(edit August 2015 – these books are currently out of print but will hopefully be back in 2016 – see this announcement)
John Caliber is a writer and artist who has worked on several Dredd products, including several works for Mongoose Publishing’s D20 version of the Dredd RPG.
These two reference books were put together with the assistance of Ivan Noel and Jim McGibbon.
I have written with all three of these gentlemen when participating in PBF Dredd RPGs. I dedicate this review to all the fine players I knew on Play Dredd.
City of Dredd is the culmination of years of work, this is the 2nd, and updated, edition. The earlier version, City of Dredd 2134 was available in 2011 either in Pdf or on print-on-demand on Lulu.com. The current versions of City of Dredd 2135 and Worlds of Dredd 2135 are currently only available as Pdf downloads from Lulu.com.
Both books are self published with kind permission of Rebellion.
I’ve used several of John’s earlier works when looking at the world of Dredd, including the Rookies Guide to The Justice Department by Mongoose Publishing before I ‘met’ John online. His knowledge of the subject is encyclopedic, as these two books prove. I’m dropping the use of the year from here on in for ease of writing & reading.
Both books deal with the official world of Dredd, in other words anything in print that is produced by Rebellion in either 2000AD or Judge Dredd Megazine, including all specials and annuals.
City of Dredd deals with Mega City One. Following a brief introduction John sets out a detailed history from 2023 up to ‘Tea for Two’ in Prog 1785. John touches on most of the major story lines that have shaped the city, so while it covers such stories as The Apocalypse War and Necropolis it doesn’t mention the Cursed Earth Saga . That is obviously due to the focus of this book, it isn’t about Judge Dredd, it is about his City, Mega City One.
In the stories that have been published since 1977 Mega City One has been as much a character of the strips as Dredd himself. This book brings out all the richness with details of Blocks, Streets, shops, etc. Firstly dealing with general subjects, such as explaining what might be found in a citi-block and explaining what such things as a Pedway or a Stacker are. Then in a mind-blowingly in detail fashion we are given details of every block, street, business, etc that has been featured in the comic strips. Each entry includes a description of events that took place at the location and the story they occurred in. Some entries are obviously fairly brief but well used locales such as the Academy of Law are very extensive.
As if that amount of detail wasn’t enough there is also a section that details what can be found in the city by Sector. Again some Sectors have much larger entries than others. It is a simple fact that more stories have taken place in Sector 01 than Sector 05 for example. But obviously not every location used in a story has been locked down by the writer as being in a certain part of the city; John deals with this as well.
Finally we reach the Progology. A list of each story by year that it was set in, the list is alphabetical by year to make finding the story title easier than if the list was purely chronological.
Worlds of Dredd does more or less the same as City of Dredd but obviously deals with locations outside Mega City One. In this book each location contains a history and annotations of the stories that occurred there.
The entries start on Earth and progress through the Solar System and out into the far reaches of space to finally give details of locations beyond Dredd’s universe and into other dimensions.
The Progology rounds off the Worlds of Dredd.
And yet there is more
These books are not illustrated but purchasers can obtain high resolution maps to accompany the books by e-mailing John. A 2136 version of City of Dredd is expected early in 2114.
These books are essential for anyone with a deep interest in Judge Dredd. I have found John’s research invaluable when plotting games and stories set in Dredd’s reality. I commend both books to you.