What on Earth is Neal Stephenson's Mongoliad?

Illustration for article titled What on Earth is Neal Stephenson's Mongoliad?

On Tuesday, San Francisco peeps will get their first glimpse of the Mongoliad, a serialized story created by Neal Stephenson and written by Stephenson, Greg Bear, Nicole Galland and others. And it's an experiment in "post-book story-telling."


What exactly is the Mongoliad, and what is it about? We're not sure, but whoever's in San Francisco on Tuesday has a chance to find out. The unveiling of an "Alpha" version will take place at 111 Minna Gallery at 5:30 PM. Here's how the conspirators describe the project, created by Subutai Corporation, in an email to people who'd signed up for updates:

On Tuesday, May 25, we will be presenting our first product at the SF App Show in San Francisco, California. The Mongoliad is a family of apps for handhelds which enable a new model for publishing, and a new way to tell stories. At the center of the service is a ripping medieval adventure by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Nicole Galland, Mark Teppo, and other great authors, about a time when Europe thought that the Mongol Horde was about to destroy their world, and the exploits of a small band of mystics and warriors as they attempt to turn the tide of history.

We're also working closely with artists, fight choreographers & other martial artists, programmers, film-makers, game designers, and a bunch of other folks to produce an ongoing stream of nontextual, para-narrative, and extra-narrative stuff which we think brings the story to life in ways that are pleasingly unique, and which can't be done in any single medium.

Very shortly, once The Mongoliad has developed some mass and momentum, we will be asking fans to join us in creating the rest of the world and telling new stories in it. That's where the real experiment part comes in. We are building some pretty cool tech to make that easy and fun, and we hope lots of you will use it.

People will be able to get The Mongoliad over the web and via custom clients for mobile devices. We're going to start out with iPad, iPhone, Android, and Kindle apps, and will probably do more in the not too
distant future.

But what does it have to do with the frenetic kick-fighting depicted above? Maybe we'll know on Tuesday. [Thanks Claire!]



Great. A post-M.U.D. shared world that I can't access without spending hundreds of dollars on proprietary hardware.

Color me unimpressed.