna be about. wink.gif
bannockburn
QUOTE (Critias @ Apr 22 2013, 11:23 PM) *
I'm all NDAed up so details are a no-no, but let's just say...I know who's writing some of the upcoming novels, and I know what some of 'em are gonna be about. wink.gif

Such a tease!
GIEF! NAU! wink.gif
JesterZero
QUOTE (bannockburn @ Apr 22 2013, 12:33 PM) *
Had to chuckle a bit at your quip about the pricing, though smile.gif A 250 page novel at 11$? Yes please, I'll take it! That would be cheaper than what I pay for much shorter books here in Germany, fixed book prices what they are. Personally, I see books or pdf releases in the SR line that run under 10$ as being in the impulse buy range.

That sounds awful, and you have my sympathy. My budget only allows for a little over a dollar a day to go towards books, and if I can't turn that into 12-15 books I feel like I'm losing. There are a few...precious few...books that I'm willing to treat myself with (and therefore pay something close to cover price), but for the most part the name of the game is library sales, used books stores, swap rings, etc. So in my head, Neat had to be at least as good as one known-to-be-good used book, or 2-3 lets-take-a-chance novels. I'm happy to say it was.

QUOTE (Critias)
Part of what's kept me from setting anything in stone was that I knew SR5 was coming. The thing that's kept me from showing them anywhere, even with a "rough draft" disclaimer, though, is that I'd hoped to tell a few more stories, and have a few more in-universe reveals, before a couple of his nitty-gritty details get "spoiled" by me sharing stats instead of telling stories.

I can both appreciate and respect that. One way to possibly do both would be to release bios/blocks that are blatantly reader-subjective...something along the lines of "as of the story Neat, Jimmy Kincaid appears to have the following capabilities." You can then revise it accordingly for Neater, Neatest, Bride of Neat, and Neat: The Final Neatening. Or not, as I'm sure you have a life to live as well.

Again, congratulations on a truly excellent novella.
bannockburn
QUOTE (JesterZero @ Apr 23 2013, 01:14 AM) *
That sounds awful, and you have my sympathy. My budget only allows for a little over a dollar a day to go towards books, and if I can't turn that into 12-15 books I feel like I'm losing. There are a few...precious few...books that I'm willing to treat myself with (and therefore pay something close to cover price), but for the most part the name of the game is library sales, used books stores, swap rings, etc. So in my head, Neat had to be at least as good as one known-to-be-good used book, or 2-3 lets-take-a-chance novels. I'm happy to say it was.


That sounds awful in a different way to me (no offense meant) smile.gif
A full novel here runs at between 8 and 16. Taking the Game of Thrones books as an example, each of these are split up into two books each in the translation. Besides me being unwilling to wait for the translation and the lack of quality in some of those, there was also a monetary reason, why I've decided to buy them in English wink.gif
Even an English hardback is just a bit more expensive than a single paperback here.
I put aside funds for books as much as I'm able to, and lately I've delved into eBooks for that very reason. There is the missing haptic element and they don't smell as nice (or at all, for that matter), but at least they're way cheaper. But still, I go with dead trees as often as I can afford, although I've gotten increasingly selective about that.
On the other hand, I would NEVER, EVER sell or lend a book anymore. So swap rings are right out for me, but I do appreciate a nice library sale.
I do need a new copy of LotR at some point in the near future. My current one is older than me and ... it's not pretty. I guess, I'll splurge a bit there smile.gif


Sorry for the excursion, but it had to be done! wink.gif
Freya
I know I'm fairly late to this party, having only just read Neat, but I figured I would put my two cents in. Since I mentioned it to Crit while we were discussing something else, I'll copy/paste what I said in PM here:

QUOTE
Most of all, everything just makes so much sense. I know that's kind of a weird way to compliment a piece of fiction, especially in a setting as fantastic and mysterious as Shadowrun, but all the elements of the story fitting together so seamlessly does wonders for immersion. Being able to walk through Kincaid's train of thought with him as he pieces the case together makes the difference between feeling like a member of an audience and feeling like a participant in the story.


