Peter Telep, and Pilgrim's Truth, and researching the legal issues.

Valiento

Rear Admiral
I sent an email to Peter Telep asking him for updates on Pilgrim Truth and this is what he had to say;

Hi:
My copy of the book is on an old computer that I need to back up, so give me some time to do that. I haven't done anything for fear of being sued by the people who hold the licensee. I've told fans to try to research this for me (I haven't the time--working on more books) but I haven't heard back. And that's where we stand. Trust me, I'd love to see this thing get out. It's a nearly 500 page manuscript, if I recall. They paid me for it, but it never saw print! pt

Peter Telep
Department of English
University of Central Florida
Office: 407-823-3682
Ptelep@aol.com
So he would still like to get it in print, and he's waiting for some fans to research the legal issues surrounding getting it released in some fashion.

So is there any Wing Commander fans out there with good legal backgrounds, that are willing to do the research he needs? It could finally lead to the story being released to the public, and finally finishing the story.
 

Valiento

Rear Admiral
more news

Well, Peter Telep has just let me know he has backed up the novel on his new computer;

Backed up and ready to rock n' roll. All 398 pages of it! pt​

Now all we need is someone to look into the legal issues, of maybe getting it released by a publisher as an e-book at the least (perhaps with the first 2 books sold as e-books as well). If we are lucky, we can find a publisher willing reprint the books along with Pilgrim Truth in paperback, with EA's permission of course.

Third option is getting EA to give Peter Telep permission to make the novel public domain.

Until then he's been nice enough to give me the prologue chapter, if anyone wants to read it;

Pilgrim Truth Chapter 00 (Prologue)

Book Synopses
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
That's great news. I e-mailed Mr. Telep with some followup a while back but never heard anything - it's possible (to the point of probable) that he never got my message, as AOL is sure @wcnews.com addresses are spam.

If you could pass this post along to him, that'd be great. Basically, releasing the novel online isn't a problem for the people who hold the rights to WC and the separate movie license (EA and Chris, respectively). The only unknown at present is HarperCollins - whom we have no access to. We need to know what their contract re: the novels was, if that's something he's worried about. (My personal understanding is that the department that licensed the WC novels no longer exists, and that Harper{Variable} doesn't even know they ever owned them...).

As for publishing the novels, we came up with two options. We're willing to put up the cost for one of those vanity-style publishers (xlibris.com is an example) in order to print the book... *or* we'd be willing to take up a collection among the community to raise whatever value is set for releasing the book freely online.

The latter is easier and safer, in my mind - at least for Mr. Telep. (Traditional e-books would be a third option, but we're not really equiped to do it safely, especially given such a small sales base. My fear would be that he'd sell two copies and then there'd be bootlegs everywhere.)

Anyway, the variable factor is his contract with HarperCollins - we've been assured by EA that they'll look the other way if the book is released among fandom (in the same way that they're willing to ignore releases like End Run online, given that they can no longer be released legally).
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Mmm, well, my researched seemed to indicate that your average book contract would involve contingencies for a novel not being published (to the tune of rights automatically reverting back to the author after three years). I'm just not sure if that applies to books like movie adaptations or not...
 

Valiento

Rear Admiral
On a similar note has anyone tried contacting Forstchen to see if he was willing to get the two books he wrote that never went to print, out to the fan community?

CIC: Do you plan to write further novels in the WC series?
Forstchen: There's two books in the works right now, both will be delivered to our publisher, Jim Baen, within a month. One book deals with events that transpire in the weeks between the end of "Heart of the Tiger" and the start of "Price of Freedom." I bring back my old hero Jason and tie him in with events out on the frontier and the prospect of a break away action by some of the frontier worlds.

Here is his website for anyone interested;

Official Website

Though I can't seem to find any contact information there. Does anyone know of any?
 

LeHah

212 Squadron - "The Old Man's Eyes And Ears"
Those books were Action Stations and False Colors. The later is the one he describes - Andrew Keith died before he was able to start on his WC novels.
 

Valiento

Rear Admiral
I see. I guess it was just a bit confusing since the interview was listed under the "False Colors" link, and I only read the interview parts. I mistakenly thought it was referring to some books written after "false colors".

