Last month I wrote about talks. This month I’m back on content, looking into interactive books. We have usable tablet PCs and e-readers scattered across almost every household (we have four!), but most of the fiction that I read on them is exactly like the fiction I read in a book. I want more. Continue reading Interactive Storytelling
[ This is a guest post by Richard Galbraith. Richard got in touch to see if I’d like to review Concrete Operational here at Futurismic, and while I couldn’t promise a review for various reasons, I thought the project’s independence and mixed-media format might be of interest to regular readers, and offered him a turn at the podium. Feel free to ask questions in the comments! ]
Concrete Operational is my novel; it’s an independent release funded by the Arts Council England. That statement itself raises two quick questions: why indie, and how did you convince the English Arts Council to give you thousands of pounds to publish it? Well, this is where my journey into independent publishing, collaborative media, design, filmmaking, music production, art manufacturing and a host of other things came to being. Continue reading Concrete Operational – Novel writing, art, music and independent publishing
The Luddite old guard love to batter on about how the internet devalues the reading of books, but I’ve always thought that the internet had huge potential for extending the appeal and educational power of fiction. Here’s a good example, going by the name of GoogleLitTrips [via MetaFilter], a project that uses custom layers in Google Earth to show students the routes and locations featured in various “road-trip” literary classics. (GLT’s developer has done a similar project based on historical journeys of exploration, too.)
It’s still pretty basic at this point, but it’s not hard to imagine how this sort of thing could become incredibly deep, and perhaps end up becoming the standard extension of fiction into the multimedia sphere of the web. One could easily go beyond maps and into geotagged photography, both contemporary and historical, for instance, bringing locations and historical periods to life visually. (Would this lessen the imaginative input required from the reader, though?)
But let’s turn the idea up to eleven and apply it to science fiction for a moment. If you’re setting a book in the future, you can’t provide photographs of the settings… but you could create CGI composites (like the images produced by speculative architects), or build 3D environments using SketchUp or a metaverse platform like Second Life, which could then be populated with characters (pre-programmed, live-acted or both) for the reader to interact with, games for them to play, intrigues for them to get caught up in… something like what Neal Stephenson’s Mongoliad project is aiming for, perhaps.
The possibilities are endless, and all I’ve done here are list a few simple ideas that could be done with existing technologies. The underlying point is that there’s no reason the internet has to be the end of written fiction; with imagination and effort, fiction could become the core hook of a form of entertainment more complete, complex and immersive than anything yet created.
Sounds like a fun challenge, no?
It looks like people have busy over the summer; within the space of twenty-four hours, the Futurismic inbox has received news of two independent science fiction-related projects looking for an audience.
And because we like people who get out there and have a go under their own steam, we thought we’d give them a mention.
What is Deadbooks.com? Here’s the blurb from the site:
Deadbooks.com is a massive Hyper-Serialization of Hasso Wuerslin’s SF-Horror series, The DeadBooks.
Spanning 150 chapters, involving 100 actors, and the cutting-edge sounds of musical artists worldwide, Deadbooks.com is a revolutionary mash-up of story-telling techniques.
The first ten-hour season is available now.
The first ten hour season?! You can’t fault the ambition there, can you? In his email, Wuerslin says the project has taken him eight years to finish:
“There may be purists out there who think I’m trying to kill ‘The Novel’, but I disagree. Why shouldn’t the novel stretch out in new directions; transform into a new form of entertainment?”
When CD-ROMs were the IT buzzword of the day, they promised us that multimedia novels would be ubiquitous – has the idea finally found a home on the web in the form of Deadbooks.com? Go take a look and find out, then come back and let us know what you think.
Phasma Ex Machina
Phasma Ex Machina is a forthcoming independent sf/horror movie which “follows the lives of two brothers and an electrical engineer trying to decipher a series of strange events. Everything changes when they discover that the distance between the living and the dead isn’t all that far.”
Phasma Ex Machina‘s producers are seeking feedback from the sf community about their concept. From the email:
“We are currently in the preproduction stages of the film and one of our foremost goals is to increase the authenticity of the supernatural and sci-fi genres. Your readers can give advice on what they would or wouldn’t like to see in a supernatural/sci-fi film.”
Hmm, crowdsourcing the test audiences, eh? From the reviews I’ve seen, I think George Lucas should have looked at doing something similar with his most recent output… If you’re intrigued and want to learn more, take a look around on the Phasma Ex Machina website. You can leave your feedback and opinions on their forum, too – but feel free to share ’em here as well, OK?