Machine 69

Mark Wernham is currently writing a metaphysical adventure novel called Jefferson Greenspan Saves The Word? But in the midst of writing the novel, he paused to create a narrative iPhone app called “Machine #69,” which contains images, sound, and pieces of the novel including unused backstory and other bits of narrative.

The reason for its existence is the novel I’m currently writing, a metaphysical adventure story called Jefferson Greenspan Saves The Word? which is about time-travelling air conditioning salesman from the future trying to save the world in the 1960s. But the app isn’t an enhanced novel. The novel isn’t even finished, much less published. I describe the app as a ‘fractured digital entertainment experience’, which is jargony and uses the words ‘digital’ and ‘experience’, and indeed ‘fractured’, to suggest that it’s a bit broken, but that it’s something modern and to do with technology […] Or something cool, at any rate. It’s certainly supposed to be a solid 45 minutes or so of immersive (headphones recommended) interaction.

His description offers a bit of insight into his creative process. It also serves as a precedent for other writers to combine paper-novels with hypertext narrative supplementation.

So why did make the app? Partly because it’s the sort of thing I really enjoy doing. One of the attractions of the creative process is the mystery of creation itself; until you make it happen, it doesn’t exist. The more you make something happen, the more it exists.