Archive for the ‘Gemini Force One’ Category
Posted on April 22, 2014 - by MG
Y’all know what a ma-hoosive geek I am. Blake’s 7, Doctor Who, Thunderbirds, to say nothing of X-Files, Babylon 5, Star Trek DS9, Battlestar Galactica. Yes, I’ve been to conventions, written fan fiction, edited and published a fanzine, stalked actors to the stage door, yes, I admit it all.
Never done filking or cosplay, but that’s a general rule in life. I’m the one who turns up to the fancy dress party in my own clothes. (Except when my hosts lend me an outfit…) Effort.
So IMAGINE MY JOY to be invited to not one but TWO scif-fi conventions this year already, to discuss the exciting new project GERRY ANDERSON’S GEMINI FORCE ONE!
The first was BritSciFi at the National Space Centre in Leicester. Jamie and I did a Q+A about GF1, showed a whizzy presentations with videos and images (some secret, for now!) and I read an as-yet unreleased excerpt of the final manuscript for BLACK HORIZON to a small but very receptive audience (thank you for that, Anderfans!).
I then dashed off to sit in the audience of the Blake’s 7 panel discussion over in another room, apparently having missed some shenanigans in which one actor objected vigorously to having photos taken by members of the audience.
After spending time in Anderson Alley, exhibition space devoted to the shows and models of the worlds of Gerry’s shows, I then spent an absolutely delightful evening in the company of Jackie and Diane from Horizon, the official Blake’s 7 fan club, to which I was a signed up member in the 1980s and 90s.
Then this last weekend, was the very exciting first ever Anderson Entertainment convention – ANDERCON – dedicated to all of Gerry Anderson’s marvellous productions. Even more excitement for me as I finally met and hung out (!) with many Anderfans that I’ve met via Facebook, brilliant backers of our Kickstarter campaign for GF1, as well as the wonderful Andrew Probert, Hollywood designer extraordinaire, who has been working with Team Gemini to bring Gerry’s ideas for the design of GF1 to reality.
Like BritSciFi, Andercon was run by Mark Dando and Tom Huang of Basestar, which was brilliant because these two guys are totally charming and exactly the guys you want to see when you arrive at a convention. I must admit that I was blown away with the whole look-and-feel of the convention. All the exhibition spaces and the lobby were decorated with wonderfully presented artwork, photos of Gerry, original art, photos and graphics from the shows. It was easy to see how wraparound the Anderson universe could easily be – an Anderson theme park wouldn’t have a single boring corner. (WHY ISN’T THERE ONE?)
I didn’t have too much time available, so I decided to spend it as much as possible with fans, collaborators like Andrew Probert, Henry Gewanter (our press supremo), Dave from IDOTV (who designed one of the Easter egg websites for GF1 as well as more to come…), Phil Ford, lead writer for TV shows NEW CAPTAIN SCARLET,SARAH JANE ADVENTURES and DOCTOR WHO. Even my literary agent Robert Kirby managed a supportive swing-by to attend our GF1 event and to chat.
There was real excitement for me in the green room (where I hung out with the TERRAHAWKS team, comicbook artist Lee Sullivan and the actual Nicholas Parsons yes!), as well as Matt Zimmerman (THUNDERBIRDS) and Dave Graham (Parker!), and Georgina Moon from UFO (Uncle Johny! I met Georgina Moon! She’s lovely. )
There are lots of photos and some videos on the Andercon 2014 Facebook page. I now have a lovely collection of photos of puppets and models. Gorgeous! (I wanted to play with them!)
Anyway, I guess this post is probably a bit tiresome by now. I went to some cons and you didn’t, right?
Well, what do you expect? I was getting my geek on good and proper.
Posted on February 4, 2014 - by MG
What an amazing whirlwind is the GF1 ride…
It began in summer of 2013, when Jamie Anderson first suggested that we take his dad, Gerry Anderson’s final project – GEMINI FORCE ONE to Kickstarter. By that point I’d been working on the project for about ten months, from just before Gerry’s death in Dec 2012, and intermittently through the year.
