Frequently Answered Queries




Why are you publishing this book on-line?

My goal is to have as many people as possible read my work, and on-line publishing is the best way to reach the most people for the least money.

I am teaching myself the discipline of writing, finding out what works, what people like, and what I can do.

Also, publishing in HTML offers some unique features not available in print publications. Most obviously, I can use lots of different colors and typefaces, which would be expensive in print. Also, I can add audio and hotlinks to the body of the story. I've tried to keep that sort of thing to a minimum, however, since there is a fine line between "unique features" and "annoying gimmicks".

Isn't writing a book a lot of work? Why are you doing it for free?

Honestly: would you have started reading if you had to pay?

I am less interested in making money than I am in having lots of people read my work. Publishing on-line is the best way to make sure my work reaches as many people as possible. Then, the only thing controlling readership is word-of-mouth and the quality of my work.

The only payment I desire is feedback. If you've read the story, please drop me a line and tell me what you think. What did you like? What did you think was dumb? What surprised you? What was your favorite part?

How long did it take to write?

It was well over a year between the first chapters and the actual ending of the book, but I don't want to create the impression that all I did was work on the book for a year. This book was very much a hobby. I would get it out and fiddle with it on weekends, or when letters from anxious fans convinced me it had been too long since the last installment.

How is this a work of Fan Fiction?

The story began its life as an adaptation of the introduction for a computer game. In 1994, the game System Shock was released. The game was introduced by a short video that outlined the basic premise of the game. You can download this video over in the multimedia section of this site.

My plan was to simply flesh out the characters, fill in some details, and turn this introduction into a short story. As I did, the story grew in popularity. I got a lot of mail from people who assumed I was going to fictionalize the entire game, and were excited at the prospect. When I finally finished with the introduction, I just kept going.

Hey! If this is fan fiction based on System Shock, why is your story so different?

The events of a computer game are not very fertile ground for fiction. Playing a game usually involves a lot of repetition: performing certain moves, defeating certain creatures, and hunting for items to allow you to progress through the game. All of these activities would be mind-numbingly dull in prose. Some adaptation of the plot was needed to keep things fresh, and to move the plot along.

The other reason for the diversion is my own selfish drive. As my story progressed, I found the original plot too restrictive and confining. There were things I wanted to do and say that didn't fit in the original framework.

Very little of the original story remains, outside of the key characters and the premise itself, and yes - the ending significantly different.

Will you ever publish this in book form?

Short answer: Probably not.

Long answer: I may seek a publisher someday, although I am not inclined to do so right now. The biggest problem is that much of the foundation of the story comes from the computer game System Shock. The company that created the game has long since gone under, and the rights to the franchise are spread out over a complex number of separate entities. Securing the rights to the story would be a huge (and probably very expensive) legal undertaking. Few publishers would want to undertake such a project from an established author, so you can imagine the odds of them undertaking it for a newcomer.

In the end, I would probably need to remove all of the names and other potential copyright infringements from the book.

The other question is: would a publisher even want to publish a book that has already been made available for free on the internet? I don't know.

Where can I find out more about System Shock?

The original System Shock was released by Looking Glass in 1994. While they have since gone under, the series still has a strong following that now make their home at