Sunday, May 10, 2009

One step away from the Holonovel?

One of the highlights of Voyager for me was the marvelous pastiche they did of the Captain Proton adventures not just because of the great retro story but because of the all too seldom opportunity it gave Kate Mulgrew to show her talent at comedy, "... and I'm a size four!"

The idea of a holonovel is interesting. It is actually close to what a lot of people in the publishing industry see as the future of the book with its possibilities for intertextuality and who can blame them? The best books are those that we "sink in to", that, through the author's art, let us experience the story through the eyes of the characters.

Many thought that you could not go past the movies for an immersive entertainment experience but where it fails is that it is one-way and the buzz-word of the last decade has been interactive entertainment. Clive Thompson said it best in a Wired article entitled "Forget Film, Games Do Sci-Fi Best" where he mused ...
games have an inherent affinity with sci-fi and fantasy. Those genres are based on what-if premises; they're the literary version of the Sim, the author as world-builder. Part of the fun of watching a sci-fi movie is mentally inhabiting a new world and imagining what it feels like to be inside. But now there's a medium that actually puts you in.
Look at "reality TV". Much as cynics would have us consign them to the rubbish-heap of popular culture, there is no denying that they are here to stay and represent a shift in society's ideas of entertainment. No longer are we content to live vicariously through the actions of some stylised hero played by a professional actor, many now want to live vicariously through the experiences of someone who they identify with more closely, the everyday person who beats all the odds to prove himself a hero, a winner - a David Cook, Paul Potts or Susan Boyle.

You like the idea of a holonovel? Well, the 23rd century isn't as far away as you thought!

Laz Rojas, the incredibly talented Star Trek: Elite Force 2 game modder who brought us the mind-bogglingly complex Starbase 11 and its orbiting dreadnought on Space Station K7 has recently announced that he is currently developing "The Captain Proton Mod", an episodic, multi-map, single-player mod for Raven's Star Trek Voyager Elite Force and the Elite Force Expansion Pack which, in his own words ...
... is based on the metafictional holonovel "The Adventures of Captain Proton" that was featured on various episodes of Star Trek Voyager, including "Night", "Thirty Days", "Bride of Chaotica", and "Shattered". The mod assumes that after Voyager returned to Earth, Tom Paris wrote various Captain Proton holonovels which were published by Broht & Forrester, the same company which published the EMH's opus "Photons Be Free" in the episode "Author, Author".

The Captain Proton Mod includes several episodes that span multiple maps, each of them a separate chapter in the Captain Proton saga. Familiar characters seen on Star Trek Voyager appear, such as Dr. Chaotica, Queen Arachnia, Buster Kincaid, Constance Goodheart, Satan's Robot, Lonzak, and the President of Earth. There are many new characters as well, some friendly, some not so friendly. And there are lots of new models too, including rocket ships and weapons. Among the new weapons are the ray gun brandished by Lonzak and Chaotica's guards in "Bride of Chaotica", as well as a more accurate Proton gun than the one included in the Expansion Pack.

The full mod will be released in the summer of 2009 and will include at least five episodes. Additional episodes will be released later on from time to time as add-ons.
... if you think this is too good to be true and will never come to anything, check out Laz's screenshots of his Work-In-Progress on his website at ...

My thanks to Tryjo Sebo on Hailing Frequency, which is my primary source for all Trek gaming news.

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