Via my agent, Robert Kirby, we’d had some feedback from publishers. They loved the idea, but couldn’t see where to position it. Was it a book for an adult trade publisher, who could get the book next to the Doctor Who and Star Trek books in the shops? Was it a book for teenagers, or young children, 6-9?
Through it all, we stood firm by Gerry’s original vision. Family entertainment, with key adult characters and a young lead, Ben Carrington who followed in the footsteps of his heroic mother. (A character that Gerry envisaged as a grown-up Lara Croft with a teenage son!)
We had absolute faith in the love that people all over the world felt for Gerry Anderson, and felt sure that there’d be enough support from them to allow us to get the first book into print.
So we took the project to Kickstarter. After a frenetic month of preparation, commissioning art, planning and recording promotional videos, running spreadsheets of costs and rewards while we communicated between London, Cornwall and Oxfordshire, Jamie and I put together the campaign. Mainly Jamie!
And for only the third time in my life, my hopes and expectations were completely exceeded! News stories about the Kickstarter campaign appeared in major newspapers, sci-fi magazines and podcasts. Insane!
A super-high profile donor came in with a huge donation, slightly pseudonymous, but we soon found out the real identity.
We hit our target with more than a week to go…then things stalled…we bit our nails to the quick, watching every day…we added a bunch of new rewards, including lots of Joshua Files clobber, and then as the end date loomed into view, the donations began to roll in.
By then, every reward level had gone – except one. No-one had stumped for the dedication. I was, I’ll admit, secretly a bit relieved because in my mind, I had already reserved the dedication for someone – who else but Gerry Anderson?!
October 5th arrived and we stopped collecting donations at £33,463, over 30% above out original target! I’d already started writing beyond the three first chapters, and ace designer Andrew Probert had already started work on design of the key installation of GEMINI FORCE ONE – the base itself.
We were on target.
Meanwhile, however, our efforts to bring worldwide attention to GF1 had not gone unnoticed. A few London publishers started making inquiries. So, we brought Robert Kirby back onto the task of selling the global rights to publish GF1. He was soon taking meetings, phone calls, sending partial manuscripts around, until finally, he found the right match.
Orion Publishing Group called the three of us in for a meeting. I’d never been to a meeting quite like it – the MD of Orion General led the meeting, and introduced us to the key marketing professionals from both Gollancz (Orion’s genre imprint) and Orion Children’s Books, as well as Amber Caraveo, the Editorial Director of Orion Children’s Books who’d first seen the potential in GF1.
We were bowled over by Orion’s cross-imprint vision for how they would bring Gerry Anderson’s GEMINI FORCE ONE into the world. We knew we’d found the right partner in this publishing venture.
When Jamie and Orion announced the deal last week, we were thrilled to see so much media coverage. Starburst! SFX! Scifi Bulletin! There was a real feeling that people want to see this happen, want to see Gerry’s name out there again, his imaginary worlds as the setting for 21st century adventure.
And I get to write the stories. HOW COOL IS THAT?
Posted on September 20, 2013 - by MG
When it comes to details of the plot, vehicles and characters in Gemini Force One, we’re trying to keep our powder dry. If you’ve backed the Kickstarter project (thank you!) or if you’ve liked the GF1 Facebook page, you can also see updates including excerpts (read by me!) and character biographies (including head-and-shoulder sketch portraits).
This is a fully-planned book project that is ready to go into production. And although there’s a detailed plan for the entire first novel, if I get any even better ideas, they can still make it in. Last night, for example, after a two-hour plot workshop I led with the Group 2012 writers at Blackwell’s, Oxford, I came up with an additional plot twist. Oooh. Me like twisty plots.
Here’s a video of Jamie Anderson and I answering GEMINI FORCE ONE questions from backers and from Anderfans.
Over 75% funded now. WE STILL NEED MORE! Please visit our Kickstarter page, have a browse and maybe give us a few bob? Thanks!
Posted on September 18, 2013 - by MG
Have you been watching my tweets and Facebook updates? If so, you may have seen some of the AMAZING progress made in the campaign to complete and launch an unfinished project by one of my heroes from childhood – Gerry Anderson. At the time of writing this, the wonderful Anderson fans have pledged £15,659 towards our target of £24,350.
