Author Reveals Inspiration Behind EVE Novel “The Burning Life”

If the latest EVE novel “The Burning Life” seems drenched in turmoil and drama, then it’s because author Hjalti Danielsson drew inspiration from a personal tragedy.

“The genesis of the idea came in two parts. The first was a real-life event that inspired the first chapter of The Burning Life. Someone whom I knew died very suddenly, and the fallout from that death and the events following it had a massive impact on a great number of people,” Mr. Danielsson admitted in an interview with EVE fansite Mondes Persistants.

“I wanted to try starting in the most quiet way possible – at the home of a recently deceased young man, with his grieving family in attendance – and build things from there.”

The CCP lead narrative creator added that the second part of the novel was a nod to the online game’s more despicable factions. Pirates and bounty hunters roam across EVE, and Mr. Danielsson imagined whole star systems where such fugitives are the society instead of outcasts. (And I imagine where blood, booze and EVE isk flow freely.)

“The Blood Raiders, for example, are a spacefaring faction whose primary purpose with celestial exploration is to kidnap the ships of other factions, subdue their passengers and suck them dry of blood. That‘s creepy enough already, but I kept wondering how a society like that would work. Not just a hundred people flying around on spaceships, but hundreds of millions on settled planets, where presumably most of them would simply be living peaceable lives, raising children and holding down jobs washing the ceremonial robes or cleaning the blood-draining machines.”

Having authored dozens of 2,500-word short stories for the EVE Online game universe, Mr. Danielsson admitted that the novel’s length at 125,000 words challenged him to weave a richer storyline–not just the “gunshot” excitement then immediate resolution found in an EVE Chronicle.

This strategy seems to have paid off because “The Burning Life” has received a warmer response from fans than its predecessor “Empyrean Age.” But it might take some time before Mr. Danielsson pens another space opera. He confirmed that Tony Gonzales will resume writing responsibilities for a still-unnamed third novel based on DUST 514, the upcoming console MMO first-person shooter from CCP Games.