I first heard about this book series, Fearbreeders, when a link to an article from Amberr Meadows’ blog appeared on my Twitter feed (citations, yeah), but apparently the book has been making some waves with his approach to adding interactive elements to the “live text” of e-books.
In Fearbreeders a group of friends discover that the creatures from their nightmares are real and can pursue them in the real world. Being internet-savvy psychics (because this is the 21st Century, people), part of defeating these strange adversaries involves exploring different websites for answers. The twist here is that readers will be able to “play along” with the protagonists of the tale, following up on the same sites and trying to solve the puzzles that the characters face.
This sounds similar in concept to the Endgame series by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton that I wrote about earlier this year, though I’m not sure that series actually integrated hyperlinks into its text or had the readers act along with the protagonists so much as have other parts of the world to explore through cross-media platforms. Either way, it’s neat to see another author tackling some of the potential that e-books have in terms of creating a new kind of reading experience.
I don’t know that this sort of thing will work with every text or how well Fearbreeders will handle this, but I applaud the author (R. James) for doing it. I think it’s exciting to see the novel begin to evolve now that it has entered the digital space, and I am curious to see what boundaries people can push while taking advantage of the e-book platform in new ways.