I mentioned Neal Stephenson’s new project, the Mongoliad in my last post but a couple more details were made available since. According to their Facebook page and their Wiki, the Mongoliad is going to be “primarily” an app based multimedia story in serialised form. Here’s the blurb from their wiki:

The Mongoliad is an experimental fiction project of the Subutai Corporation, scheduled for release in 2010. The corporation is an application company based in San Francisco and Seattle, whose chairman is speculative fiction author Neal Stephenson. Stephenson is the guiding force of the project, in which he is joined by colleagues including Greg Bear.

The work is intended to be distributed primarily as a series of applications (“apps”) for smartphones, which the Corporation views as a new model for publishing storytelling. At the project’s core is a narrative of adventure fiction following the exploits of a small group of fighters and mystics in medieval Europe around the time of the Mongol conquests. As well as speculative fiction authors Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Nicole Galland, Mark Teppo and others, collaborators include filmmakers, computer programmers, graphic artists, martial artists and combat choreographers, video game designers, and a professional editor. In a departure from conventional fiction, much of the content of The Mongoliad will be in forms other than text, not bound to any single medium and not in the service of the central narrative. Once the project develops momentum, the Corporation envisages fans of the work to contribute, expanding and enriching the narrative and the fictional universe in which it takes place.

In the telling of the Corporation’s president Jeremy Bornstein, the genesis of the project was in Stephenson’s dissatisfaction with the authenticity of the medieval sword fighting scenes he had written into his Baroque cycle of novels.Stephenson gathered a group of martial arts enthusiasts interested in studying historical European swordfighting, and this eventually resulted in some of the members of this group collaborating on a set of stories which would make use of accurate representations of these martial arts. The collaborators decided the project need not limit itself to traditional novel form, and began developing ideas on how to produce it in different media while retaining the caliber that would be expected of a new work by authors such as Stephenson or Bear.

An “alpha version” was demonstrated at the periodic application showcase SF App Show in San Francisco, California on May 25, 2010. The project is expected to go live sometime in 2010. Supported smartphones and platforms include the iPad, iPhone, Android, and Kindle.

I hope that they decide to expand the scope of application for the project because it could branch out in very interesting directions. Here’s a video of stephenson and Bear discussing the historical scope of the project.