Friday, September 15, 2006

Atlas of Fiction

MobuzzTV did a round up of Google Map mash-ups and noted the presence of Atlas of Fiction, which at the moment goes under the banner of interesting distraction. That said, with the inclusion of more content - real locations represented in fictional stories - the site could become a reference point for a better understanding the novel, to sight seeing trips or general back-ground for someone visiting a new city. (Witness all those fee paid Sherlock Holmes walking tours of London).

What I would think would be interesting is some combination with and sites like this where users have identified the settings of the titles they have read. This information would provide a boost to Atlas in establishing a large body of data on locations. The granularity of the location information in Atlas is to the street level so you can pin point exact locations for specific action in each story and annotate the location with a summary of what happened at each location.

Some novels could lend themselves to an entirely new way of reading or engaging in the book. For example, and obvious title would be Ulysses where as a reader you could follow the story on a map of Dublin going from geographic point to point with the narrative changing as you move a cursor from place to place. Intertwine images (still or low-res video) and perhaps sounds as background and you would have a new way of interacting with the novel. This could be particularly interesting if archival pictures and sounds are used.

It would be great to see publishers start to use some of these types of tools as part of their readers guide 'products' often understanding the neighborhoods and locations in which titles are set is highly important to understanding the dimensions of the title and characters. (At least that's what I was told in English lit).

Note: For some reason, Atlas of Fiction seems to work better using Firefox.

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