In a world in which “we’re actually so connected, we’re disconnected,” how do you bring people together again and, incidentally, salvage the collective imagination of the age? Debut novelist Mahon is glad you asked.
One morning, corporate speechwriter Morgan Byrnes taps out one line of a hypothetical story on her Facebook page. Percy Chadwick, her friend and business partner, brings a smile to her face when he adds another sentence that continues the story. When a dozen strangers from around the world offer their own elaborations that swiftly take the story from Silicon Valley to the heart of Africa, Morgan knows she’s on to something primal and powerful. Backed up by Percy, she makes the rounds of local tech development firms, waxing poetic about the possibility that World Wide Writes, by making it possible for anyone to help build an ongoing story, will harness the immitigable human desire for narrative and help ensure its survival. Morgan and Percy strike oil at App Storm, where Brad Fielding, her brother’s old MIT roommate, is one of the top guys. The only problem is that App Storm demands editorial control of the stories: no substandard grammar, no cyberbullying, nothing offensive or politically incorrect. Stunned because “it’s each person’s truth. How can they mess with that?” Morgan and Percy walk away from App Storm. But how will they launch their project on their own? A possible savior promptly appears in the person of App Storm contractor Rowley Gaines, who’s willing to do the development work for free because he’s fallen in love with one of the characters and feels he has to see where her story leads.
Sweetly earnest utopian metafiction larded with extended quotations from the sages you read in high school.