Space:1889 Fiction

Shifting Sands

Player Guide


Besides the various gaming related material released for Space:1889, there have been surprisingly many works of fiction produced set in the Space:1889 universe. We are categorizing each as either “in-campaign fiction” or “out-of-campaign fiction”. “In-campaign fiction” means that this work can exist in the campaign universe as fiction. A character might have read one of these books or attended a dramatic reading of one of the audio dramas. But characters such as Nathaniel Stone or Annabelle Somerset aren’t real people in the campaign universe (any more than Luke Skywalker is a real person in ours), and the details provided about Mercury, Martian culture or ruins on Venus shouldn’t be assumed to be true in the campaign universe. “Out-of-campaign fiction” contains elements which preclude the material being produced within the campaign universe, and so definitely have elements which won’t be true in the campaign. But they may provide players with a feel for the genre.


Noise Monster Productions Space:1889 "Audio Dramas”

In 2004-2005, Noise Monster Productions released 4 audio dramas based on the Space:1889 universe. Each is a single CD, about 70 minutes long, making them AWESOME for getting a feel for the universe during your commute. Unfortunately, they are out-of-print and not so easy to find. We do have copies that we are willing to lend out, or they are available on various torrents.

These are all “in-campaign fiction.” The first three are linked together via storyline and characters, while the fourth one is a standalone tale.

Red Devils

Written by Jonathan Clements, starring Ivor Danvers and Simon Williams, with Anthony Daniels as “Captain Carter”.

"In 1889, the ether ship Perbindesh approaches the red planet, her passengers an assembly of the great and the good. Skerrun, a Martian princeling, returning from a sojourn on Earth; Sir Henry Routledge, the new governor of the British colony; Professor Golightly, a renowned authority on the red planet. But everyone has a secret. The Perbindesh carries a cargo of conspiracy and intrigue. And not all aboard will live to see Mars… "

The Steppes of Thoth

Written by James Swallow, starring Simon Williams and Ivor Danvers.

"When a dangerous secret is lost in the Martian desert, a rag-tag team of adventurers must come together to travel beyond the canals of Syrtis Major and into the savage Wilderness known as The Steppes of Thoth. It is a journey fraught with danger and intrigue; a bold expedition into the heart of the Red Planet with the future of Mars hanging in the balance!"

The Siege of Alclyon

Written by Marc Platt, starring Simon Williams and Ivor Danvers with Philip Madoc as “General Hagen”

"The Red Devils are locked in a battle for the Martian throne of Alclyon. But the British and German invaders reckon without the ancient culture of Mars itself. Beset by Worm Priests and Skrill Riders, Captain Ffolkes learns that the Empire ignores such powers at its peril. "

The Lunar Inheritance

Written by Richard Dinnick & Andy Frankham, featuring Garrick Hagon as “Doctor Grant.” The story uses some characters and plots from some Space:1889 adventures (mostly “On Gossamer Wings” from the core rulebook and “River of Life” from Tales from the Ether). These characters and plots get a reworking in the Space 1889 & Beyond series of e-books--perhaps not too surprising, since Andy Frankham is the editor of that series.

"The Moon. Luna. Devoid of life. Of no interest to the British Empire. But appearances can be deceptive as the crew of HMS The Indomitable discovers when an alien weapon cripples their ship. They must undertake a perilous journey deep into the mysterious underworld of Luna - a world certainly not devoid of life - and rescue a man who holds the key to a millennia-old mystery. "


Space 1889 & Beyond

These are all “in-campaign fiction”. Characters may well have read these books (and can discuss them in-game). Given the wide range of authors, these are pretty uneven; some are quite good, but some are poorly edited, while a few are poorly written to the point of not being able to follow what’s happening. There are some interesting ideas in here from a writing “hey that might be a good concept to steal” perspective but in general there are a lot of elements that fall on the “magic” side of the Science/Magic divide for us and hence not elements we would want to include in the campaign. However, they are fun, fast reads, and we do recommend them as a great way to get a feel for what the Victorian Science Fiction elements will entail in Shifting Sands. And each eBook in Season 1 right now is on sale for $0.69!

[The following stolen from wikipedia]

In September 2011, Untreed Reads Publishing launched a new series of eBooks called "Space: 1889 & Beyond", edited by Andy Frankham-Allen. The first series was based, loosely, on the gaming book Tales from the Ether and introduced the key concepts of the series; the characters, the setting, the aether, the planets, and the politics. The first series ran until February 2012. The second series of six books began in August 2012, for the first time advancing the setting beyond the year 1889, and pushing the narrative forward to previously unexplored areas of the property. The opening book of series two, Conspiracy of Silence, was the first time any Space: 1889 product has been set entirely on Earth (featuring characters from Frank Chadwick's forthcoming prequel novel The Forever Engine), with the series two finale, Horizons of Deceit Book I, being the second - serving as the opposite bookend of the season following the political maneuvering seen in the previous novel. A third series of novels launches in July 2014, a further set of six books featuring authors who have all previously written for the series. This third series is a 'ground breaking' series, taking the property to the worlds beyond the asteroid belt for the first time in the Space: 1889 franchise.

