Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Videogame As Fan Fiction by Jacqueline Lichtenberg

Videogame As Fan Fiction
Jacqueline Lichtenberg

As most of you know by now, there is a KICKSTARTER running to fund a videogame RPG which takes my Sime~Gen Universe novels into the Sime~Gen Space Age.

The AMBROV X Kickstarter added a reward level called an ALL DIGITAL TIER - and everyone who donates at or above that level gets a BUNDLE of all the Sime~Gen Novels extant in e-book (lots of formats). 

We haven't talked in depth yet about videogames, or gaming in general, as a fiction form.

But when the Videogame gets into the RPG (Role Playing Game) space, where the consumer gets to BECOME one of the characters in the fictional construct (e.g. Dungeons and Dragons ) you are getting into the world that I envisioned living in when I could barely read the three words under the picture.

As I've said many times on this blog, fiction is a necessity of human life.  We need our dreams and our daydreams to function rationally in our world.  But more than that, dreaming and daydreaming are magical acts, acts which form our world, that really change things (for better or worse). 

That's why Science Fiction (what science could do for us "if only...") and Romance (what life could be with the right person) are so vitally important to World Peace and other worthy causes.

I've been working on bringing together the various streams of fiction distribution for a long time.  I've talked often and at excruciating length on this blog about what I call The Fiction Distribution System, what it lacked (feedback from readers/viewers), and how the internet is curing that lack.

Here are some of my blog entries from 2006 and 2007:






And here is a book on Fan Fiction that I did not contribute to, but which mentions me a number of times.  Use the LOOK INSIDE feature and search for Lichtenberg to see those quotes.  (the list of quotes comes up on the left). 

They even mention my coinage of the term Intimate Adventure. 

If you haven't seen me talk about that on this blog, here is the original source on it:


As you can see, I've been entering this general topic of FICTION as a necessity in life, from every angle I can think of.

From the mentions in that book on Fan Fiction, I'm beginning to think I've actually made the point to some people.

Note the books that Amazon brings up in other suggestions when you go to the Fan Fiction book's page. 

I'm not saying I invented fanfic!!  It was old when I got into Science Fiction fandom when I was in 7th grade!  That's why it was already my native language when I first encountered STAR TREK (before any fanzine published fanfic in the Star Trek unvierse). 

I wrote Kraith as Star Trek fanfic, but I wrote Sime~Gen to allow others to write fanfic in it (and they have!  see

In 7th grade, it began to dawn on me what PUBLISHING lacked, and when I was in High School, I made a firm commitment to becoming a fiction writer because I knew I could make the field of fiction better if I could convince the right people that direct interaction between writers and readers, and between "readers/audience" and the direction and substance of the story was the missing ingredient in the industry.

That was long before computers brought GAMING to hand!

It was also long before Gene Roddenberry brought the Holodeck into existence.  That's where this is all headed, you know! 

Videogamers pioneered (with the shoot-em-all-dead approach to fun) the technology to make images REAL to you, and some were inspired by the Holodeck. 

Now they are pioneering the convergence of the characters who live inside your mind, your imaginary self that you strive to become, with the external conflicts of life, the problems set before you, using that interactive visual medium.

Here's another thing that's emerged to convince me that the world is accepting my point:


That's a for-profit university that trains people to create videogames.

Most of the people on the Loreful team creating the Sime~Gen Videogame (now in Kickstarter - go donate a few bucks and they'll send you more information) have come out of that university. 

The Sime~Gen game, though, isn't of the "win by killing everything that moves" variety, except insofar as BANG-BANG is necessary to sell into the marketplace. 

These folks have the ambition to create an RPG where you win more points (and perqs) by establishing a non-lethal relationship with the other characters, and making friends not foes even of those trying to destroy you and yours.  This game is envisioned with roles and options that allow Intimate Adventure!  (yes, the creators read that material I pointed you to). 

So far, the Sime~Gen Game is not ROMANCE per se, but if it's successful, that is a definite possibility for some of the future plot-threads or episodes.  You want to see a Romance based videogame?  Support this kickstarter, if not with money then by distributing the information on it.  It runs only to the beginning of October, 2013.

Remember Sime~Gen is the universe I created specifically to have a novel from every genre written in it -- (and it has TO KISS OR TO KILL by Jean Lorrah as a Romance) -- to prove that Science Fiction is not a genre at all, but Literature.

So, while I was digging into Amazon looking for the book on FAN FICTION that I do have a contribution in (due out Dec. 2013), I ran across the very academic one linked above, Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet, which only mentions me and Intimate Adventure (and Star Trek Lives! but they could only find the Corgi edition; the original edition is Bantam, 1975. 

Here's the book I wrote for (now available for pre-order, paper or ebook):

I didn't say this in my article in FIC -- it would have taken the whole book, and I'm certain I'll be returning to this topic on this blog when I find a better way to convey this notion:

Videogaming is in its infancy (still!).  It is the precursor of the HOLODECK, the fully interactive novel you walk into and become a character, and can do things that the author of the novel never thought of, never included -- you can live in a novel or a fictional universe and create your reality, just as you create your own real-life reality.

Somewhere along that line of development, you will begin to see exploration of seriously deep Relationship Driven Games.

And that has to include Romance (as the paramount relationship among all human relationships).

Since we are now working at the very beginning of that line of development, our smallest action will have huge effects decades from now.

We might discover that this videogame company that has contracted Sime~Gen is run by the "Steve Jobs" of the videogame industry.

And he took onboard a writer who remembered (with favor) reading Sime~Gen as she was growing up, then reread it all with the new books, too, and took notes.  She's a Star Trek/ Star Wars fan, too. 

If you're serious about solving the problem pointed up recently by Ann Aguirre's post on the blowback she's gotten for being a Science Fiction Romance writer:


You may find the best way to fix this problem that she and so many of those commenting on that blog post have encountered, using the least effort on your part, is to support Loreful's Kickstarter for Sime~Gen.  Just go post the URL around your contacts. 

Remember, the Sime~Gen novel Unto Zeor, Forever

has been called (in various blogs on the Internet) one of the first, if not the first, Science Fiction Romance novel (1978, my first Award Winner, before I won the Romantic Times Award for Dushau).  There were a lot of daring Science Fiction novels with this kind of sidewise edging into dangerous waters, and eventually it all gave rise to what we have today.

It takes a lot of people to move the world.  Give this Kickstarter a nudge or two. 

As Sime~Gen moves into the galaxy, humans encounter aliens, and you KNOW what happens when humans encounter aliens.  After all, you read this blog regularly, don't you? 

by Jacqueline Lichtenberg


  1. I will definitely get FIC! I already have the other book on fanfic you mentioned on my Kindle.

    For early SF Romance, surely Marion Zimmer Bradley's SPELL SWORD is an outstanding example. And its sequel, FORBIDDEN TOWER, is Intimate Adventure at its core, since a large part of the plot revolves around the Terran protagonist's adjustment to marriage with a former Keeper (biologically conditioned to guard her virginity).

  2. @Margaret Carter
    Yes, I absolutely agree, Marion Zimmer Bradley pioneered the Relationship story in Science Fiction and the Fantasy/SF mixture.

    While she was writing SPELL SWORD and FORBIDDEN TOWER she was tutoring and mentoring me, so I saw both books being drafted and rewritten, tweaked, and shaped. Yes, those years are the origin of my theory of Intimate Adventure.