Our upcoming novel: The Burning Life | EVE Online

Our upcoming novel: The Burning Life

2009-07-27 - Por CCP Abraxas

"We will eat the body and sanctify its blood, to let it be born again."

That's the start of it. They don't really eat the body, though.

"You're dead," the capsuleer replied, fear giving its easy way to anger. "You're both dead."

_  "We are," the woman said to him._

And that's near the end. They really are dead, or soon will be.

I've been writing EVE fiction for a few years now. I'm the primary writer for the EVE Chronicles, short stories published every other week on our website. Along the way I've written various other things, including plays for our Fanfests, RPG fiction,  item descriptions, a few agent missions, and a bunch of non-fiction texts.

If you work for CCP, you put your talents to use wherever you can; and if you're someone who likes to write, you always want to do more of it.

So I've written an EVE novel.

It's called The Burning Life, it's 100,000 words, and it comes out November this year. I still can't quite believe that it's done. Writing a novel is an obsessive task, not unlike going on a long, long expedition through wild and remote places: you get your matters in order the best you can, you prepare to what little extent is possible, and then you disappear. If you're lucky you re-emerge months later, dishevelled and half-crazy, blinking gloomily at the sunlight and muttering incoherently about copyedits. Tony "NO SLEEP TILL DEADLINE" Gonzales, who wrote the first (and considerably longer) EVE novel, will back me on this.

It's a novel set in the world of EVE, much as the Chronicles are. Since it's written by the same guy who's done most of the Chronicles for the past three years, anyone who likes them will (hopefully) like the novel, too. It is not a horror novel, although there are a couple of gruesome Blood Raider scenes in there. It's part drama but there's plenty of humor in there, dark-tinged as it is most of the time. It is, to me, simply an EVE story through and through.

Even though it doesn't star the capsuleers, it's very much about them and the effects they've had on New Eden. It picks up some of the themes seen in Black Mountain, a series of Chronicles we published last year, and while most of the people in that extended story perished in interesting and fiery ways, we'll see at least one character return. The four Empires are involved, but the main focus is on the pirates and other outlying factions. The Blood Raiders. The Angel Cartel. The Guristas. Sansha's Nation. The Servant Sisters of EVE.

In fact, this is one of many reasons why I'm happy I can finally talk about the novel. For quite some time I've been dying to put more focus on the pirates. They've been there with us all this time, like creepy nannies - watching over us when we mine, hanging out to greet us at the gates, dying happily by the thousands when we get it in our heads to play - and yet we've neglected the poor things. There is a wealth of story material to be had from them, particularly if we look beyond the initial facade of evil ratting scum. How can a society like the Blood Raiders, driven by such grisly traditions, function on a daily basis? What kind of person would ever willingly join Sansha's Nation, and how does it feel to be one of the True Slaves? What are the Angel Cartel and Guristas factions like, different as they are?

These are stories that take place in EVE, but they are not the sole story of EVE. One major difference between this novel and the last one we published is that The Burning Life will not be the focus of an expansion, nor will it be the culmination of that particular point in our storyline. It'll be part of EVE lore, but we're going to weave in its plotlines through a myriad of smaller threads.

One way we'll do this is through in-game content: primarily missions and other PvE content, and possibly also in-game items and descriptions. We want to add depth to the game, make you feel like these are real, living, breathing people you're reading about, and these kinds of fiction-content connections aid us in that task. We will also use the novel as a partial base for the ongoing storyline - there'll certainly be plenty of connections between the two - but it won't be the prime focus and center of those efforts.

What's it about? On a pirate colony deep in losec space, a man suffers a great loss that fills him with sorrow, and then an even greater loss that fills him with hate. Elsewhere, a mission agent - someone who might easily have asked you at one point to transport a piece of precious cargo, or to take out forces of the opposition - starts to quite spectacularly lose her mind. Neither of them can live with who they've become, and thus they leave behind their old lives to look for ways to make a difference.

And maybe blow up a few things along the way.

Hjalti Daníelsson / CCP Abraxas