[Important update, please read:
I’m not feeling terribly confident about the trajectory of this crowdfunding attempt. We got off to a fantastic start, but lost a tremendous amount of momentum when the space opera contest ended; I appreciate every order, and I greatly appreciate your continued interest, but I’m trying to figure out a different way to get this novel completed, and to get it to you.
Please remember, you’ll receive a full refund when the project closes in about a month. You get your money back! Please don’t panic!
Right now, as I try to pivot the business model and work to find other publication avenues, I’ve set up a Patreon that will be filled with various short fiction projects, including side pieces dedicated to Over The Stars characters (backstories, exploring secondary characters, exploring earlier periods in the setting to flesh it out).
I would appreciate your consideration there on Patreon, and please stay tuned there and at my writer blog, I’ll be posting updates with the status of OTS as decisions are made and I find a solution. Thank you very much for your support!]
In the distant space of Russell Zimmerman’s Over The Stars, two future-tech nations claw at one another over the resources -- human and otherwise -- that their universe’s many worlds have to offer. Locked in a decades-long war, filling the darkness between the stars with fire and steel, two ideologically-opposed titans vie for intergalactic dominance.
One is the grim, plodding, machine of the People’s Military League. Overseen by a distant First Citizen, lashed forward by ever-present political officers, conscripting into service uncounted millions from uncounted worlds, the People’s League is a massive titan, a lumbering bureaucratic beast, a government-dominated nation of mass-produced weapons and starships, approved literature, worker quotas, and brutal equality. Billing itself as a utopian wonderland where the government sees to every citizen’s need, criticized as one where the citizen sees to the government’s every whim, the People’s Military League is a soul-crushing regime where human lives don’t matter.
Or so their enemies would have you believe.
The People’s Military is as unequal as it is implacable, with officer corps made up of privileged party officials and their favored youth, serving over whole regiments of drafted infantry whose losses could be ignored as rounding errors. They are, inarguably, still human, however. Whether serving out of League pride or fear, ideology or practicality, they all struggle together to survive in this never-ending war. So long as their leaders don’t back down, the People’s Military will flood the star systems with a wall of steel and grim determination that – they are certain, they are told, they are taught – will grind down their hedonistic foes.
Battling against their totalitarian rivals, the Democratic Federation of Worlds is served by two broad branches of military might, in competition with one another as much as with their galactic opposites. The High Protectors are the proud Fleet and Marines, capable of attacking faster-than-light and pouncing from system to system, slashing their way through space to attack, to take ground, to ferry massive ships and hordes of brave fighting men and women from system to system, ever pressing the advantage against their undemocratic foes. The Low Protectors are the Army and the Lunar Guard, lumbering military forces designed for slower, steadier, in-system work. Unencumbered by the bulky, power-hungry, Pritchett-Horn drives that allow for unaided inter-system travel, Lunar Guard ships intercept pirates, defend worlds, and provide fire support to their boots on the ground, while the Army unglamorously holds the planets the Marines take.
And the two, High and Low, can’t stand one another.
Ever desperate for corporate sponsorships and citizen’s approval ratings, the High Protectors and Low Protectors of the DemFed send their brightest young cadets and most talented veterans to duel one another in teams, season in and season out, on a flash-cast show that reaches all their Federation’s worlds. They battle for ratings, for contracts, and for the right to throw themselves into the fray against their People’s Military enemies. Part military academy, part grueling game show, part military-industrial showcase, the show treats DFW citizens to the very best in combat entertainment while the warring teams fight for the approval of the crowds and the corporations, winning the lucrative contracts that keep their respective branches ready to fight against the faceless, nameless, hordes of their ideological opposites. Fueled by cutting-edge tech, the very best humanity has to offer equipping themselves with the very best humanity has to offer, the High Protectors, and Low, are sure to outmaneuver, over-produce, and systematically destroy their enemies. Just ask them.
Over The Stars will tell both sides of both stories; and introduce other outlooks who’ve slipped through the cracks. Chapters will introduce readers to recruitment-poster superstars earning glory for the Fleet and Marines, opposite drafted People’s Military soldiers pressed into service as part of a planetary quota that won’t remember if they live or die, and even credit-starved independents from out-system worlds that the conflict and the star-sprawling governments haven’t yet consumed.
Told through a diverse cast of young men and women -- some hungry for glory, some desperate to stay alive, some wondering if they’re on the right side at all -- Over The Stars will feature a pulse-pounding array of ground combat and sprawling naval battles, claustrophobic city fighting, orbital bombardments, and the mock-combats that reality holo-cast fans insist makes sense of it all. High Protectors and Low Protectors will bicker for attention and approval while the People’s Military and the Democratic Federation strangle one another and fight to the death, dystopian societies will collide and ideologies will war in the cold between the stars, and you’ll have a front row seat to all of it.
Russell Zimmerman – ‘Rusty’ when he’s not working – is the author of dozens of dystopian near-future products already. As a popular writer for the Shadowrun role-playing game, he’s written fan-favorite, best-selling, hits like Neat and Shaken: No Job Too Small, and contributed to popular anthologies like Shadowrun Returns and Shadowrun: World of Shadows. Russell was also the lead writer on the hit crowd-funded (and award-winning) PC game Satellite Reign, along with being the author of its tie-in novella, and has been a longtime RPG freelancer and fiction writer; in short, he knows his way around an action story, a keyboard, and a crowd-funded project.
Join him under harsh neon lights, beneath featureless nationalistic propaganda, and in the cold vastness of space, as he takes you to the heart of an ideological war Over The Stars themselves.