Culture

Help CNET write a sci-fi novel

November is National Novel Writing month, when aspiring scribes commit to drafting a new novel. CNET's Eric Mack plans to write his first sci-fi book, and he wants the world to join in the process.

Eric Mack plans to write wherever, whenever, to get the novel done.

Johanna DeBiase

Update: The writing has begun! Follow the official progress here and contribute in the open sandbox draft here.

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in the United States, a time when multitudes of aspiring scribes commit to producing a novel-length work of fiction at least 50,000 words long in the span of just 30 short days. I'll be taking the opportunity to attempt creating my first science fiction novel, but I'm way too much of a coward to try such a thing on my own, so I'm asking for your help, CNET readers.

Let's crowdsource an epic science fiction story together in time for the holiday season.

I've had a basic idea in my head for a sci-fi novel for a few years now that we'll use as the central premise.

It takes place a few decades in the future, just after the so-called talk about often. In this moment, people are beginning to live much longer thanks to advances in science and technology and it's starting to seem like immortality might be possible. At the same time, humans are beginning to understand that not only are we not alone in the universe, we're not alone in the multiverse, either. The real possibility of human immortality turns out to have a direct impact on another very distant civilization, which sends a hero of sorts to Earth to resolve the complications, but how will he (or she) be received?

spacecolony3edit.jpg

Help me visualize our future society.

NASA

At least, that's the basic story concept I plan to write beginning on Sunday, November 1, but I'm hoping I don't wind up writing it all so much as editing it. See, I'm going to open up the writing process so you can not only follow along as the story comes to life in real time, but you also can contribute to shaping the story, the characters and the worlds they inhabit as we go. We're talking about the world's first MMOSFN -- Massively Multiwriter Online Science Fiction Novel.

Every evening starting November 1, I'll post my progress on the novel in a public Google Doc that will act as a community sandbox for the developing story, where anyone can make suggested additions. I'll integrate the best suggestions from the crowd each day that keep the story moving forward into an official working draft and then post the progress again the following night and the following night and the following night...

To get things started right now, before the actual writing begins, feel free to start sharing ideas in the comments below and also let me know in the poll to the left which other futuristic elements we've covered here on CNET's Crave blog you'd most like to see integrated into the universe(s) of our novel. Maybe you want to see liberal use of space elevators? Should current US presidential candidate, the Transhumanist Party's Zoltan Istvan, be a character? Which of these distant destinations should be the setting of at least one scene?

The final novel will be published as a series on CNET sometime after November, and all contributors (those who want it, at least) will receive credit.

This entire project will be produced and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which basically means it's all free to be shared and adapted wherever, with proper attribution.

Keep checking back here with Crave and follow us @EricCMack and @crave on Twitter for updates. Then get ready to write starting this Sunday!

Update, November 2, 12:18 p.m. PT: with links to the official and open sandbox drafts of the project.