Firstly, happy 2022 everybody. It's great to be back. Today, I bring you a guest post by author Patrick Charlton O'Shea, to celebrate the publication of his first book titled 'Death Becomes Him - An Age of Steam and Sorcery Novel'. This book is the first in a series, so without further ado, I will let Patrick tell you all about himself, and his debut book.
First, I'd like to thank Hayley for this wonderful opportunity. I've never written anything like this before, and it's both daunting and exhilarating.
Today I'd like to introduce the world to a niche but rapidly growing genre: LitRPG. It's technically been around for a long time, there's LitRPG movies by big name directors (looking at you Ready Player One) enough anime to bury Mt Fuji, and even an Amazon affiliated website dedicated to the genre. My series is a combination of LitRPG and Steampunk themes.
But first, who am I?
My name is Patrick Charlton-O'Shea. Mad scientist, martial artist, enthusiast for piloting fast moving vehicles, and now, author. I'm a third generation electrician, and the number of times I've been electrocuted hopefully excuses my eccentricities. I live in rural Victoria Australia with my darling wife Vanessa and our two rats Splinter and Shifu.
So, what is LitRPG?
LitRPG is what it says on the box. Literature about Role Playing Games. LitRPG stories come in many flavours, from Isekai to trapped-in-a-game, to system apocalypse, and dungeon core. Isekai is a Japanese term meaning "new world", where the protagonist is taken from earth and sent to another world where the laws of physics, and magic, function like a game. Many, many anime are in this sub-genre and they tend to have ridiculously long names. Trapped-in-a-game is more western and technically the 'Matrix' series falls under this heading, though the anime Sword Art Online is probably the exemplar here. System apocalypse tales tend to occur on earth, where something causes the world to begin functioning like a game, text boxes pop up telling the characters they've levelled up and monsters appearing everywhere. The Amazon affiliate I mentioned earlier, Royal Road, hosts The Legend of Randidly Ghosthound, one of the longest running serials of its type, and is a System Apocalypse tale. Lastly is Dungeon Core stories. They're almost exclusively an Isekai story, but one where the protagonist is bound to the core of a dungeon instead of a freely roaming entity. The old PC game Dungeon Keeper is a great example of this. Heroes then assault the dungeon, traps are sprung, monsters slain or slay the heroes, and the dungeon grows.
Of course, there's nothing ridgid about these definitions and many authors mix and match elements to weave epics of mighty deeds, expansive worlds and dastardly villains.
Ok, then what is Steampunk?
Well, while Jules Verne was still alive they just called it science fiction. 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea', 'Around the World in 80 Days' and all their contemporaries, qualify as Steampunk these days. It's a fashion movement, an aesthetic and the most beguiling blend of could-have-been and never-was. Brass and mahogany, cogs and gears, ruffles and lace, all combined to form a Victorian gentlemans, or lady's, dream of what the future might hold. There's steam powered trains, airships and paddle boats. There's complex thinking machines built of whirring gears and flickering Jacob's ladders. Sky pirates do glorious battle with impeccably dressed gentlemen atop a dirigible, armed with swords and pistols. Modern day Steampunk adventures like 'Wild Wild West' and 'Mortal Engines' have fared adequately but never really captured the imagination the way the classics did.
Why am I writing today?
Well, because I recently published my first book. It's about a young man playing a Full Dive style MMORPG to escape the trials and tribulations of his daily life. While not strictly trapped in the game, it slowly supplants his real life, at times merging with it and others contradicting it. It started out as a way of finding catharsis from my own teenage years, every character is a segment of my own personality given a face and a name, and events that I had no control over the first time around are given satisfactory resolutions. This is just the beginning, there are at least two more books coming in the main series and some side stories brewing in the subconscious.
I hope you enjoy Death Becomes Him, the whole Age of Steam and Sorcery series and LitRPG as a genre.
Thank you to Patrick for sharing with us today. If you would like to check out his work, click on the links below.