Some of the most intriguing innovations in storytelling these days are happening in the UK, where broadcasting networks, book publishers, and even newspapers have embraced the idea of creating immersive narratives that invite the audience to join in. The latest effort comes from Matt Locke, former head of cross-platform programming at Channel Four, who left television last year to start Storythings, a consultancy that's been developing projects with top brands and media outlets. Storythings' first project, released last month, is Pepys Road, an online story that ties in with the John Lanchester novel Capital, recently published by Faber & Faber.
Capital documents the lives of characters on a fictional South London street as they deal with the fallout from Britain's ongoing financial crisis. Pepys Road is designed to bring all this home to the reader. To experience Pepys Road, you go to the Web site, type in your date and place of birth and the place you live now, and wait for what happens next. Over the next 10 days, you get a series of emails containing, among other things, stories by Lanchester that demonstrate how you might be affected by the economic changes the next 10 years are expected to bring. The experience is immediate, immersive, and highly provocative. Here's what Matt had to say about it: