Tech Tuesday: Fiction/RPG Kickstarter – Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD (40th Anniversary Reprint) with Jonathan M. Thompson

A few months ago, Jonathan M. Thompson of Battlefield Press reached out to me to share his excitement about his Kickstarter for Stewart Cowley’s Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD. I was happy for him, but I had to confess, I had never heard of Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD. That didn’t deter Jonathan one bit because he is a mega-fan of the property and his enthusiasm is infectious so he pulled me in!  

Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD (40th Anniversary Reprint)

EGG EMBRY – For those like me that do not know, what is Stewart Cowley’s Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD?

JONATHAN M. THOMPSON – Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD is part of a speculative fiction (or what I like to call Alternate Future) material detailing the universe from the year 2000 through the year 2100, this included mostly ships. The ships are written up in-universe accounts accompanied by beautiful pictures of each ship. According to the series original timeline, humans became starfarers in the early 21st century, with the development of the DeVass Warp Generator. This is described as a spacefold-style faster-than-light drive, which brought space at the origin and destination into proximity, allowing a vessel at the former to transfer to the latter without crossing the intervening distance. Humans befriend the nearest alien race, the Alphans, and then discover the Proximans. Who do not care for the Alphans, and war ensues.

EGG– What are you planning to create through this Kickstarter?

JONATHAN M. THOMPSON – It is really simple. We are looking to do only one thing through this Kickstarter and that is to put this book that was originally printed in 1978 back into circulation. The books in the series are currently going for high numbers on the aftermarket, and we would like to ensure they are easily accessible by anyone. This includes an official PDF of the book, so people can carry it with them wherever they go.

ACM 113, Fatboy

EGG– Will there be any changes to this edition as opposed to the original printing?

JONATHAN M. THOMPSON – There is no change at all, except in the area of formatting and editing. Our version will be slightly smaller than the original. This reasons for this are two-fold, one is that with a slightly smaller book it is easy to tell the difference between our book and the original. The original book is 9 x 12 inches, and our book will be 8.5 x 11 inches in size. This prevents people from mistaking the reprint for the original. The other reason is frankly, our printer couldn’t do the larger book.

EGG– This is not a standalone book. What are your plans to reprint the other books?

JONATHAN M. THOMPSON – That’s a bit of a misnomer, it is a stand-alone book. However, it is correct that its part of a four-book series. With the successful backing of this book, we are determined to reprint one a year until the original four are reprinted. While he has not said anything definite yet, we think we have Mr. Cowley convinced to do a brand new Terran Trade Authority Handbook if we are able to get all the original books reprinted.

Nomad Industrial Complex

EGG– How did this project come about?

JONATHAN M. THOMPSON – I’m a fan, that’s probably the easiest answer. I stumbled upon the book at an estate sale when I was about 20 (not lucky enough to be in the first wave of fans), and thought wow. A few years later I approached Mr. Cowley about licensing, and we did an RPG of the setting, based solely on this book. I went looking in the usual places on the aftermarket, eBay, Amazon, etc. and found that the prices of the later books were very expensive. I decided that it wasn’t necessary for people to pay that amount when we could just reprint the books. I made this argument with Mr. Cowley, who thought the same thing. He put me in touch with the agent that handled all the artists, who all thought it was awesome that their work would again be seen by the public, in a brand new edition of the book. And so, here we are!

EGG– This setting has never been adapted for an RPG, has it? You have a stretch goal to adapt it for the Cepheus Engine. For those that don’t know, what is that RPG system? What makes the Cepheus Engine perfect for this setting?

JONATHAN M. THOMPSON – It’s actually been adapted for an RPG twice already, the first one was by Morrigan Press, as I do not have Morrigan’s publishing numbers (and even if I did, I couldn’t divulge them). I don’t know what happened between them and Mr. Cowley. When their license had expired, I made a case to get it and I was awarded the license. We did a setting book for Savage Worlds, titled Terran Trade Authority: The Proxima War. That is a long bit to answer a question about a game system. Cepheus Engine is an RPG built out of the open content from the Traveller 1e RPG published by Mongoose Publishing. The system was developed by Jason Kemp from the open material and filled in the blanks from there on. It is a stand-alone system and we thought it would be kind of nice to provide a stand-alone game for the old school gamer in all of us. It is clear that Traveller and the TTA go well together.

EGG– You’ll be at Gen Con passing out promotional cards and discussing this campaign, you’re offering a chance to add backer’s names to the book with various naval ranks, you’re promoting this project, so what’s the reason fans that are on the fence should back it?

JONATHAN M. THOMPSON – We have an add-on where the backer can take on a rank in the Terran Navy. Those that add that will be listed in a special place in the back of the book, in a dedication detailing their names and rank. The higher tiers of the add-ons will give them the command of a ship or a fleet, determined at random from the Admiralties files (basically a committee made up of myself, Mr. Cowley and a couple of others).

If you are a fan of the originals, a fan of the Savage Worlds setting book, if you like alternate future, or old school speculative fiction, or if you just want to see something from days gone by to be resurrected, then this is the project for you. Everything else you might want to know can be found on the Kickstarter page.

Colonial III, Angus McKie

EGGWe spoke here before about another project you did, The Dinosaur Protocol. How has that project progressed?

[Disclosure: One of this project’s stretch goals is “$3,850 – Stretch Goal #2 – One Sheet Adventure by Egg Embry”.]

JONATHAN M. THOMPSONThe Dinosaur Protocol core book is being written by Chris Halliday and myself, we are approximate halfway through the initial draft of the setting book. We just checked off the North American Bestiary off our to-do list. We are really excited about it and are looking forward to the finishing of this book. 😀

EGG– For fans of Stewart Cowley’s work as well as those of your company, Battlefield Press, where can they find out more about this campaign?

JONATHAN M. THOMPSON – Obviously you can find out more information from our Kickstarter page of the project, and the Terran Trade Authority group on Facebook. At the time of this interview, we are funded to 64% of our $12,000 goal.


About Egg Embry

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™, wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. With the advent of Kickstarter, and the resurgence in his love of role-playing, he bought a series of writing opportunities in tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. Now he freelances for EN World, Open Gaming Network, and Tessera Guild, and writes for a variety of game publishers.

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