Hopjockey

Created by Matt Vancil

Sandy has a problem—aside from the cancer. No one on campus believes he saw the ghost building. And why would they? It's a stupid legend—no one really believes the Old Admin building vanished in the 70s—and what Sandy saw was right after he restarted chemo. Clearly he was hallucinating. That would explain it. What it doesn't explain is the postcard Sandy found in his dorm room the night the building appeared—or why the girl on the postcard appears to be the barista down at the Hub. You know, the girl he's in love with. Turns out she's a hopjockey—a cross-world troublemaker—and she's been looking for him. Or rather, she's been looking for who she thinks he is. She's mistaken him for Garrett—Sandy's genius roommate, likely this generation's Einstein—and needs his help reading a map beyond all comprehension. Weighing his heart against the truth, and not wanting to miss what may be his only real chance for adventure, Sandy does what anyone might have done in that situation: he lies. And as a result, triggers a series of events that will destroy the campus (and the rest of the universe).

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Proof
2 months ago – Fri, Sep 14, 2018 at 02:36:49 AM

It's here!

The proof is finally here! It arrived a little banged up, just like its writer, but not a word was knocked out of place.

Front cover. Artwork by Jacob Blackmon.
Front cover. Artwork by Jacob Blackmon.
A peek at the text. Layout by Kº Wiley.
A peek at the text. Layout by Kº Wiley.
Back cover. Artwork by Jacob Blackmon, layout by Kº Wiley.
Back cover. Artwork by Jacob Blackmon, layout by Kº Wiley.
For comparison
For comparison

We ordered the gloss cover for the proof, but after seeing and feeling it we’ll be going with the matte finish for the print run. I find the tactility of a matte cover more aesthetically pleasing—helps you keep a grip on it. Plus, unlike a gloss cover, it won’t occasionally blind you if the light hits it just right.

The next step is placing the order for the pint run. And after that, shipment! We are in the final stretch. Or the penultimate one, at least.

56 hours left to back The Fatal Frontier

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the campaign for the next novel, The Fatal Frontier, concludes in just over two days. As of this writing, the Kickstarter is 83% funded, which is a good place to be for the final push. If you’ve been holding off backing, now’s the time to do it, as the tick tocks are in short supply. And if this is the first you’re heading of the project, you can read a preview chapter at the campaign site.

Thank you, one and all, for your patience and support. We're almost there!

—Matt

A Pair of Previews
3 months ago – Fri, Aug 24, 2018 at 05:33:08 PM

Hopjockey Cover in Progress

Some exciting news today, on a couple of fronts. First and foremost, layout is complete! All that’s left is to finalize the cover art (see below), order a proof, and then publish the bastard.

Here’s a peek at the front and back covers. To match the throwback theme of the novel, we looked to the box art of the old Infocom text-based games for inspiration. We’re still toying with it, but here’s what we’ve got so far.

front cover
front cover
back cover
back cover

When it’s done, this would feel right at home alongside my copies of Trinity and Leather Goddesses of Phobos. (I fib. My copy of LGOP was a bootleg. That I got when I was eight. I set that sucker to lewd and played the crap out of it and that’s probably more than you need to know about my formative years.)


The Next Campaign

I went back and forth over whether to start a new campaign before Hopjockey was in your hands. But after consultation with the producers of JourneyQuest on the production schedule and with the semester approaching, this was the only window of opportunity, so I’m diving through it.

I’ve broken ground on my next novel, The Fatal Frontier. It’s set in a familiar future where our technology’s advanced but our ethics haven’t. The redder your shirt, the shorter your life expectancy. You can download the preview chapter at one of these links, or read it online:

The Kickstarter campaign runs from now until September 15.

ONWARD!

—Matt

Helping a Friend in Need
4 months ago – Fri, Jul 27, 2018 at 09:26:23 PM

Hi, folks.

This is not something I normally do, but a friend of many of us is in need, and I wanted to pass on the specifics.

You may know of Lee Garvin. He’s a game designer with some 30 years of experience and the creator of a slew of staples in the tabletop industry. Tales from the Floating Vagabond, possibly his seminal work, remains one of (if not the) best comedy RPGs out there. It was a huge influence on Hopjockey, right up there with The Hitchhiker’s Guide and Leather Goddesses of Phobos. Lee himself is as warm and fuzzy as he looks. We hit it off immediately and have been friends as long as I’ve been on the convention circuit.

The year has not been kind to Lee. He’s going through a quintessentially American kind of horror: as a homeless veteran crippled by medical expenses. He managed to get out of a bad situation and limp his way to Colorado, but he and his dog are barely getting by.

One thing the year hasn’t taken from Lee is his sense of humor. And that’s how he’s allowing his friends to ask for help on his behalf. Fellow game designer Greg Porter has a project up on Kickstarter right now—Killing Lee Garvin: Help a Real-World Game Designer in Need—designed to the exact opposite of its name. Proceeds from the game go towards paying Lee’s medical bills and helping him get back on his feet.

If you’re in a position to help, please consider chipping in a few bucks. If not, you can at least spread the word. Lee’s brought a lot of joy to a lot of people over the years, and the very least we can do is help boost the signal.

Matt

Into Layout
4 months ago – Wed, Jul 25, 2018 at 12:35:28 AM

Just a quick update today, but quite the logjam breaker. The editing and copyediting phases are complete! The manuscript and all its supporting materials—cover art, front matter, back cover text and so on—are off to layout. From there, it's a hop, skip, and a jump to duplication and shipping. (Get it? Hop? 'Cause of the whole…? With the…? Forget it.)

The next time you hear from me, I’ll have a proof to show you. In the meantime, here’s a picture of something that may or may not be the manuscript. We’re almost there, gang.

Totally the novel, not just a ream of paper with scribbled-on topsheet.
Totally the novel, not just a ream of paper with scribbled-on topsheet.

—Matt

Quickstarter Update
6 months ago – Thu, May 31, 2018 at 11:40:52 PM

A brief bit of good news for you today. The editing process is finally, mercifully, nearly complete! We are in the final phases of the copyediting process, after which the draft will be off to layout, and then to proofs and printing. I expect to have the book out to you this summer.

Thank you all for your patience. It's been a slog, but we're almost there. Happy hopping! That will make more sense once you have the book.

—Matt