Go BZRK: Interactive Mystery With a Touch of Comedy

Michael Grant, author of the Gone series has a new book coming later this year, Go BZRK, and it’s a little bit different from your usual reading experience.

Michael Grant is the co-creator and co-author of the Animorphs and the Everworld book series, and is also the creator and author of Gone and The Magnificent 12 series. His new project is called Go BZRK, which is a book coming up in Spring 2012, and a new transmedia experience which has been started up now.

The missing son of a U.N. diplomat… the reemergence of a strange organization… a pair of society twins caught in the middle… this is just the beginning of “Go BZRK,” a new transmedia experience from author Michael Grant.

If you’re ready to take the plunge in an interactive story like you’ve never experienced before, visit societytwins.com and register with nexushumanus.com to take your first steps in a strange and compelling universe.

Filled with video, puzzles, community collaboration, and more, “Go BZRK” put YOU the player right in the middle of the action as you join Nexus Humanus and unravel a mystery that may hold the key to the fate of all mankind.

The book may not actually be out yet, but you can already get involved in the story by visiting the two sites above and you can join in as much, or as little as you like. You get to choose. Here’s an interview with Michael Grant himself to tell you a little bit more about this new interactive story-telling and what’s in store in the coming months:

What is “Go BZRK”? Is this a book or some kind of interactive story?

Both. The book comes out this winter, but the interactive part starts now.  One leads up to the other, but they’re part of a complete package.

Why “transmedia”?

There are different approaches to transmedia.  Most people take a single story and reproduce it on various platforms.  My philosophy has been to make each element – ARG, app, web, book – a thing unto itself, each revealing some aspect of the world of BZRK.  I’ve been fascinated with this is as a new way to tell stories.  The book remains central, but now I can reach beyond the book and create a much more complete world.  I can tell stories that enhance the book, and stories that parallel the book, and stories that are offshoots of backstory.  I guess the answer to “why” is “because it’s fun.”

Is this the future of publishing?

I began a few years ago reaching out to publishers and saying we collectively needed to understand that the old models were dead or dying.  I want publishing to survive, and of course I’d like my own career to thrive.  So Egmont Publishing and my partners and I certainly hope this is a part of the future of publishing.

How long is this running? Is this part of a larger picture?

We’ll be running this in several chunks between now and the book release this winter. Because these things have a hard start/stop point, August is a ramp-up phase. There’ll be a lot of content coming out, but the experience really gets underway at the end of the month… just in time to distract the kids from their schoolwork.

What if someone wants to follow the story but doesn’t want to participate?

You don’t have to do anything.  You can do one thing and not another.  But the deeper you plunge the wetter you get.  I think every part of this is fun, I think people will enjoy the ARG, the app, the site and the books.

App? You’ve mentioned that a couple times now.

Just wait and see.

What can you tell us about the story? What is “BZRK”?

It’s a battle for the soul and freedom of the human race carried out simultaneously in the world we know, and in a world that you’re not going to expect. It’s a world where if you make a false move, you’re going to lose your mind.

Insanity… is this something you have a personal familiarity with?

The line between writer and crazy person is very thin.  Both go around holding long, involved conversations with people who aren’t there.

What’s this other world thing all about?

Do you really want spoilers? I’ll tell you this. We’ll be going “down in the meat.” It’s going to be vast, bloody, and beautiful.

Wait… isn’t this supposed to be for kids?

Adults like to flatter themselves that kids won’t get, won’t understand, won’t be able to handle, more intense, more complex stories. That’s nonsense.  It’s the adults who are easy to creep out or scare.  Say the word “biopsy” in a room full of adults. Or “audit.”  See?  Easy to scare.  Kids are a tougher audience because kids think they’re immortal.

After reading this Q&A with Michael Grant and browsing through the Society Twins website, a light bulb went on in my head! I remember doing a project on interactive storytelling in the first year of my undergrad and it was absolutely fascinating, what I found! So I am going to dig through my old research papers, and find some more exciting pieces to share with you!

Until then.. Enjoy!!

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Filed under Fiction, Interactive Storytelling

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