In 2048, Wikipedia doesn’t exist. Without enough donations and too many copyright claims, it has to shut down. In 2049, a new substitute rises: Omnipedia, built in the spirit of its predecessor as a free encyclopedia for all. Days after Omnipedia’s launch, its main investor Xu Shaoyong, arguably the most powerful man on the planet, is assassinated.
This is the fictional universe of Neurocracy, an experimental narrative project that takes place over 10 episodes, starting on July 14th. Through Omnipedia, it invites readers to solve Xu’s murder in a near future where millions of people suffer from Cariappa-Muren disease, a fatal condition caused by infected tuna. Famed neuroscientist and activist Connie Muren, who helped discover the disease, has vanished without a trace. The environment is falling apart from irreversible climate change, and the world lives under a biosurveillance system called G6.
Whether you see Neurocracy as hypertext fiction or an offshoot of an alternate reality game, it’s the first project of its kind, using a medium that we take for granted every day. The entire game takes place in your browser on the Omnipedia site. Each weekly episode represents one day in Neurocracy, and as time “passes,” Omnipedia entries will undergo updates and revisions just like the real Wikipedia. There are other types of wiki-based metafiction — projects like Excalibur, which is styled as a fan-made wiki for a fictional TV show. But none that tell a story quite like this.