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Ignite DC #9

Chris Dufour

Writing for Posthumans: The Novel Is Not Enough

Last year, I got sucked down the wormhole of futurism that is The Singularity. I learned about progressive transhumanism, posthumanity, digital consciousness, body modification, and everything in between. As I did so, a story started to emerge in my old-style human brain. I wanted to write about the coming of posthumanity and how the first posthumans could make positive changes in the world. Being a writer, I did the only thing I knew how: wrote copious amounts of prose, constructing a story in the only medium I knew how to manipulate.

The problem with that medium is that it's not transhumanist in an of itself. Posthuman stories of the future will unfold in a transmedia continuum across multiple devices, through different storytellers, and perhaps even through different aspects of time itself. Why read linearly like an old-style human when you can experience multiple data inputs at various points in the story's temporal unfolding? Consider if you will:

--Characters whose conversations unfold via Twitter. --Video documentaries on characters that readers unlock once they reach certain story milestones. --Special story elements that can only be accessed when the reader checks in via Foursquare to different story locations. --Progress sensors that pop up wiki-like background articles on characters, settings, and other story ephemera. --Digital characters whose part in the story can only be accessed via their digital "exhaust" found on various social media, websites, forums, etc.

This concept poses many problems to which I think I need a group of people to help me figure out. Producing a transmedia narrative of this kind will require coders, animators, tablet techies, and others who can help build the experience around the story. This will obviously cost a lot of money, and I have no idea where to get it on the front end. There are monetization mechanisms on the back end that make sense (ad sales, print sales, comic books, etc), but all of that seems so mundane and anti-transcendant for a project of this subject matter.

So I'm putting this concept out there to solicit ideas, feedback, help, and sponsors. I don't even know how the story's going to end yet, and perhaps that the divining point for transcendance itself. It's a challenge to evolve, and that standard has to be kept for this experiment or else we betray the potential for a posthuman transcendance. Not only do I hope this causes us to think collectively about achieving future posthumanity, I hope it entertains as well.

About Chris Dufour:

My name is Chris Dufour. I'm a freelance digital strategist, creative content developer, and musician. I blog about awesome things. Figuring out the future might be driving me insane.

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