In preparing to write GEMINI FORCE ONE, I had to do a lot of thinking. Not just about the plot but about how I, as a completely new writer to the project, would find my way into it. I’m not Gerry Anderson, after all. Even with the notes, audio fragments and chapters he’d left while working on the project in the last years of his life, it’s not the same as being able to talk to Gerry in person.
Before I could agree to take on the project, I had to know two things: something about Gerry’s inner reason for writing these stories. And to understand how they worked from the inside.
With the first thing: a writer doesn’t always know WHY they write about something. But talking to Gerry’s son Jamie, we were able to find reasons, from things that Gerry has said, and from things that have happened in his life, which may well be behind his particular fascination with the ‘formula’ behind so many of his TV shows.
(No I’m not going to tell you what we decided! That’s all part of the mysterious process by which we create!)
On the second issue, understanding how these stories work from the inside, I started to think about the parallels with my own work. A question I’m often asked is about my own influences. I make some guesses, but the truth is that a lifetime of influences go into a story. So with Joshua Files I may be conscious of trying to channel INDIANA JONES, JAMES BOND, THE BOURNE IDENTITY. But that’s not all that goes into the pot. You probably need to go earlier and younger into my set of influences.
When I sat down to think about it, there were many eerie similarities with THUNDERBIRDS and THE JOSHUA FILES. Things that no-one – including me – had spotted until now.
And I’m not the only one who owes a debt to Gerry Anderson…
Posted on September 5, 2013 - by MG
The project I’ve referred to as Thrilling New Project is a collaboration – between the late, great, AMAZING Gerry Anderson, creator of classic sci-fi adventure shows as Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlett, Space 1999, UFO and many more – and little ol’ me!
In the last few years of Gerry’s life he’d started working on something new – a series of books about a new rescue agency – GEMINI FORCE. He’d imagined a massive semi-submersible platform that would rise majestically out of the sea, beaming powerful blue lights into the sky – the secret base, GEMINI FORCE ONE. However, although he was able to draft story lines, chapters, character descriptions and an outline plot for the first adventure, Alzheimer’s disease soon made it extremely difficult for him to make any more progress.
Gerry’s family wanted to fulfill this wish, so they began looking around for a writer who might be able to complete the first book and to continue the series with the same philosophy that imbued all of Gerry’s work – a blend of action, adventure, hi-technology, tension and ultimate human drama.
When the Anderson Estate asked me if I’d be interested in the project, I was thrilled beyond belief! Gerry was still alive back then (last year) and I was so excited at the prospect of meeting and maybe even working with such a master of entertainment. Not only that but I recognized just what a debt I and many authors like me owe to Gerry Anderson.
I can remember exactly what it felt like to watch his shows – my personal favourites were THUNDERBIRDS, SPACE 1999 and later, TERRAHAWKS. The spirit of adventure that imbued them, the production values and loving attention to detail, especially engineering and science, impressed me deeply. And inspired me!
SO – to have a chance to take over the work of such a tremendous, personal influence on my own work – can you imagine?!
I’ve been keeping this project under wraps for months now. Gerry’s passing was obviously a huge blow to the family. GERRY ANDERSON’S GEMINI FORCE ONE, however, already had enough Anderson DNA to have a life of its own.
That’s why today at 9.30am, Anderson Entertainment launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money from Anderson fans, my readers, and adventure readers all over the world, to get GERRY ANDERSON’S GEMINI FORCE ONE published just the way Gerry wanted – a contemporary sci-fi adventure series for the young AND the young-at-heart (meaning, people like me!)
Please follow our Kickstarter campaign to find out more about:
- GEMINI FORCE ONE – regular video updates about the project, background and its future (all in your hands!)
- Amazing rewards for our beloved backersAlso to give us feedback, please! We might be able to dig out more items for the rewards – just let us know what you might like. (within reason, please! We’re not going to be able to take you to Disneyland or anything like that…GEMINI FORCE ONE can only happen with YOUR help! IT’S YOUR DECISION. You can also help by letting all your friends know about GERRY ANDERSON’S GEMINI FORCE ONE. Tweet with the hashtag #gf1Follow @GerryAndersonTV, @RealMGHarris and #gf1 Tweet it, everyone! Tweet like the wind!