Overall, I agree with what's been said here already; the quality of the writing is excellent, both in terms of mechanics and narrative. The story focused on taking what it wanted to do (the tried-and-true noir detective formula with a Shadowrun twist) and doing it well, instead of getting caught up and tripping over its own complexities. The banter between the characters reads like a natural conversation. The setting feels realistic on a "classic Shadowrun" level, in the sense that I can easily imagine this plot being played as an adventure in a Shadowrun campaign. (As others have stated, I would love to play it myself!)

I sort of agree with Jester's point about the ending feeling a little rushed, but I think that was more a function of the format than the narrative itself; there's only so much you can space things out in seventy-ish pages while maintaining that level of complexity, and if it was dumbed down too much it wouldn't have been as immersive a read. I also think it's worth noting that the signs pointing to the way the story was concluded are there, they were just small details that were easy to skim past if you weren't reading things too closely. (It was only after going through the story a second time that I picked up on some of them.)

So, yeah. tl;dr: I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more of this in the future. biggrin.gif
Cobalt Blue
I know the thread is a bit old, but I just bought "Neat" last night for my Kindle and read it in one go.

That was an amazing Shadowrun story, just how I envision my SR. Very enjoyable! I want to know more about every character that appears in the story, something almost never happened with any published SR novel before (and I read all of them, apart from a few german ones)

I want more smile.gif
Critias
I AM SUMMO--*cough, hack*. Ahem. Sorry. I am summoned!

Awesome to hear it, Cobalt. I'm always psyched when folks enjoy the book, and getting feedback like "I want to know more about every character" is especially cool, because I've had fun fleshing 'em out (in my head) since release, constantly killing time with backstories, and that sort of fun stuff (even though so much of it will never come into play or matter).
Cobalt Blue
Is there a chance that all this time killing with backstories will result in further stories that feature the cast of "Neat"? smile.gif My kindle is starving for some good SR food...
CanRay
This book is just how I like my whisky. biggrin.gif
Critias
QUOTE (Cobalt Blue @ Oct 21 2013, 11:15 PM) *
Is there a chance that all this time killing with backstories will result in further stories that feature the cast of "Neat"? smile.gif My kindle is starving for some good SR food...

I am writing things. Other than that, NDA's keep me from giving many details about upcoming products, sorry.
Mach_Ten
QUOTE (Critias @ Oct 23 2013, 04:56 PM) *
I am writing things. Other than that, NDA's keep me from giving many details about upcoming products, sorry.

This guy ! biggrin.gif He teases us like a hooker with a brass band in her drawers !
Critias
QUOTE (Mach_Ten @ Oct 23 2013, 10:08 AM) *
This guy ! biggrin.gif He teases us like a hooker with a brass band in her drawers !

Hell, y'all know me. I'd be shouting every detail from the rooftops and releasing half-chapters as bait if I could, I just can't. Rassin' frassin' grown-up contracts an' stuff.
Freya
Since I was gushing about it to a friend the other day, the entire scene at Sunny Salvo's is one of my favourite things to read, ever.

Edit: Obligatory MOAR
Cobalt Blue
QUOTE (Critias @ Oct 23 2013, 03:56 PM) *
I am writing things. Other than that, NDA's keep me from giving many details about upcoming products, sorry.



These pesky NDAs haunt me from my day job into the escape of my day job it seems....But good to know you writing things smile.gif



Backgammon
<Plug> Don't forget to check out the Enhanced Fiction line of stories! Another Rainy Night from Patrick Goodman! A follow-up sequel to be released "soon"! The Vladivostok Gauntlet! Buy yours today! </Plug>
Patrick Goodman
Yes, Sail Away Sweet Sister has been turned in and is in the editorial process, as I understand it. Thanks for plugging Another Rainy Night, Olivier!

EDIT: Man, one of us needs to choose a different icon....
Backgammon
Haha I think I'm due, I'll pick a new icon smile.gif
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Backgammon @ Oct 24 2013, 10:03 AM) *
Haha I think I'm due, I'll pick a new icon smile.gif


Yikes... Very Distrubing Icon... what is it?
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012