First 12 for ’12 Trilogy: Brave New World

I’ve been wrestling with how I want to run 12 for ’12, and I’ve decided that the best way is to set it up as four groups of books. At least three of these will be trilogies, while the fourth might be a set of standalone books instead. Like most writers, I have loads of ideas for books, so the next question becomes, which trilogy do I want to tackle first.

I want to start things off with a bang, so I decided to return to one of my most personal works: the Brave New World Roleplaying Game I created back in 1999. For those of you who don’t know, Brave New World* is a dystopian setting in which you play superpowered rebels working to take back America after all superpowered people are ordered to either work for the government or go to jail. This all starts when the entire city of Chicago is destroyed in 1976, and the entire nation has been under martial law ever since.

The game’s slogan reads, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what it can do to you.”

I wrote Brave New World more than two years before 9/11, but the themes it raised then seem prescient now. There’s a lot of intriguing ground to cover there, and it’s only gotten more fertile over the past 12 years. I can come up with at least a trilogy worth of stories there, easy.

To top it off, I’ve been working with an independent film house, Reactor 88 Studios, to get a Brave New World feature film in the works. We have an awesome proof-of-concept piece we shot a couple years ago — see below for that — and the setting’s been on my mind ever since. I sold the game to AEG years ago, but they’ve kindly licensed it back to me for this project. (Many thanks to my pal John Zinser for that!)

Better yet, the Reactor 88 guys have offered to pitch in on the production of the novels and the Kickstarter video, so it’s a damn fine match and should make for an excellent Kickstarter kickoff.

If you want to know more about the game and the setting, the Wikipedia entry is an excellent place to start. Be warned, though, that it’s chock full of spoilers.

I hope to get the Kickstarter video shot this week and have the Reactor 88 folks (especially director Darren Orange) slap it into shape over the weekend. If that works out, expect to see the Kickstarter project launch early next week!

[* Yes, I know it shares a title with Aldous Huxley’s novel. It comes from the quote in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. When Miranda, the daughter of the wizard Prospero, sees another person besides her father for the first time — a handsome man who becomes her love interest — she remarks, “O brave new world that has such people in’t.” I couldn’t think of a better phrase to capture a game about superheroes in a dystopian land, so it stuck. To make the difference between my work and Huxley’s crystal clear, the Reactor 88 folks took to calling it Matt Forbeck’s Brave New World, and despite how silly that might make me feel, I’ll probably wind up going with that for the exact same reason.]