In 2007 one of my absolute favorite podcasts was Decoder Ring Theatre.
A lot of people were using podcasting to reintroduce Old Time Radio shows from the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s like The Shadow, X-Minus One, and Bulldog Drummond… but Decoder Ring was actually creating new ones. Based in Canada and populated by a supremely talented acting troupe, they wrote and produced original series in the vein and exact style of the Golden Age of Radio; the cases of hardboiled dick Jack Justice and Trixie Dixon, Girl Detective; the adventures of masked hero The Red Panda and his sidekick The Flying Squirrel; big audio productions with full casts and great effects… just amazing, transporting content executed superbly well on all fronts.
I was fortunate enough to be asked to create and write two half-hour episodes of literally anything I wanted for their Summer Showcase series. I chose to do a science fiction serial. That serial became Deck Gibson: Far Reach Commander. It was filled with everything you’d expect; bubble helmets and ray guns, rocket ships and jet packs, reptilian space pirates and beautiful alien princesses.
But I also tried to add a little more. My goal wasn’t to write a parody or a satire or a pastiche… it was to write a genuine and truly awesome Golden Age of Radio-style pulp science fiction series. I wanted to combine the style and aesthetic and innocence of the radio plays of the era with the influences and sensibilities of the serialized science fiction I loved today—shows like Farscape that focused so much on the wonders and possibilities of our universe awaiting us Out There.
The series takes place in a future in which Earthlings have become a race of xenophobic conquerors. All contact with alien species is strictly, brutally forbidden. Deck Gibson is an elite fighter pilot in their feared Quasar Corps when his starfighter is blown off course and drifts beyond Earth’s borders. He’s rescued by Control, a mysterious entity who speaks to Deck only as a feminine voice over a comm. She commands the Far Reach Fleet. It’s the mission of the commanders and their interstellar rocket ships to explore, to discover, to defend. Deck becomes the greatest of the Far Reach Commanders and encounters a universe full of wonders neither he nor any Earthling could ever have imagined.
Deck proved so popular in their Summer Showcase that head Decoder Ring honcho Gregg Taylor asked me to come back and write an entire season of the show for their next year’s schedule. I wrote six full-length episodes, including a two-part season finale, all of which were wonderfully cast and gorgeously produced by Gregg and his people. Time constraints and personnel changes/availability prevented us from doing a second season, but I loved the series, and I still do.
I’m not alone. Behind the Failed Cities, it remains the most popular thing I’ve done. I still get e-mails and tweets asking when we’ll see more Deck.
On January 23rd I will be collecting all of my original, unabridged scripts from the entire run of Deck Gibson and releasing them as a new, full-length ebook.
DECK GIBSON: FAR REACH COMMANDER—THE COMPLETE SCRIPTS will also contain brand new content, including the first new Deck Gibson stories since 2008, as well as that absolutely beautiful new cover you see designed and created by Richard Roberts for this edition (I fucking love that thing).
I’m very excited about this book. Like THE FAILED CITIES, it’s been a longtime coming and something I’ve really wanted to see done right. I’ve worked just as hard as I did on the Definitive Edition of that book to give Deck the treatment he and the rest of the gang deserve.
I hope the fans of the original series will dig having this book, as well as the new Deck Gibson stories they’ve been asking for (even if they’re taking a different form). I also hope those of you who aren’t into audio fiction or drama or radio plays will finally be able to enjoy these stories. It’s a big, sprawling, adventurous universe, and they’re a lot of fun to read and create in your head.
I’ll be releasing more details on the contents of the book in the weeks to come. DECK GIBSON: FAR REACH COMMANDER—THE COMPLETE SCRIPTS will be available directly from me as a digital bundle. It will also be available in the Amazon Kindle Store.
Come fly with me, kids.