Smart sixth former falls for handsome young teacher – familiar story but that’s where the familiarity ends with Matt Thorne’s new smartphone serial, High.
Lauren Butler, Pippa Walton and Becky Sparks share everything. Crushes included. But when attractive new psychology teacher Mr Hood starts school, a tragic chain of events unravels.
But readers won’t turn a single page to see the saga spin out. High’s audience gets personal with the plot on smartphone, scrolling characters’ texts, Snapchats, social media, playlists and much more.
The full length novel with graphics, video and sound effects is 10 episodes and the first four launch today across Europe on Berlin-based digital platform oolipo.
“The technological age presents challenges for literary novelists,” said author Matt Thorne, who teaches creative writing at Brunel University London, “and I’m intrigued about how this format is more reflective of the realities in which people find themselves these days.
“I wanted to write about how technology brings people together. A lot of schools now encourage their teachers to be very available on mobile technology and this breaks away from those clichés by looking at what happens when that goes wrong. It shows the new intimacy technology brings.”
High is the latest of oolipo’s six English language interactive digital titles launched this year. Aimed at millennials who don’t normally read books, but prefer to binge-watch Netflix, the platform targets the UK, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. They want to offer a “story-telling experience somewhere between watching a book and reading a movie,” said co-founder Johannes Conrady.
Jellybone about a young woman in London who receives cryptic messages on her phone from a stranger is another of oolipo’s 2017 titles along with London I by British Youtube star Suli Breaks and Get Used To It, about an international aid organisation introducing young women to skateboarding.
A full length narrative (250 pages) paced to follow different reading speeds, High can be read in a day. The interactive element is multi-layered - besides swiping and scrolling, readers can choose to ‘follow’ different characters, resulting in multiple plotlines and comment and create their own stories with the oolipo tool.
“For lots of people, reading on a smartphone has become second nature,” said Matt. “But I haven’t seen much that deepens the reading experience in an exciting way. There’s an intimacy to this way of telling a story that I hope readers will relish. It’s been a fascinating experience as a storyteller and I can’t wait to see the readers’ response.”
#askMatt more about the plot in an afternoon Twitter takeover at 12pm tomorrow (Friday September 15). To read the story, download the free oolipo App on the App Store or Google Play Store.
Hayley Jarvis, Media Relations
+44 (0)1895 268176 Hayley Jarvis