Neil Stephenson(etc) releases The Mongoliad, a collaborative online writing experiment.
September 1, 2010 10:12 AM   Subscribe

The Mongoliad. Previous, MeFi discussed new publishing formats, like the Shadow Unit web series. Now Neil Stephenson (And others) has debuted his own project, the casually hyped Mongoliad. The authors' intent seems to be an experiment with format, publishing to handheld devices, payment schemes, and the entire concept of intellectual property.
posted by Stagger Lee (19 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Also, the NYT article that explains it all better than I could.
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:20 AM on September 1, 2010


This project seems to assume that Wikipedia does not exist and is not easily accessible from a wide variety of devices.
posted by Keith Talent at 10:25 AM on September 1, 2010


i posted about this when it was still being developed, obv this is a significant update.

still not sure if this is a big ball of hypertext fail or some next level shit.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:25 AM on September 1, 2010


Long form reading on not-paper? That's a big negatory.
posted by DU at 10:34 AM on September 1, 2010


How about a Farmville model where you get the nouns and verbs for free but make micropayments for each adjective?
posted by Joe Beese at 10:42 AM on September 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


From NYT: There are also social features that allow readers to create their own profiles, earn badges for activity on the site or in the application, and interact with other readers.

User: mark
User is empowered to write canon, and to designate fan contributions as canon. He also has some of the "badges" as mentioned in the NYT article. Looking at the file names, he is a canon cop, canon judge, canon law(yer?), coned producer and "concre quill". The icons aren't linked to anything, so I guess this is still in the early phases of becoming something ... more.

And from the introduction, this experiment is to create a community around the prequel to a movie, with the potential that the online experiment could spawn "illustrations, graphic novels, maps, and eventually games and movies." I can see how calling this "interactive voluntary crowdsourcing" takes some of the excitement out of being involved with making a media empire.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:45 AM on September 1, 2010


Even though I collect books (and have some Neal Stephenson signed limited editions), I've already subscribed for a year. 'Cause it's all about the stories, dammit, and the sample chapters on the website got me hooked. Also because I just bought a house and don't have time to read for extended periods any longer. A chapter a week sounds just about right.
posted by infinitewindow at 11:00 AM on September 1, 2010


I'm feeling pretty ambivalent, and it looks like a lot of people are.

Giving them 6 bucks can't hurt too much I suppose, and I could give it a shot. The nice thing about the format is I can read them at lunch at work, or whatever, small digestible chunks. The downside is that (at least in the case of Shadow Unit) the format seems to encouraging rambling and narrative incoherence. I'm also not sure how interested I am in all the fan generated media, although I can see why that'd be considered a plus by the creators.

Of course, that 1000$ "Patron Plan" is outrageous at this stage, no matter how you cut it.
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:24 AM on September 1, 2010



And from the introduction, this experiment is to create a community around the prequel to a movie, with the potential that the online experiment could spawn "illustrations, graphic novels, maps, and eventually games and movies." I can see how calling this "interactive voluntary crowdsourcing" takes some of the excitement out of being involved with making a media empire.


...and it sounds better than calling it a huge marketing effort. ;) I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt on this one, although the commercial side of it makes me a little bit uncomfortable.
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:26 AM on September 1, 2010


Is Devo providing the soundtrack?
posted by Ratio at 11:29 AM on September 1, 2010


I subscribed for the story, I'm a fan of Stephenson and bear, and my new kindle needs feeding anyway.

I doubt that I'll participate much with this "user generated content" though...
(Or maybe I'll be pestering everyone until someone writes me a gay character into the story...)
posted by ts;dr at 11:57 AM on September 1, 2010


I'd be interested in the Dickensian chaptered approach, but the audience participation is a turnoff to me. My experiences with fanfic don't lead me to trust interactive voluntary crowdsourcing to have much in the way of quality control, and the bad could be very, very bad.
posted by immlass at 2:17 PM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]





I'd be interested in the Dickensian chaptered approach, but the audience participation is a turnoff to me. My experiences with fanfic don't lead me to trust interactive voluntary crowdsourcing to have much in the way of quality control, and the bad could be very, very bad.


Well. My plan was to ignore everything but the published chapters.
(The part you pay for.)

...then again, I may just wait for the book.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:28 PM on September 1, 2010


I'm the opposite (to ts;dr / immlass). I could imagine getting quite into a wiki of maps and art and so forth about a fictional universe I was sufficiently enamoured with, but I would find staggered release of chapters very frustrating ("but I want to read more NOW!"). I also don't have a handheld device it could publish to, anyway, and there's no way I'm reading a novel off a PC sat at my desk. Much as I applaud the spirit of innovation in principle, ultimately you can file me under 'wait for the book'.
posted by Slyfen at 2:49 PM on September 1, 2010


I just want the cliff notes for Anathem.
posted by craniac at 4:21 PM on September 1, 2010


This is a lot of work for yet another Stephenson book that I assume ends with a big riot for no reason and the action just stopping.
posted by Legomancer at 6:23 PM on September 1, 2010


I just want the cliff notes for Anathem.

newb science geek goes extramuros, comes back, falls in love, blows it, crisis in space, journey after mentor, freaky millenarian blesses, HOLY SHIT ALIENS, space travel, many-worlds interpretation of Hylean Flow, victory, gets girl.
posted by fatbird at 10:03 PM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I signed up, but I still haven't decided if I want to pay for it or not.

I like the idea of having a novel released in small readable chunks, blog or newsletter style. I can cautiously support the idea of a collaborative world wiki thingie. I'm a Stephenson fangirl, and positively inclined towards Bear.

But I'll tell you, I read the sample chapter on the website and stopped dead at use of the word "yonder."

Stopped. Dead.

I'm not sure which is worse:

1. Reading a work of fiction where the word "yonder" is used in earnest. (I tentatively ruled out this possibility.)

2. Reading a work of fiction where the word "yonder" is used ironically by the authors, as a sort of sly wave to the readers.

It's one thing when the narrator says it. Quite another when the word "yonder" is made to appear from the mouth of a character, which is what just happened.

I realize that's a lot of fuss to kick up over one single word. But something about the tone of everything else on the site is just a little too... I don't know. Fey? Twee? Contrived? Self-involved? A little too much the work of people who would make a character say "yonder" because they thought it was funny.

Yeah. I signed up, but I still haven't decided if I want to pay for it or not.
posted by ErikaB at 11:15 AM on September 2, 2010


A few weeks in now, and for me personally, the supplementary material that's not maps or chapters really brings me out of the story/world. Watching Guy Windsor critique a couple of white guys choreographing a blade fight is not what I subscribed for; reading descriptions of the choreographed moves in chapter 4 "West Meets East," in which one of our heroes Haakon fights a traumatized bushi, is.
posted by infinitewindow at 12:12 PM on September 23, 2010


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