I can’t quite believe it, but this year marks the fifth anniversary of one of my first (and most prolific) serious writing challenges. For those who do not know, between 2009 and 2011 I organised the Sonic Relief charity campaigns that ran on The Sonic Stadium and various other related fan sites (in aid of Comic Relief, naturally). As well as a fundraising effort, it was a showcase of the creative talents in the Sonic community – so in 2011, after two years of encouraging other people to submit their fan art, videos, and so forth, I decided it was about time for me to put my own skills to the test for the drive’s third and final outing. Thus, Sonic: The Age of Steam was born.
Despite being labelled a short story, this is by far my longest effort to date. Consisting of six chapters, with the first released on 1st January 2011 and the rest then updated a few weeks apart up until March 2011, it drew inspiration from the Sonic Storybook games (namely, Sonic and the Secret Rings and Sonic and the Black Knight) by placing the world-famous blue hedgehog into a Victorian, almost Sherlock Holmes-esque environment. The working title for the project was “Steampunk Sonic” and, much to my delight, it received a very welcome and positive reception at the time. Fellow fans were keen to get involved by designing their own steampunk versions of classic Sonic characters (many of which I then integrated into the story), and all in all I feel it played an important part in spurring donations to reach the eventual grand total – over £1,000!
To celebrate five years since its initial release, I feel it only right to look back on my first major work and share it with a whole new audience of followers who might share my same passion and interest for the world of Sonic the Hedgehog and the age of steam. I enjoyed writing it so much that I actually started work on a sequel – The Age of Steam II: Curse of the Damned – but, due to one thing and another, I never found the time to finish it and only got as far as the prologue and first chapter. Nevertheless, if you want to see (and speculate further about) how the story would have continued, I’ve uploaded it what I’m dubbing the “prototype edition” of the sequel for your reading pleasure…
Last but not least, the official Sonic: The Age of Steam blog where the story was first released all those years ago is still alive and well – just in case anyone fancies experiencing the adventure in its original form!
Will I ever return to the world of Sonic fan fiction? Perhaps. But even if I don’t, I’m still immensely proud of what The Age of Steam managed to accomplish – not only for charity, but also for my own self-belief as a writer.
Download: Sonic – The Age of Steam (PDF)*
*Includes a complete collection of fan art inspired by the project for Sonic Relief 2011