Galactic Trader - Index

Galactic Trader is a novel in progress by Michael R. Vickery ( 2020, all rights reserved).

For a little background, when I was in college in 1990 my friends got me hooked on a network game called GalTrader. It was pretty tame by modern standards: low-quality graphics for VT100 terminals, command-prompt interface and a few random NPC algorythms. You started with 200k credits to buy a ship and cargo. The standard ship cost was roughly 190k, but you could buy a cheaper ship (depending on availability) with less cargo space but more weaponry. Then you bought goods and tried to jump to a world where they were more valuable. Along the way you fought or dodged pirates, alien craft and superwarships, tried to sneak through high-risk zones where prices were likely to be better and upgrade your craft (or buy a better one) with the money you made from your runs. You could turn pirate yourself or a PC-killer, or you could just mine asteroids for raw material (sometimes gold) if you were down on your luck.

This environment attracted like-minded gaming/computer geeks, and we banded together as a group of roaming pirates. We ganged up on the NPC GalPol ships, took out battleships and starbases and occasionally dropped energy bombs that went out of control and destroyed planets. Then I got in touch with another group playing the same game in another school, and found the secret for the super-user code. We proceeded to hack the game and set ourselves up with ships that were literal player-killers and became the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I was, of course, Pestilence. I terrorized the game and reveled in it. Then I wrote a short story, naming my character Joe Isuzu and described how he came to this level of technology that allowed him to fly the spaceways like a god.

The curious part about this tale is that this story was the first time I'd written a character that wasn't perfect. I made him quirky and a little insecure, a regular Joe (no pun intended) who happened on a secret and a way to take advantage of it that no one else had considered before. Oh, and of course he had a smart-ass on-board computer that tweaked him when he needed it. It wasn't that well-written but it was fun.

Now, ten years later, I'm thinking about this story again and realizing I've never really forgotten it. Of course, Asimov and Niven and all sorts of people have explored this theme in science fiction. This is hardly new territory, or even unfamiliar territory. But it's a powerful image in my head, and I'm hoping I can bring a new slant to an old theme. As I finish chapters, I'll post them. As I make corrections, I'll update the existing chapters as well. Any and all feedback, positive and negative, are GREATLY appreciated. No matter how negative the comment, if it helps me improve my story I'll accept it gratefully.

Update: 8 February 2002

After a hiatus of almost a year without writing much of anything, I suddenly got the bug to get back into the story. Within a few days I'd finished Chapter 3 and started in on Chapter 4. I apologize to those of you who are frustrated with me, but I'm afraid my writing can get sporadic. It's further complicated by the fact that I've moved to Australia and have yet to build a new computer for myself. I'm on my wife's computer which is quite adequate for writing except when she wants to use it. It's only fair, since it belongs to her.

Update: 1 December 2004

Almost three years. I'm sure most everyone has given up on me by now. Frankly, I don't blame you. However, in a lame attempt to make up for this fact I have Chapters 5 and 6 up now. After three frustrating years in Australia, I'm back in the States for work again. Hopefully soon I'll be able to bring my family over to join me. In the meanwhile, I've been doing a lot of writing. Maybe I'll be able to keep up some decent output.

Update: 15 May 2017

You may or may not have noticed a couple of extra chapters. Chapters 7 and 8 went up a few years ago and I was able to work through Chapter 9 and am currently working on Chapter 10. Hopefully I've sorted out my process to keep this up until I finally finish the thing. I'm seriously thinking that this is turning into too long of a book for a single novel and might need to break it up into two or three separate books. I'm not sure any publishing house would take it as it is, but that's a conversation for later.

(It looks like Prologue #1 is the winner, but I'm still open to feedback)
Prologue #1 Prologue #2 Prologue #3

1: Ansalon System 2: Jona System 3: Selaris System 4: Kandori Sector 5: Iliad Sector
6: Chort System 7: Chort System Planetside 8: Gallant System 9: Ultiga System 10: Baku System
11: Ruus System 12: Van Usted System 13: Orion System 14: Biliv System 15: Xiurong System
16: Chapter 16