Tuesday, August 20, 2013

new interactive literary novel

There's a new interactive novel out today--not from a game publisher or vimeo artist, as you might expect, but from old-line, mainstream, behemoth publisher, Random House. The writer is the award-winning Marisha Pessl, author of Special Topics in Calamity Physics. Night Film is her second novel, a thriller that she's made into an immersive storyworld with website screen captures, old media clippings and photos that link to cyber content. But wait. How can a hardcover novel formidably grounded in the ILR world – the tome weighs in at a 600 pgs. and 1.75 lbs – be "interactive"? Yep, you guessed it – there's an app for that. In the back of her book, just before the acknowledgements, Pessl invites readers who want to continue the storyworld experience to download the free decoder app from itunes or elsewhere. The app is a scan app that lets your smartphone or tablet "read" a bird image that appears on some of the pages. Like a next-generation QR code, the bird jumps you to bonus content. Pessl isn't the first novelist to provide her readers with "extras" in cyberspace (ahem!) but she's the first one I know of to do so from the confines of an analog book. Kudos to her and to the Random House digital team for having the vision to do so and the chops to carry it off.

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