August 3, 2011

"Go BZRK": A Transmedia Experience

I stumbled across the website a while ago, and was exceedingly puzzled as to what it was all about. Well, now it's become a little clearer! I've been told that Michael Grant, author of the bestselling Gone series, is coming out with a new story that's more than just a book.

His new "transmedia" experience seeks to interact with readers through not only the printed word, but also the web, ARG and an app. The story? Something involving "the missing son of a U.N. diplomat... the reemergence of a strange organization... a pair of society twins caught in the middle..." Right now, in addition to checking out the site, you can also register at to get involved.

I have to say "Go BZRK" sounds really wild and different from anything else out there! Here are some excerpts from a Q&A with Michael Grant to give you some more information:
Why “transmedia”?

There are different approaches to transmedia.  Most people take a single story and reproduce it on various platforms.  My philosophy has been to make each element - ARG, app, web, book - a thing unto itself, each revealing some aspect of the world of BZRK.  I've been fascinated with this is as a new way to tell stories.  The book remains central, but now I can reach beyond the book and create a much more complete world.  I can tell stories that enhance the book, and stories that parallel the book, and stories that are offshoots of backstory.  I guess the answer to "why" is "because it's fun."

How long is this running? Is this part of a larger picture?

We'll be running this in several chunks between now and the book release this winter. Because these things have a hard start/stop point, August is a ramp-up phase. There'll be a lot of content coming out, but the experience really gets underway at the end of the month… just in time to distract the kids from their schoolwork.

What if someone wants to follow the story but doesn’t want to participate?

You don't have to do anything.  You can do one thing and not another.  But the deeper you plunge the wetter you get.  I think every part of this is fun, I think people will enjoy the ARG, the app, the site and the books. 

What can you tell us about the story? What is “BZRK”?

It's a battle for the soul and freedom of the human race carried out simultaneously in the world we know, and in a world that you're not going to expect. It's a world where if you make a false move, you're going to lose your mind.

Insanity… is this something you have a personal familiarity with?

The line between writer and crazy person is very thin.  Both go around holding long, involved conversations with people who aren't there.

What’s this other world thing all about?

Do you really want spoilers? I'll tell you this. We'll be going "down in the meat." It's going to be vast, bloody, and beautiful.

Wait… isn’t this supposed to be for kids?

Adults like to flatter themselves that kids won't get, won't understand, won't be able to handle, more intense, more complex stories. That's nonsense.  It's the adults who are easy to creep out or scare.  Say the word "biopsy" in a room full of adults. Or "audit."  See?  Easy to scare.  Kids are a tougher audience because kids think they're immortal.

So check those sites out and let me know what you think! Also, has anyone else participated before in a "transmedia" story experience?


  1. Not yet! This will be my first one, too. Glad we're doing it together :)

  2. Hmm, I think this is a really innovative idea, I've never heard such a thing before. However, I dunno if it's for me, i don't want to go to all these different media platforms to read a book (or whatever this thing is haha) but still, sounds interesting!


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