August 24th, 2009

This looks like fun

Okay, everyone is trying to figure out how to reinvent the book for this century. Some people think the answer is to put them on your i-Phone. For others, there's Vooks - little videos you stop reading the book to go watch.

And then there's this idea. "Multiplatform transmedia experience." Think Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence meets the Internet.

Supposedly it allows you to e-mail or telephone a character from the book, or to read another character's blog. In Personal Effects: Dark Art, art therapist Zach Taylor he struggles to evaluate a blind psychic serial killer. [Full disclosure: if they had just made it a blind psychic vampire serial killer, they would have managed to involve all the popular tropes.] [Full disclosure number 2: Spouse once enrolled in an art therapy program. He was the only guy. One day they were given a pile of women's magazines and told to create a collage that reflected who they were. He found a couple of pictures of guys and one of a black Lab. And the other people in the class were always asking him to represent the POV of all males. He did not continue.] NPR says, "The novel unfolds in traditional chapter form, as well as via a series of "personal effects" that belong to the characters — including business cards, photos and legal documents, which are included in a pouch attached to the book's cover."

One person wrote the book, while the other was responsible for content.

"The intent of this is to make the reader more than just a passive ingester of the entertainment, but to become an active participant in the story," Hutchins tells NPR's David Greene. "The idea was to fundamentally blur those lines between fiction and reality."

Weisman likens the experience of exploring the book and its additional offerings to finding a stranger's wallet on the street: "You want to return it to the person who lost it, but you feel kind of dirty just looking through it, because there's nothing more voyeuristic than looking through someone's pockets or their wallet," he explains.

Judging from the strong reviews on Amazon, the idea has been a success. You can read more about it here.

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