On March 18th Penguin Books UK launched a new service. teamed up with Six to Start, a gaming company, to create classic stories using Google Maps, Twitter and other web tools. Every night at 6:30 pm London time, readers can witness authors writing a ‘webisode’ of a classic story, in real-time.

This is amazing. Incredible value in this service:
– Reading. Engaging current and future generations into literary classics
(What served this purpose until now? The overacted and overdressed on PBS Masterpiece Theater series? The HBO specials on Rome, and Showtime’s The Tudors?)

– Storytelling. This is important. The partially-scripted direction of current format is not the most compelling format for story-telling. Between Fiction and Documentary, there is a great space to explore in story-telling, and the partially-scripted ventures that have sprouted since MTV’s The Real World have been reflective of something other than mere story-telling. With Penguin’s new venture, I’m looking forward to how a good concept/story transitions into a variety of mediums (maps, visuals, words, photos) in a modern way.

– The classroom. How easily could this be integrated into existing teaching methodologies?

– Propagation. How long will it be until contemporary authors using this format to tell their own stories?

The potential is here for so much more: consider reading biographies within a timeline format supplemented with interactive maps of relevant locations and voyages? Learning about history can be positively impacted by this: I’m currently reading, for pleasure, the Autobiography and Other Writings of Benjamin Franklin, and I wish I could look at that book from a visual prespective: an interactive timeline of where, what and when.

The world is beautiful!