STRATA is a book about the future, made for the future. Directed and illustrated by Tommy Lee Edwards, with music and sound design by I Speak Machine (Tara Busch and Maf Lewis), it comprises science fiction short stories and accompanying essays by eight stellar writers. Each story is a portal that takes the reader deeper into STRATA; each essay reveals another layer of science that underpins the world.
Available at strata.world and through the Google Play Books store, STRATA is the first step into a new science fiction world that has been developed by Google’s Creative Lab in Australia and Editions At Play as part of a publishing programme of books that live in the browser and make the most of the dynamic qualities of the web.
Conceived to live on the web and optimised for mobile, STRATA uses a parallax navigation system exploring Edwards’ rich and striking retro-futuristic visuals. Combined with the ambient soundscape from I Speak Machine, STRATA makes the most of the storytelling opportunities of the web in a highly immersive new science fiction world that will appeal to all readers of comic book and graphic novel readers, and anyone with an interest in speculative future worlds, from the anime of Akira and Ghost in the Shell, to Blade Runner and Mad Max.
Now, a little more of the story:
The year is 2116.
Eugenics experiments have failed to curb the city’s dense population, which drowns in the perpetual shadows cast by a layer of giant towers scraping the stratosphere miles above. Further below an ancient and mysterious world crumbles…
What will the future hold for petty thieves, high-society chefs and dispossessed young women?
Readers toggle between ‘fiction’ and ‘science’ modes to discover STRATA’s dystopian class war and explore the future through specially-commissioned work across four topics:
LAW ENFORCEMENT: Greybox by James Smythe, paired with an essay by Misha Glenny
SYNTHETIC NEUROBIOLOGY: Outreach by Laurie Penny, paired with an essay by Lewis Dartnell
FOOD PRODUCTION: A Handful Of Rubies by E.J. Swift, paired with an essay by Paul McMahon
INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Affection by Lavie Tidhar, paired with an essay by Maggie Koerth-Baker
Get The Silence here:
Analogue synth enthusiasts and John Carpenter fans rejoice. I Speak Machine is an audio visual collaboration between musician Tara Busch & filmmaker Maf Lewis. Tara’s music is made from layers of eerie synth and spectral vocals. ‘The Silence’ is their first release on Lex and the original score to the indie sci-fi film of the same name.
Early supporters of I Speak Machine include new wave pioneer John Foxx (Ultravox) and soundtrack composer Clint Mansell (Requiem For A Dream, The Wrestler, Black Swan).
Watch an excerpt of I Speak Machine live in concert:
Watch the video for lead track, Crawl Home: