How do you read a map?

Friday, March 21, 2008 at 12:03 PM



Well, on a new Penguin Publishing site, you read it like a book. The text of select stories is literally displayed on maps. The site promises "Six authors. Six stories. Six weeks." The first is a short story by Charles Cumming entitled "21 Steps," inspired by the John Buchan novel The 39 Steps. And you can read chapters, snippets, and dialogue on a map of London. The interactive map guides you through the protagonist's travels, revealing the next chapter of the story as you--and she--reach the destination. Visualizing the connection of the story to its physical setting expands the reader's perspective and makes the story more palpably real.

Foreshadowing is a common writer's device. Could it be that this site foreshadows the emergence of a new literary medium? The end of this story is a long way from being written.