FFVII fan novelization continues

by May 4, 2014 0 comments

Longtime fan and professional writer M. J. Gallagher — better known to The Lifestream community as member S and G — on Wednesday published the first half of his new novel, “Final Fantasy VII: The Man in the Black Cloak,” as a free downloadable eBook.

Attached synopsis: Cloud Strife is hunting the legendary soldier who murdered his mother and burned his hometown to the ground five years ago. The reluctant leader of ragtag group, each on a journey to settle their past and realize their future, he must forge a unity that will keep them from the far-reaching grasp of the powerful Shinra Corporation while it continues to damage the planet. Branded terrorists and fugitives, their pursuit will take them halfway around the world, and it is only a matter of time before they find the man in the black cloak …

It is the second title in his non-profit, large-scale unofficial novelization of the original saga and its wider Compilation, picking up where the last volume, “A New Threat,” left off (the details of which appeared in a previous article). While the entire 450+-page book will tell the tale of Cloud and co.’s journey from Kalm to Cosmo Canyon in pursuit of Sephiroth, the first half only addresses the events up to and including the voyage on the cargo ship. The finished novel will be available in several weeks’ time in both digital and printed format, and also acknowledges the contribution by many key members as well as the website as a whole.

Critiques of the unofficial novelization have been almost-universally positive. Below are featured notable selections:

“Let me just say that I think you’re one of the best fanfic writers I’ve ever seen, simple as. Your description is amazing, your characterization spot-on and you’ve obviously done your homework with regards to the FF7 universe. I applaud you.”

“You bring great talent to your retelling, and your thorough knowledge of the other entries in the Compilation really shines here. When it’s done, I anticipate that this will be the definitive tome for Compilation fans.”
Mr. Ite

Available online in some form since 2009, S and G’s project has become one of the most popular fanfictions of its kind. Following canon as closely as possible, the book seamlessly fuses familiar material with a degree of artistic license to bring the world to life in a new way. Included in the text are multi-tiered story arcs and layered references to every single official Compilation release, as well as elements from lesser known sources such as the Early Material Files and Ultimanias, the official novellas, and even Shademp’s Unused Text Series.

“It speaks volumes that [S and G] has managed to gel this information together in an engaging and cohesive piece of writing that not only manages to be canonically accurate — but that is also very entertaining for any VII fan.”
—Prince Lex

“[S and G has done] a great job of preserving a delicate balance. He integrates official and new dialogue just enough to make the mythology feel like a whole by acknowledging the entire Compilation of FFVII … His dedication shines by incorporating stuff from my own project.”

The author has also played a significant role in the FFVII community with articles here at TLS such as the “History of Deepground Revealed” and the Before Crisis chapter summaries, as well as being one of the original screenplay writers and producers of the now-cancelled FFVII web series, and consulting on many other related ventures. For more about M. J. Gallagher’s professional credentials, you will find a bio here.

Digital copies of “The Man in the Black Cloak” (part one) are now available in both PDF and ePub formats, which cater to almost every device available.

You can also download its 300-page prequel, “A New Threat,” covering the game from its opening to the Nibelheim flashback, for free as a PDF or ePub. If you are interested in a printed copy, please send a private message to the project’s Facebook fan page for further details.
In addition, a collaboration with A.J. Hateley, director and lead artist of Gametee, Ltd., is currently underway for an all-new Compilation shorts book called “Final Fantasy VII: Reunion Theorem” which will provide a range of extracts from across the saga, including Crisis Core, Before Crisis and Dirge of Cerberus. More are expected to follow, but in the meantime, check out the impressive collection from this videogame merchandise brand.

“[The first novel] was really awesome. You know, I am a comic character junkie and, as a literature major, I’ve always enjoyed novels a bit more than comics because it’s more of a writer’s medium. I’ve read 4 or 5 Batman novelizations, 3 Green Lantern novels and one for Wonder Woman (put out by DC Comics), but I think what I’ve read of your Final Fantasy prose is actually better than those.”
Margie Vizcarra Cox, actress and renowned cosplayer

“More than one FFVII fan has attempted a novelization of the game. Though not all have been terrible (most were), and while more than one is genuinely good, one would be exceedingly hard-pressed to say that any other such venture has done as compelling a job of feeling rooted in the world of the source material. Gallagher’s efforts may not be a replacement for the experience of the Compilation itself, but they feel like a legitimate vantage on its contents.”
—Squall of SeeD

“[Your descriptions] are completely in-character, completely believable … I like stories I read to be firmly rooted in time and place, since this gives an added reality to the imaginary world, and you do this very well.”

Gallagher is happy to discuss his novelization project here on the forum in its dedicated thread.

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