Announcing Morning Star Alpha: A Next-Generation Graphic Novel

Most of you know by now that I am working with game studio Industrial Toys to create Morning Star, a first-person shooter video game for mobile platforms. What you don’t know — because we’ve kept it secret until just about this very moment — is that the Morning Star project is not just the video game; we’ve been working on other ways to explore the Morning Star universe that integrate with the game itself in new and innovative ways. We’re announcing one of those other ways today: Morning Star Alpha.

What is Morning Star Alpha? The simplest explanation is that it’s a graphic novel, written by me and illustrated by Mike Choi, which ties into the events of the Morning Star game. But please note that this “simplest explanation” really is too simple. For one thing, Morning Star Alpha is its own app; you explore it on your tablet, and we’ve built the app and the story to take advantage of the medium we’re working in — which means it’s a pretty cool new graphic novel experience. You can make choices in Morning Star Alpha which affect the storytelling, and your actions while exploring in Morning Star Alpha can have an impact in the Morning Star game (and vice versa). You’ll learn more about the characters who populate the Morning Star universe, and what motivates them to action.

You don’t have to experience Morning Star Alpha to enjoy Morning Star — and you don’t have play Morning Star to get hooked on Morning Star Alpha. These are free-standing experiences in the universe we’ve created. That said, each is complementary to the other. Basically, the more you explore the whole Morning Star universe, the richer and more exciting it all becomes.

Morning Star Alpha is a very exciting project for me. Some of my favorite writers and many friends have worked in the comics and graphic novel field — Neil Gaiman, Warren Ellis, Marjorie Liu and Chris Roberson are some right off the top of my head — so to be able to dip my toe in the waters of the genre is a thrill, and to do it on a project that is trying some new things in the electronic format is even more cool. Plus there’s the fact that I get to work with Mike Choi on this. The dude is pretty staggeringly talented, and it’s been awesome watching how he pairs my words with his pictures — and then how the rest of the crew at Industrial Toys put our combined work together and makes it fly.

In short, a dream first experience for me in the world of graphic novels. I can’t wait for you guys to experience it.

And when can you experience it? As they say: Soooooooooon. More details to come.

Speaking of “more details,” here are stories about Morning Star Alpha on Kotaku and Polygon. Go! Read them! Now!

The Human Division, Episode Six: The Back Channel is Now Live

Why, hello, Tuesday. I see that once again you have brought a new episode of The Human Division with you, this time “The Back Channel.” Here’s what it’s about, from the official blurb:

The Conclave is a confederation of four hundred alien races—many of whom would like to see the Colonial Union, and the humans inside of it, blasted to extinction. To avoid a conflict that neither side can afford, Conclave leader General Tarsem Gau appoints Hafte Sorvalh to resolve an emerging diplomatic crisis with the humans, before the only acceptable solution is war.

I don’t want to give too much away, but this episode features political intrigue, aliens, Abraham Lincoln, churros and goats! You can’t go wrong with any of those. And if you can I don’t want to you know, you sick person, you.

It also features one of my new favorite characters in the Old Man’s War universe: Hafte Sorvalh. She’s not totally new — longtime fans will remember that she popped up briefly in a pivotal scene in Zoe’s Tale — but she’s really fully fleshed out for the first time in this episode, and all I can say is I wish I were as smart as she is. She’s a blast to write. I hope you have as much fun with her as I have.

As always, there will be a discussion of this weekly episode on today; I’ll link in when it goes up (update: Here’s the link!). Likewise, as always, if you feel moved to review the episode, please do; it’s nice when people have conversations about the episodes.

And remember to tune in next week for “The Sound of Rebellion,” in which a simple mission for the CDF warriors of the Tubingen (last seen in Episode Three) takes a turn for the strange.

The Back Channel: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|iBookstore|Google Play|Kobo|Audible (audio) (all links US)