Welcome to the WIP for: The Search for Dr Livingstone
Total word count: 31k
Average words per play through: 20k
Update 16/6 Added Tuesday’s journal, got rid of chapters
It’s 1869 and the British explorer Dr David Livingstone is missing in the interior of Africa. No one has heard from him for more than three years and it’s unknown whether he is alive or dead. The Times newspaper in London is sending you, a young aspiring journalist and adventurer, to follow in Livingstone’s footsteps and track down the man himself – if he’s still alive, that is.
You will mount an expedition into the heart of Africa. Along the way you’ll face inhospitable terrain, hostile tribes, Arab slavers, dangerous animals, and more. You’ll experience life in a typical African village, and have the chance to get to know the diverse members of your party better.
You’ll have to put together your expedition, taking into account the supplies, resources, and skills you need to give your expedition the best chance of success. On the expedition, you’ll need to decide how best to navigate the various threats and challenges along the way. Think carefully – not only the success of the expedition, but the lives of Dr Livingstone (and others) may depend on your choices.
But will you find Dr Livingstone in the end?
This story is designed to show the hardship of expeditions to the interior of Africa in 1870, as well as the realities of this period of history. Even though the slave trade had been officially abolished by all Western countries by the late 1860’s, slavery continued well beyond this time, as well as racism, inequality, and abuse. I have chosen to depict this period of history as realistically as possible, even though this can be confronting at times (often). In doing so, it is not my intention to insult or offend anyone, especially POC. However, I think it would be more offensive if I were to omit or ignore these realities.
The story is vaguely based on Henry Stanley’s route during his 1871 expedition. The main character, side characters and most of the events are fictional. However, the places, tribes, and many of the minor/incidental characters mentioned are real and I have tried to depict them as accurately as possible, based on a reasonable amount of historical research (though remembering that sources are scarce and biased especially when it comes to 19th century Africa).
One of the aims of this book is to highlight a number of historical issues, including the East African slave trade. As such, slavery, racism, and other abhorrent practices are depicted openly.
This novel features:
- Abuse, including implied sexual abuse (nothing explicit)
- Racism and inequality
- Death (including avoidable NPC deaths)
- Violence and conflict, and descriptions of the aftermath of violence and conflict
- Harsh language
- Animal cruelty (nothing explicit)
-Play as female, male, or non-binary
-Variable side characters with the choice to set genders and some names
-Develop your character including personality traits and skills, in order to set yourself up for a successful expedition
-Track your expedition’s assets and supplies, including food, medicine, and currency, so that you can make it to the end
-Team up with Arab slave traders or find your own way
-Face a lion barehanded
-Experience life in an African village in 1870
TL;DR: This is completely based on a true story, except for the things I made up.
This book aims to give players the chance to replay history without prejudice and do better than other historical actors like Henry Stanley, while making every effort to acknowledge the realities of history. Whilst the impact of the Transatlantic Slave Trade cannot be denied, the East African slave trade, which pre-dated and outlived the Transatlantic trade, is equally horrific and much less known. It is also important to remember that slavery and slavery-like practices continue today in parts of Africa and the rest of the world, notably human trafficking.
Some people may find this story controversial, but I think it is important to depict the atrocities of history, particularly when they relate to current world issues.
Perhaps remembering the atrocities of the past will help to eliminate those today and prevent still more from happening in the future.
I will be eternally grateful if you have a read and leave a comment and some feedback. All feedback is welcome, but I’m particularly looking for high level feedback, as well as glaring errors.
If you want to give me feedback on grammar, punctuation, or style – great. But what I really want to hear about is things like whether you found the plot or the characters believable, if you thought the story was too slow, or if there were any parts that left you confused (or annoyed or something else). Similarly, if you came across continuity errors or things that don’t make sense, please let me know. I’m getting better at coding, but there are probably a bunch of mistakes still in there!
Having a full-time writing job, this project is something I have been working on for several months now in my spare time and I am happy to share it with you.
Thanks so much for reading – I really appreciate it.