author of Heavy Metal Thunder series
There are many different Kyle B. Stiffs in many different realities. Most of those realities have been devoured by beings beyond comprehension. How many worlds has Kyle B. Stiff inhabited only to watch the ground beneath his feet break apart and dissolve into a sort of between-channels static?
How many times has he thought to himself:
Of course, Kyle B. Stiff’s prayer would inevitably end around there as his body was shredded on the molecular level and absorbed by hyperdimensional demon-gods from the shining abyss.
But in this world, Kyle B. Stiff has the chance to write two different epic series, one called Heavy Metal Thunder, the other called Demonworld, which can be found in several different versions all over the internet.
SOME WORDS FROM THE AUTHOR
What is Heavy Metal Thunder, and why would someone want to play it?
Heavy Metal Thunder is a gamebook. It’s a hybrid that merges the strengths of two different mediums, so you’ve got the immersive experience of reading and losing yourself in a detailed story as well as the character customization, inventory management, and life-or-death struggle that only a really powerful game can deliver. The story isn’t linear; the player has to make choices every few paragraphs. Do you take this path or another? Take this item or leave it behind? Cooperate with this shifty stranger or gun him down?
It would appeal to anyone who wants to lose themselves in a gritty sci-fi space age war story. The protagonist is a soldier, a jetpack infantryman separated from his comrades. Alien invaders have taken over our solar system and things look bleak for the human resistance.
The protagonist has to investigate a ruined space station, travel through space with meager supplies, deal with the half-crazed inhabitants of the asteroid belt, avoid hyper-militaristic aliens trained to hunt and kill humans… and then things get really crazy. It’s a long adventure, and every reader is bound to have a different experience!
How did you get the idea for Heavy Metal Thunder?
I got the idea for Heavy Metal Thunder the same way most writers get ideas for their books: After a bout with viral meningitis, I had a botched spinal tap and ended up leaking precious spinal fluid. I was bedridden and nauseous for a week and retreated into a dreamlike state. One of my “visions” was soldiers in space wearing black armor flying around on jetpacks and fighting with hand-to-hand weapons. There were large, dark ships firing red lasers across the battlefield. The scene was silent. I could see the red flare of jetpacks, whirling faceless warriors, then the rush of freezing mist as faceplates were smashed open. It was very cool and totally worth the spinal tap. Instead of shelving the idea, I gave it some space to breathe, and it grew into the story of a grunt soldier who starts out fairly weak and confused but turns into an unstoppable badass who would do anything to wake up his species and fight back against an alien invasion.
Do you have any ideas for sequels?
Way ahead of you! Cubus already has the text for Heavy Metal Thunder Book 2: Sol Invictus. Not only is HMT only the first part of a larger series, I already have the entire series planned. That’s just how I roll. There will be nine books plus a special “book zero” prequel. And yes, I already have the endings for the final book in mind. I recently heard that the writers of a popular sci-fi videogame series didn’t have an ending in mind even as they were working on the final installment – and a lot of gamers didn’t like the ending. This seems completely crazy to me; a story’s climax is just as important as that initial “Once upon a time…” moment. You can’t build up an epic series and then just “wing it” at the end! Just as a seed contains a tree which is cut down to build a baseball bat which can be used as a weapon in a vigilante slaying against an evil-doer who’s always one step ahead of the law, the end has to be contained in the beginning.
Why so dark? Heavy Metal Thunder can get seriously dark!
A lot of sci-fi stories show how our lives are improved by fancier technology, but I like the idea that people will always suffer and strive against impossible odds no matter how fancy their phones are. The people in Heavy Metal Thunder lost the initial war against the Invaders because they lost their edge, their fighting spirit, and that spirit has to go through hell if it’s ever going to shine like a diamond.
Heavy Metal Thunder takes its influences from dark science fiction; more Metabarons than Star Trek. It’s also got an edge to it, a unique brand of violence that comes straight out of the sound of heavy metal itself.
And that’s not so crazy, is it? What value is heroism if life is good and better technology is only going to make life easier? The way I see it, heroism only makes sense in a world of darkness.
What was it like working with Cubus Games?
If aliens come to our world and they aren’t interested in handshakes and cultural exchanges and our cities are turned into smoking piles of rubble, I would want these guys on my team of guerilla warriors. They know what it’s like to cultivate a dream, get knocked down, and then get right back up because the dream is worth fighting for. I’ve been involved in a lot of crazy projects over the years, and I can say without reservation that the ability to keep going even when things look extremely difficult is the most important card to have in your deck of tricks. (Good looks would be second and a completely silent motorcycle with multi-colored neon lights would be third.)
I knew these guys were good, and I admired their spirit because it was the same as my own, but I have to admit that when the project really started coming together and I saw samples of art, music, and bits of gameplay, I was blown away. When I played the beta version, I was humbled to find out that I had been working with stone-cold masterminds capable of creating – and I say this without pride – what can only be called the greatest gamebook ever made by the human species.
I knew that if these guys weren’t on my side, I would have to have them killed. They’re simply too dangerous otherwise.