Authors: Daniel Orrett & Rowan J. Coleman
Narrators: Larissa Thompson, Emily Serdahl, Ben Prendergast, Jimmy Lockett, Laura Faye Smith, Lelia Symington, Marta Da Silva, Matthew Kaufman, Stephen Trafford, Tim Parker
Series: The Sojourn, Book 1
Length: 1 hour 34 minutes
Publisher: Spacedock International
Released: Aug. 1, 2020
Genre: Science Fiction
The Tantalus Cluster is the fragile cradle of humanity.
Adrift in the divide between galaxies and surrounded by the vast emptiness of the intergalactic void, the Tantalus Cluster is the only home humanity has ever known.
Desperate and facing starvation, humanity’s only hope is a strange nebula that has suddenly appeared beyond the edge of the cluster. It’s shifting clouds may hide a source of salvation for the people of Tantalus, but time is running out.
Signing on to the ambitious Avalon Expedition, Privateer Captain Cassandra Farren will face the shadows of both the past and future as she leads her small crew into the unknown in a last, desperate bid for the survival of the human race.
Directed and produced with careful scientific consultation, The Sojourn captures every detail of life aboard ship, from the sounds of the smallest airlock seal to the largest space battle.
Featuring a full cast of veteran voice actors, backed up by high-quality sound effects and an epic original soundtrack, The Sojourn is a unique and striking audio experience.
Starring Larissa Thompson as Captain Cassandra Farren, Emily Serdahl as Director Elizabeth Ancelet, Laura Faye Smith as Tamara Melari, Ben Prendergast as Mathias Croft, Stephen Trafford as Inquisitor Castian Vadric, also featuring Matthew Kaufman as Lieutenant Jasper Ravi, and Lelia Symington as Empress Valendra the Sixth. Written by Daniel Orrett, sound design and audio editing by Kennedy Phillips, music by Sam Redfern.
Daniel enrolled in Bangor University, North Wales in their film program, but quickly found that his work on his YouTube channel ‘Spacedock’ was proving to offer more experience in the entertainment industry than his formal education. His work on the channel quickly drew the attention of popular video game company Slitherine Software, which had been given the license to work on the Battlestar Galactica property.
Recognizing Daniel’s knowledge of science fiction and writing acumen, they granted him free reign to contribute to the canon of the Battlestar Galactica world. He was later brought on by SyFy to do similar work for ‘The Expanse’, which turned into his popular series ‘Force Recon’.
In his spare time Daniel enjoys reading and learning from the works of heritage science fiction authors and screenwriters, such as James S.A. Corey, Ronald D. Moore, and D.C. Fontana. He took several courses through The Open University to hone his craft in creative writing and screenwriting, practices his writing abilities with several screenplays and short stories, and frequently analyzes narrative theory in video essays on his channel.
Q&A with Author Daniel Orrett
- Tell us about the process of writing for an audio drama.
- Writing for an audio drama is a challenge. The environment and physical actions taking place within the scenes need to be conveyed almost entirely through dialog. Characters need to be written in such a way that they clue the audience in to when they have entered a room, or when they’re alone with the person they’re talking to, without it feeling like they’re unnaturally narrating their lives. Finding the careful balance to get this right takes a lot of work, but it can be very rewarding.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audio format appeals to you?
- I am. I love the audio format just because of how well it walks the line between the experience of a novel and that of a more visual medium. It allows for emotion to be carried through performance, but also leaves enough latitude for your imagination to construct the surroundings and events. Jefferson Mays’ much-loved performance of The Expanse audiobooks is probably my favourite example of this format.
- Was it always your intention to make an Audio Drama?
- It was, for much the same reasons I mentioned in the previous question. In the early days I was concerned that my audience might not gel with an audio-only story so we experimented with other mediums, but I’m glad it remained an audio drama in the end. I think this is a deeply underappreciated format that makes voice actors and their performances into the main driving force for telling the story.
- How did you select your cast?
- We have a very involved and meticulous casting process, often sifting through hundreds of candidates for each character. I feel very fortunate in how successful the casting of our main characters was. Each of them totally captures the characters I was carrying in my head for years before the project properly began. The moment of finding the perfect performance to bring a character you love to life is really difficult to beat.
- How much of The Sojourn has been planned out in advance?
- The Sojourn is planned out in a fair amount of detail for three seasons. I’ve purposefully avoided what’s sometimes called the “Architect’s Model” of planning every tiny detail of the story far in advance, instead leaving room for me to gauge the fan reaction to certain characters and ideas and explore them further if it seems to have potential. But the themes and the narrative throughline of the story are already set, and any changes would only be small tweaks on the path between those major plot points.
- What are the real life inspirations behind your writing?
- The Sojourn has a great deal of real-world inspiration. The setting is heavily inspired by the 17th and 18th Century Age of Sail, and takes much direction from nautical adventure and arctic exploration stories. There are also large aspects of the world inspired by more contemporary models, such as Piracy in Somalia during the 2010s, and the current Climate Crisis.
- What are you trying to accomplish with The Sojourn?
- A celebration of voice actors and their often unfairly underappreciated craft, an original contribution to the science fiction genre as a humble step away from the megafranchises of Star Wars and Star Trek, a platform for LGBT representation in science fiction, and if all goes well, an engaging and powerful story that will stick with people.
- If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?
- Personally I wouldn’t want to sign off on a live action adaptation of The Sojourn, as it would no longer be a celebration of voice actors in that format. Though I wouldn’t be opposed to some kind of animated adaptation in the far future, hopefully with the same voice cast.
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
- Write. Anything, even if it’s terrible, just write something. Don’t burn away time trying to convince yourself you’re allowed to write or to call yourself a writer, don’t put “Aspiring Writer” in your bio or pay for a bunch of expensive courses before ever putting words on a page, just start. Write something, then learn from it’s failings and write something else, and keep going.
- What’s next for you?
- Right now we’re working on Volume Three of The Sojourn and we’re happy to report that we’re funded for a second season already, so work on the show will continue long after that. I do have some ideas for other SF series on the very distant horizon, but I suspect for a good few years at most my focus will be on completing The Sojourn.
Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.