A Quick Look At Author Neal Stephenson’s Latest Project: The Mongoliad

Any self-respecting geek has heard of the author Neal Stephenson, and many have read at least one of his works. Author of books such as Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, and most recently Anathem, Stephenson is known for not holding back when it comes to technological descriptions.Cryptonomicon, for example, contains a multi-page explanation on the intricacies of Van Eck phreaking. It definitely isn’t light reading.

Stephenson recently unveiled his latest project, the online subscription-based serial novel The Mongoliad. The Mongoliad is much more than just an online book, however. Along with weekly chapters, you can also find illustrations, maps, a user editable wiki, and a collection of forums to discuss the novel with other subscribers.

In order to manage such a larger undertaking, Stephenson has teamed up with other writers and artists, forming the Subutai Corporation. The writing talent behind The Mongoliad includes Stephenson himself, Greg Bear, and Mark Teppo among others, forming the literary equivalent of a supergroup.

The Mongoliad takes place in the thirteenth century, in a world much like our own. Genghis Khan’s armies are sweeping across Asia and Europe, conquering everything in sight. A small group of warriors, members of a millennium old order, have plans to stop him, however.

Is it worth subscribing to this new form of literary content delivery? For $9.99, or roughly the cost of a standard paperback novel, you gain access to a year’s worth of DRM free Mongoliad content, which will supposedly cover the release of the entire novel. If you choose not to renew your subscription when it expires, you retain access to everything that was released while you were an active subscriber. If for some reason you aren’t happy with your subscription, you can get a full refund within 45 days. Sounds like quite a bargain to me!

An iOS application with access to The Mongoliad is currently going through Apple’s approval process, and an Android application is supposedly in the works as well. If you’re at all interested, a small bit of content, including a prologue chapter, is available to anyone who takes the time to look.

Image Credit: AMagill