I didn't notice the notation, "The below are segments from old interviews".

So I guess that Pilgrim Truth truly is the last unreleased wing commander novel?
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Mr. Forstchen has stated that he isn't interested in writing any more Wing Commander novels - he says he'd rather write in instances where he has more creative control (which is certainly understandable; look at what a great job he did with Tolwyn, only to have the character ruined in Wing 4). As you've since noted, that interview is very old - though he does mention the possibility of writing a followup to Action Stations (Tolwyn at Enyo?).

Baen has also been fairly negative towards the series, possibly because they didn't recieve the movie novel deal, possibly because they don't think they can sell the books without a new game... or just because of other trouble they had (there may be some bad blood over the TPoF novel delays).

(Frankly, I think there were some serious wasted opportunities with the WC novels -- in one of his old Byte columns, Jerry Pournelle specifically says he has a great idea for a Privateer novel he'd like to write. How awesome would that have been?)

As for unpublished stuff, Pilgrim Truth is fairly unique in that it's a completed novel (though there are several unpublished WC games - Prophecy DVD, WC2 SNES and WC3 Saturn are the big ones). Andrew Keith had spoke of a False Colors being the start of a post-war trilogy, followed with a story about Murragh returning to power and then a story about a war between Confed and the Landreich... but none of that was arranged by Baen/Origin, and Mr. Keith died before it could really go anywhere.

It was rumored years and years ago (circa 1993?) that Ellen Guon was working on a direct followup to Freedom Flight... I'm not sure if that was true, as those rumors may have been referring to End Run... but that might be worth asking around about.
 

Edfilho

Cry some more!
Andrew Keith had spoke of a False Colors being the start of a post-war trilogy, followed with a story about Murragh returning to power and then a story about a war between Confed and the Landreich... but none of that was arranged by Baen/Origin, and Mr. Keith died before it could really go anywhere.

This makes a lot of sense, FC really feels like a set up for further development. Kinda like episode 4 =)

The new main characters are introduced but with space left for more details in future books, and the threat of the bad kat raider is not dealt with in a definitive manner. It was a good book, all in all.

And I do agree with LOAF when he says that WC4 Tolwyn probably pissed Forstchen off. That surelly wasn't the thing he had in mind for the character. I'm aware that FC was written AFTER WC4, but unfortunately the reasons Forstchen presented there for his strange personality shift were not enough... Well, he didn't like this change anyway, I figure that C. Roberts and Forstchen aways had different plans for our favorite admiral. Maybe WC4 wasted a perfectly good character, maybe they should have used another admiral for the role... but then again, it wouldn't have the same impact and strength. All we can do is wonder.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Mr. Keith was happy to hang out with the fans on IRC, and he talked a little about his ideas - False Colors does seem to have a lot of the setup for those stories. He introduced a lot of concepts (Richards "death", the Kilrathi prince, etc.) that he wanted to follow up on.

(Another factor in Forstchen's lack of interest in the franchise: was apparently offered the movie novel contract, but turned it down as it was less money than he made for the various game books.)

Anal sidenote: Chris Roberts didn't write Wing Commander IVs story - Tolwyn's fate was decided by Terry Borst and Frank DePalma (plus the availability of Malcolm McDowell). Chris just directed the video sequences. It'd be nice to say that Chris Roberts had some overarching plot for Tolwyn, but he really wasn't involved in his creation (Ellen Guon gets that credit, IIRC) or his end. :)
 

Edfilho

Cry some more!
Mr. Keith was happy to hang out with the fans on IRC, and he talked a little about his ideas - False Colors does seem to have a lot of the setup for those stories. He introduced a lot of concepts (Richards "death", the Kilrathi prince, etc.) that he wanted to follow up on.
It is indeed pretty sad that he died. This trilogy would've been pretty cool. Lot's of ground not covered in games.

Anal sidenote: Chris Roberts didn't write Wing Commander IVs story - Tolwyn's fate was decided by Terry Borst and Frank DePalma (plus the availability of Malcolm McDowell). Chris just directed the video sequences. It'd be nice to say that Chris Roberts had some overarching plot for Tolwyn, but he really wasn't involved in his creation (Ellen Guon gets that credit, IIRC) or his end.

