The narrative is set in 13th century Foreworld, a universe very much like our own, and will be released in weekly installments with annual or semi-annual subscription fee. Premium subscribers will receive extra bits of art, video, and music, and the story will be available through mobile platforms. Stephenson and Bear invite readers to expand the story through the site’s forum and wiki. Interesting ideas will be added to the official canon.
The Mongoliad sounds like an interesting dive into multi-media linked storytelling, but the execution is going to be critical. Currently, the chapter texts exist separately from the media extras; the reader is presented a menu from which she can choose to view the text or the illustrations . On one hand, this format allows for immersion into the text without the distraction of the other media. On the other hand, clever integration would allow for a richer reading experience, and we’re all pretty accustomed to illustration.
It’s still too early to tell if the project is going to be a great success or an interesting footnote, but either way it’s worth following.