Here's a bit of information about the titles that will be rotated through the $7 reward tier on a monthly basis.
JANUARY: James Flamestar and the Stargazers (2014 - 74 pages)
"I figured we play the music, we change the world. Just like old times..."
Imagine, if you will, a world in which music is outlawed, and musicians are hunted and executed. A world in which the innocents living in the Five Capitals are held hostage by the tyranny of the Silver Empire. The Empire is too powerful - no one dares stand against them, and there's no passion left anywhere to inspire better things... Until now.
With an all-star cast, including one of the biggest bands in the history of the Empire, James Flamestar and the Stargazers is a miniseries you won't want to miss.
The James Flamestar miniseries was produced in collaboration with Tim Irving, a composer who releases music under the James Flamestar pseudonym. Check him out on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/JamesFlamestar
FEBRUARY: Undad (2015 - 216 pages)
More than just another zombie story, Undad is about the challenges of being a husband and father while being (literally) dead inside.
A chance encounter with a ragged homeless man leaves Brett Buckley with deep teeth marks in his arm, and a sudden ravenous hunger for living flesh. Unable to control these urges, he consumes the hamster that belongs to his son's class.
Fearing that losing his family might cost him the last of his dwindling humanity, Brett must win back their love and respect, all the while attempting to find his new place in the world and reconcile his vegetarian morals with his insatiable appetite for live meat...
Undad was a finalist in the 2015 Australian Shadows Awards for best graphic novel and was highly commended in the 2016 ACT Writing and Publishing Awards.
MARCH: Undad Vol 2 (2015 - 230 pages)
More than just another zombie story, this stunning conclusion to the Undad saga is about the challenges of being a good role model while being (literally) dead inside.
Brett Buckley was a normal family man once. When he unexpectedly turned undead, he found himself struggling to regain the love and respect of his wife and kids.
Now, not only is Brett in trouble with the law, but his family, his safety net, is starting to pull away from him. Suddenly alone and destitute, Brett begins to question whether he really can still have a place in his kids' lives without being a danger to them.
APRIL: Undad journal (2015 - 200 pages)
The Undad journal was produced in 2015 as bonus content for the Undad Kickstarter campaigns. Covering the events of both Undad books, this journal also fills in - in Brett's own handwriting, and utilising photographs, scanned documents, bloodstains and other keepsakes - the gaps between the issues of Undad, and draws out the subtext of the story.
MAY: The Lesser Evil (2017 re-release - 350 pages)
The Lesser Evil follows a number of broken people struggling to make sense of their lives and dreams in a galaxy torn apart by civil war. A coming-of-age story, a fall from grace, and an underdog struggle collide in the midst of a violent civil war that challenges three men to question and reassess the mortifying cost of their dreams.
The Lesser Evil is a book that examines what it means to have a dream… and what that dream can end up costing, regardless of whether it comes true.
JUNE: Artbook + published short fiction collection (2005-2017)
The Shane W Smith artbook was released in 2015 as bonus content for a Kickstarter campaign, and includes concept art, preview pages, character profiles and a bunch of behind-the-scenes content for all my projects up to that point.
In addition to the artbook, patrons will also receive all published short fiction to which I currently hold distribution rights.
JULY: Peaceful Tomorrows (2017 re-release - 616 pages)
Peaceful Tomorrows takes place six years after the events of The Lesser Evil. The war seems to be cooling down, but it won't take much to turn it hot again. The key to lasting peace rests with two unlikely men: the first, a Padakan naval captain, James Mawson, recruited into a shadowy conspiracy; and the second, Ross Tillman, pulled against his will back into the centre of events.
Peaceful Tomorrows is a graphic novel about the power of rumour, and the perils of power, and was a finalist in the 2013 Aurealis Awards.
AUGUST: Game development #1 - Line in the Sand + Twine project
Patrons will receive two playable tech demos this month, including one submissions I made to a game jam and one Twine project that served as a job application.
Line in the Sand is an epic science fiction tale, a branching story that tracks reader choices and makes appropriate changes to the outcome of the story.
Line in the Sand will use dozens of variables to track reader responses to questions and will use those responses to alter future events in conversations. Some variables will be binary, and others cumulative over the course of the story, with events triggered at certain value thresholds.
Chapter One focuses on Sean Banner, an underage PFC in the Padakan infantry who is running from his past, and who has been warned to follow orders no matter what. Sean will be forced to make a number of decisions that will determine his fate. Will he betray his best friend to further his military career? Will he take pity on the people his army has invaded? Will he be arrested for treason, or killed by insurgents, or will he live to fight another day? Patrons will get a playable demo of Chapter One.
The untitled Twine project is a narrative experiment, a complex variation on the Prisoner's Dilemma, using pre-arrest interactions between the two main prisoners to influence how the NPC will react. (Spoiler: I didn't get the job.)
SEPTEMBER: The Game (2014 - 394 pages)
While the centuries-old conflict with Padakan House appears to be dying down, the war isn't over yet for Ross Tillman. His homeworld is a battle-scarred wasteland, and his younger sister is still missing, somewhere on the ground.
It's all part of the Game... and this game is played hard. The stakes are high, the participants ruthless. Winner takes all.
The Game fills in the gaps between The Lesser Evil and Peaceful Tomorrows, and also includes The Long Road Home, a short story exclusive to this edition that takes a closer look at Angus Baxmerian's history and the violent destiny he is bound to.
The Game was shortlisted in the 2014 Aurealis Awards for best graphic novel.
OCTOBER: Game development #2 - The Ties That Bind
In 2014 and 2015, I spent months learning how to put together branching narrative games.
The Ties That Bind follows Mila Greene, a freelance pilot and hired hand with a reputation for burying her feelings deep. Mila is thrown against her will into the middle of a civil war on the desert world of Messar, and must use all her wits to survive on the knife-edge between survival and devastation. Things only get more complicated when she learns that it's not just her life at stake, but also the lives of thousands of innocents and everyone she has ever cared about.
This is not a complete project, but a proof-of-concept demo that will take around 25 minutes to complete. It has seven different endings - can you find them all?
NOVEMBER: All The King's Men (2016 - 710 pages)
Sometimes it's impossible to mend what has been broken...
Each of them is fleeing something different, but they've all come to the same place. When their ship is attacked and marooned in deep space, three dozen refugees pass the time by sharing stories. Things that have happened to them, events they've witnessed, and rumours they've heard.
As time passes and despair sets in, they must rely upon each other to survive. But when the chips are down, will they all be pulling in the same direction?
Featuring stories from twenty-four brilliant writers from around the world, the All The King’s Men anthology takes a look at the lives of those on the periphery, ordinary people struggling to make sense of their lives and dreams in a galaxy torn apart by civil war.
DECEMBER: Academaesthetics (2007 - 54 pages)
Twentieth century perceptions have been unfavourable to both the essay and the comic book. There has been a steady decline in the popularity of the essay as reading material, because it is seen as lacking the emotional and aesthetic appeals of fiction. And despite persistent support for comics as an art form with limitless potential, comics are still generally regarded as one-dimensional juvenile sensationalism.
Academaesthetics is an essay/comic book hybrid that analyses a number of common general perceptions and misunderstandings surrounding both the essay and the comic, and uses the contrast and similarities between the forms to suggest some new ways of understanding them.
It was published in the October 2007 edition of the TEXT Journal.
Subscribers backing at the $7 tier or higher will receive one of these book/project packages per month in addition to a whole slew of behind-the-scenes content for each of them.
Until such time as a new book is released, this will be the annual cycle of content.