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CSI Creator’s New Novel to Have a lonelygirl Twist

How simultaneously old school and cutting edge can you get? CSI creator Anthony E. Zuiker’s next project is a crime novel called Dark Chronicles. But it’s not just a novel; it’s going to be a “digi-novel” (not an awkward name, no not at all) due to a partnership with EQAL, the lonelygirl15 web production company.

Purchasers of the book will get codes at the end of every five chapters that give them access to videos, audio files, and photos written, produced and directed by Zuiker. Other online content will include a blog, behind-the-scenes content, and a dedicated social network for fans. The book itself is being jointly written by Zuiker and an unnamed novelist.

We have to wait till Sept. 8 for all to be released, but so far Dark Chronicles sounds like a promising (if retro) way to combine online and offline worlds. If you think about it, books are the ultimate time-shifted and place-shifted content — so it’ll be interesting to see how a daily updated web site can have the right pacing (and lack of spoilers) for all readers’ participation.

EQAL has an ongoing partnership to produce and consult on content for CSI network CBS (s cbs), but that is separate from this project. It had previously been reported that CSI would be one of the first CBS shows “to get the EQAL treatment,” so it’s interesting that this separate Zuiker project launched first. Meanwhile, EQAL’s first announced joint project with CBS is an original TV and web show called Harper’s Island that’s supposed to launch this spring.

Both Zuiker and EQAL co-founder Greg Goodfried spoke at our NewTeeVee Live conference last November. See videos of their talks here and here.

5 Responses to “CSI Creator’s New Novel to Have a lonelygirl Twist”

  1. Anthony is a really cool dude. I think it’s awesome that Marc Ecko did the artwork everything, the book looks super sick. Anthony gave my dad the first copy of his book. And it’s called Level 26: Dark Origins, not Dark Chronicles.

  2. You promised those features both before and after the original launch as well :P

    What I’m actually curious about is the “sustainability” of this approach, though – books have the tendency to stick around. Sure there will be reprints, and yes, they might be changed, but the fact of the matter is, the more of these are sold in the original run, the more of these are going to be out there with those codes in them for a very, very long time.

    …how long are the servers going to be up?

    Or, asked more directly, for how long are the codes going to be worth anything?
    If I borrow this novel from a friend in five years, would I still get that content?

    And how does that content tie in with the book? The article sort of implies (by explicitly stating it’s not just a novel, but a “digi-novel”) that the additional content is relevant to the story – what if I reach the end of a chapter ten minutes after going on a bus, and won’t have a chance to check the digital content for hours? Would that mean I miss part of the story, and won’t get the next chapter until I went online?

    And what about e-book versions of the novel? Would those at least include direct http links to the content? Would they have a different feature set, or come pre-bundled with some of the other stuff?
    Would it just be a PDF of the book, ignoring all the additional possibilities?

    I’m not criticizing the idea at all (all hail the digital age), I’m just curious about the details of how this will work in practice, given the mismatching limits and reach of books and the web.

  3. Thanks Liz, we’re really excited to be working with Anthony! I agree, it’s a very retro/modern twist. We think it’s going to be a really cool entertainment experience.

    MM – Yup, we need to roll out new features on LG15. You’ll first see the features on and then we’ll need to do some work on the backend to get the features up on LG15. That may take a little time but we certainly haven’t forgotten about the LG15 community.