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An unprintable book about the future, made for the future…

…Penguin Random House UK, in partnership with Lex and Editions At Play, launches science fiction world, STRATA, a unique digital-only storytelling experience with writing from authors including Misha Glenny, Laurie Penny and Maggie Koerth-Baker.

The year is 2116. Eugenics experiments have failed to curb the city’s dense population, which drowns in the perpetual shadows cast by a layer of giant towers scraping the stratosphere miles above. Further below an ancient and mysterious world crumbles…

What will the future hold for petty thieves, high-society chefs and dispossessed young women? 

STRATA is a book about the future, made for the future. Directed and illustrated by Tommy Lee Edwards, with music and sound design by I Speak Machine (Tara Busch and Maf Lewis), it comprises science fiction short stories and accompanying essays by eight stellar writers. Each story is a portal that takes the reader deeper into STRATA; each essay reveals another layer of science that underpins the world.

Readers toggle between ‘fiction’ and ‘science’ modes to discover STRATA’s dystopian class war and explore the future through specially-commissioned work across four topics:

LAW ENFORCEMENT: Greybox by James Smythe, paired with an essay by Misha Glenny

SYNTHETIC NEUROBIOLOGY: Outreach by Laurie Penny, paired with an essay by Lewis Dartnell

FOOD PRODUCTION: A Handful Of Rubies by E.J. Swift, paired with an essay by Paul McMahon

INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Affection by Lavie Tidhar, paired with an essay by Maggie Koerth-Baker 

Conceived to live on the web and optimised for mobile, STRATA uses a parallax navigation system exploring Edwards’ rich and striking retro-futuristic visuals. Combined with the ambient soundscape from I Speak Machine, STRATA makes the most of the storytelling opportunities of the web in a highly immersive new science fiction world that will appeal to all readers of comic book and graphic novel readers, and anyone with an interest in speculative future worlds, from the anime of AKIRA and GHOST IN THE SHELL, to BLADE RUNNER and MAD MAX’.

Available at and through the Google Play Books store, STRATA is the first step into a new science fiction world that has been developed by Google’s Creative Lab in Australia and Editions At Play as part of a publishing programme of books that live in the browser and make the most of the dynamic qualities of the web.

Dan Franklin, Digital Publisher, Penguin Random House UK, said: “STRATA has been a fantastic collaboration between Penguin Random House and Lex as part of the Editions At Play programme. By commissioning eight brilliant writers to run wild within the visionary world that Tommy Lee Edwards and I Speak Machine conceived we now have an entirely new kind of book that creates itself before your eyes, on the browser of the mini-computers we call our phones. It’s the best kind of ‘future shock’.”  #strataworld

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