Good to know that. Anyways, I may correct my previous statement by saying that "Forstchen and the game writers had different plans for Tolwyn." Guess this should be right then =)
 

Benjamin

Rear Admiral
I'm curious as to what involvement Chris Roberts did have with the story’s in the Wing Commander universe, any of them.

Also, is there any info available on those unreleased versions of the games?
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I'm curious as to what involvement Chris Roberts did have with the story’s in the Wing Commander universe, any of them.

Officially, his only writing credit is Third Draft Rewrite for the Wing Commander movie. Anything relating to the FMV would be regulated by the WGA, so everything from WC3 on should be fairly accurate in terms of credits.

The only other place he really deserves writing credit is for the original Wing Commander. He was one of three people who developed the original squadron proposal, much of which went on to form the background fiction of the Wing Commander universe (hence his 'characters' credit on WCA).

(This isn't meant to trivialize his role in Wing Commander. Chris Roberts was responsible for all sorts of things people generally don't appreciate - the basic look and feel of the games were ultimately his... but he really doesn't have anything to do with creating the fiction.)

Also, is there any info available on those unreleased versions of the games?

Some!


WC2 SNES is the most interesting in my mind - because its gameplay was developed from the ground up, similar to that of WC3 3DO. Here's an article I scanned about it from way back when, including a few screenshots:

https://www.wcnews.com/loaf/lj/snes1.jpg
https://www.wcnews.com/loaf/lj/snes2.jpg

Color VDUs! Neat stuff. I've talked to half a dozen people who worked on the project... and none of them still have a copy. The game was completed, put on a cartridge and sent off to Pony Canyon in Japan. This was 1995, when the SNES was dying, and there just wasn't enough interest to actually publish it. I'm still hunting!

WCP DVD was done by the same guys who did WCIV DVD (Daylight). It was a single sided disc that had high res versions of all of Prophecy's videos. There are a few copies out there - the minute I get my hands on one I'll start making copies (of the videos, at the very least) for people.

I don't know much about WCIII Saturn. It was to be part of EA's 'second tier' Saturn launch. It was reportedly close to completed when EA gave up on the Saturn (along with everyone else in the world). Other console ports that were in various stages of completion when their respective consoles failed were WC4 3DO, WC3 and 4 M2 and WC4 Saturn. WC4 3DO may also have been close, though I don't have any solid data. I include WC3 Saturn as one of my big three because EA actually demo'd it at trade shows...
 
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Benjamin

Rear Admiral
WC2 SNES is the most interesting in my mind - because its gameplay was developed from the ground up, similar to that of WC3 3DO. Here's an article I scanned about it from way back when, including a few screenshots:

Thanks for those! Very Interesting! If it werent for the wierd cockpits (square radar?), I'd swear those shots were from the PC version


Other console ports that were in various stages of completion when their respective consoles failed were WC4 3DO, WC3 and 4 M2 and WC4 Saturn

It would have been interesting to see the M2 ports, if anything was actually done with regards to programming. I’m not sure how far the M2 actually got, or weather many development kits were sent out. I’ve seen screenshots online somewhere from a game which was supposed to be in development for the M2 and they do look quite impressive (for the time), certainly beyond anything that the playstation could have produced. It would have been interesting to see how the Wing Commander games would have looked.

I include WC3 Saturn as one of my big three because EA actually demo'd it at trade shows...

I vaguely remember seeing screenshots of it on the Origin website years ago, it would have been interesting to see how it played. I know the Saturn wasn’t as capable as the Playstation back in the day, so in optimising it to run on the Saturn it may have changed quite a bit
 

AdmiralHuang

Spaceman
Bandit LOAF said:
Anyway, the variable factor is his contract with HarperCollins - we've been assured by EA that they'll look the other way if the book is released among fandom (in the same way that they're willing to ignore releases like End Run online, given that they can no longer be released legally).

What's this about End Run being available? I can't find a copy in any store locally.
 
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