Continuity: Journey to the Heart of Luna alludes to the appointment of the new governor of the British colony of Syrtis Major on Mars. This is a reference to Sir Henry Routledge, who was seen en route to his new position in the audio play Red Devils. The character is set to appear in A Fistful of Dust, confirming that The Mars Trilogy audio releases are part of the Space: 1889 & Beyond narrative. The Lunar Inheritance, however, is overwritten by Journey to the Heart of Luna and subsequent tales surrounding Luna and the inhabitants of that world. Characters seen in The Forever Engine appear in Conspiracy of Silence and subsequent stories. Elements from Red Sands are referenced in The Draco Eye and the third series of stories.

Setting: Series one runs from April to December 1889, visiting Earth, Luna, Venus, Mercury and Mars.. Series two runs from December 1889 to October 1890, visiting Earth, Mercury, Ceres, Venus, Mars, and Phobos. Series three runs from October 1890 to late 1891, visiting Earth, Luna, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Charon and Planet X.

  • The stories of series one are:
    • Journey to the Heart of Luna by Andy Frankham-Allen
    • Vandals on Venus by K.G. McAbee
    • Ghosts of Mercury by Mark Michalowski
    • Abattoir in the Aether by L. Joseph Shosty
    • A Prince of Mars by Frank Chadwick
    • Dark Side of Luna by J.T. Wilson & Frank Chadwick
  • The stories of series two are:
    • Conspiracy of Silence by Andy Frankham-Allen & Frank Chadwick
    • Mundus Cerialis by Andy Frankham-Allen & Sharon Bidwell (based on an idea by Paul Ebbs)
    • Leviathans of the Clouds by Steven Savile & David Parish-Whittaker
    • A Fistful of Dust by Sharon Bidwell
    • The Forever Journey by Paul F Gwyn (based on an idea by Mark Michalowski)
    • Horizons of Deceit Book I by Jonathan Cooper
  • The stories of series three are:
    • Horizons of Deceit Book II by Andy Frankham-Allen & Jonathan Cooper
    • The Draco Eye by Sharon Bidwell
    • [TBC] by L. Joseph Shosty
    • Sphere of Sight by Jonathan Cooper
    • [TBC] by David Parish-Whittaker
    • Visions of Elysium by Andy Frankham-Allen

Unfortunately, the series came to an abrupt end; The Draco Eye was the last published and it seems Untreed Reads has lost all interest in continuing the series.


The Forever Engine (Frank Chadwick)

Written by the originator of Space:1889, this is a very fun read, and better than pretty much everything in the Space:1889 & Beyond series, with the possible exception of A Prince of Mars (which Frank also wrote). Very much “out-of-campaign fiction”--the blurb makes it pretty clear why.

"London 1888. His Majesty’s airships troll the sky powered by antigrav liftwood as a cabal of Iron Lords tightens its hold on a Britain choked by the fumes of industry. Mars has been colonized, and clockwork assassins stalk the European corridors of power. And somewhere far to the east, the Old Man of the Mountains plots the end of the world with his Forever Engine. Enter Jack Fargo. Scholar. Former special forces operator in Afghanistan. A man from our own near future thrust back in time—or to wherever it is that this Brave Victorian World actually exists. Aided only by an elderly Scottish physicist, a young British officer of questionable courage, and a beautiful but mysterious spy for the French Commune, Fargo is a man on a mission: save the future from irrevocable destruction when the Forever Engine is brought to full power and blows this universe, and our own, to smithereens."


Space:1889 Computer Game by Paragon

A role-playing adventure released in 1990 for the Amiga, Atari ST and PC platforms, the player creates five characters and endows each with skills and attributes. The game's scenario starts with the characters at a museum opening in London which unveils several new Egyptian artifacts; they find their first quest will be discovering King Tut’s tomb. Additional quests result in the characters traveling to San Francisco, the Far East, Mars, Mercury, and beyond. Having started to play this probably twenty years ago but never completing it, I can't say whether this is in-campaign or out-of-campaign fiction. If you play it (it can be downloaded from various emulator sites), let us know!


Space 1889: The Secret of Phobos - a Victorian Sci-Fi movie

Another Kickstarter, by more Germans who love Space:1889. Of course Gail & Dig backed this, so there will be a movie night when we eventually get the discs. In the meantime, enjoy this (in-campaign fiction) teaser:



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