Monday, February 27, 2006

Terran Trade Authority is Reborn!

Hello. Are you a late-twenty or thirty-something SF fan?
Do you remember these books? Terran Trade Authority Handbooks
The TTA handbooks were an ambitious project started by author Stewart Cowley in the late 1970s. He basically took a whole bunch of unrelated space art, shrewdly grouped it, and wove a future history around it. The first book was more or less a "spacecraft recognition guide", the others expanded on the future history theme.
These books, more than anything else, more than Star Wars or Battlestar Galactica (the OLD series, thank you, because I'm OLD), more than Ultraman or the Thunderbirds, influenced my early love of science fiction. I remember being six, sitting with my dad, staring pop-eyed at the wonderful art, being transported to another time and place. The best thing about these books was the mystery and wonder of them, the late 70s, non-cyberpunk world of bright colors and futures full of promise, even as they were full of strife. Cowley wrote a masterpiece.
Enter Morrigan Press, publisher of excellent RPG supplements and a new system (Omni) that's taking the RPG world by storm. Morrigan purchased the rights to the TTA universe and are re-releasing the TTA books, expanded and with new art by the fabulously talented Adrian Mann that both pays tribute to and deliciously expands the universe. They will then release a roleplaying system, based on the Omni rules, that allows you to play in the TTA universe.
Then Mike sent me a link... they were looking for writers.
I went berzerk. I wrote a ten-page sample in one night and sent it off to them. A few weeks later, I had the job.
It's still sinking in... I get to write and expand the universe that I adored as a child.
I've been given the task of doing the anthropological work- describing the Alphans and Proximans, the two alien races living around Alpha and Proxima Centauri, which Cowley never described, despite the books dealing heavily with them. I'm also doing some work on a future Earth, its government, it's corporations, and its problems. I can't get into details yet, but I will as Morrigan allows me to.
The re-issued Spacecraft (now titled Spacecraft: 2100 to 2200 AD) is due for a June release, with the RPG to follow a month later. Morrigan also wants me to write two sourcebooks, one for the Alphans, one for the Proximans. Mike and Mark Dudley are aboard for at least some of the art duties. More to come soon....
Meanwhile... WOO-HOO!

9 comments:

Matt P. said...

Awesome, dude! That totally rocks! I used to have three of the TTA books, and always enjoyed them. Writeing in the universe - lucky dog!

Hatrax said...

Thanks, Matt!

zszsz said...

coooool! congratulations . . . :]

Hatrax said...

Thanks, Steve! It's true! I'm now part of the 70s space art movement!

zszsz said...

it's really all too surreal, we used to "tease a little" you know when it came to the stories . . .

we had this 'crazy theory' that the paintings came first and the rest was being made up as they went along . . . who knew?! :]

no doubt, you'll raise the bar more than a bit . . .

i'm surprised i don't remember you & mike going on about his copies of the books, i don't remember yours . . .

it's all a blur or basement rafters & soil festivities . . .

until now i never realized that those books influenced me at all . . . but for all the stories i've never written as a wannabe writer, i HAVE (in inverse proportion to none?) written thousands of pages of the very same sort of 'other-world-detailing' (staring at pictures of things and images in my head and mj's sketches and our less than utopian surrounding) . . .

granted i did it a little more second-handedly aping mj doing all that stuff first (space art, models, anime, etc., etc., etc.), but nonetheless, thank you terran trade, for leading me down the path of alternately wide-eyed and grimacing obsessive-compulsive daydreaming, thank you . . . fun and mania have been had . . .

oops, i'm trailing as usual . . .

again: dope! congrats!!! i'm getting greener by the moment . . . :]

zszsz said...

surreal in the '360' of the you being "part of ... the movement" that is . . .

mildly dizzying! (combined with lack of breakfast) . . . :]

Hatrax said...

As my pal Pam Bliss has said, there are a hell of a lot of people out there who think they want to be writers, but what they really want to be is world-builders. In other words, they don't want to tell stories- they want to make up the worlds in which the stories take place. A lot of these folks, I think, could be very happy working for RPG companies. You might be one of those, Steve. Ever consider it?

aneamo said...

I concur with Jeff, thanks to both of you, it’s an interesting gig for sure.

Indeed these books did have an impact, even on how I approached all the art I did as a teen, ESPECIALLY the post 1985 Robotech inspired Basilea stuff. That was very influenced by the TTA vibe. No question we had fun joking about the “lame space art” books, kinda good natured poking fun and some of the rather odd concepts in the books but I have to admit I always found something uniquely engaging about them and I still have my copy of Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD, though a tad banged up. I think it was more a shock to Jeff than it was to me he got the gig, I told him he had it right after I read his submission, it really does capture the flavor of the books. For my involvement, it’s kinda crazy to be doing paintings of the ships in those books and designing aliens and tech for it. 360 indeed it seems.

Jeff is right, you ALWAYS were quite the world builder, there’s nothing wrong with patchworks of ideas, only ideas that are unseen.

zszsz said...

unfortunately no one ever let me play their reindeer rpgs (ellis, you bastard!!!*), so i know nearly zip zero zilch about the structure of gaming, but, yeah, i had thought about it in the past as a means of building up the back-story & 8th Nths removed side-side-side character population** for "basilea butter" (as dk's put it in the past) in the past/in the past . . .

i'm usually jealous of stuff that i THINK "i" thought of before, but upon occasioning the morgan site i'm totally jealous of having NOT thought of that "eco" game first . . . at least from a "distance" . . .

oops!!! gotta' freakin' get to a phone booth & turn back into Janitor-Guy for the night . . .

later/best a' luck!

you guys'll 'rock that shit' . . .

:]

* :] . . . sorry, ellis . . .

** & then playing tyrant-god & deciding the over-arching direction of their universe . . . "bwa-ha-ha."