Fantasy fiction project brings new worlds to your smartphone

Neil Gaiman + Raspberry Pi = something very strange in Bristol

Fantasy fiction project brings new worlds to your smartphone

Piggybacking on weirdly named and unsecured wireless networks is one of the joys of city living. But if you try to siphon off some Wi-Fi while walking around Bristol in the next few days, you might find yourself accessing not your own email, but a whole alternative universe.

The city is currently home to an experiment in digital storytelling called These Pages Fall Like Ash.

Participants download portions of narrative to their smartphones from Raspberry Pi terminals concealed in various locations. Of course, you'll need a guide to find and understand these, and that comes in the form of a beautiful wood-bound notebook that you receive when you purchase your ticket.

The story is based on a collaboration between academic Tom Abba and art collective Circumstance, with input from fantasy authors Neil Gaiman and Nick Harkaway. Does it work? Well, when we tried it out, we found a few glitches with the terminals - and our iPhone battery choked before we could get the whole story. But the idea of a secret city layered over familiar streets is seductive and beautifully executed.

These Pages Fall Like Ash continues until May 8 but has sold out. However, the creators have plans for similar events in other cities - we recommend joining in if you get the chance.

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