Open-source Novel as Privacy/Freedom Manifesto

I am an author published by a major house. Credentials or samples available privately as this project will be completed under a pseudonym.

Zcash/ECC white page determined a need for quality fiction exploring themes of privacy and freedom. I’d like to create, with the community’s input through an initial and followup Discord input sessions, an open sourced novel that speaks to the dangers facing personal freedoms, and the solutions posed by decentralization, open-sourcing, and general goodwill. We hope to represent the community’s goals and values, and even examine the challenges this particular approach will incur.

Premise: As we go through our days we are influenced by television, social media, the music we listen to, and the information we gather through our senses, all seemingly random, all nudging us forward as if by fate. What if all these micro-nudges suddenly became hyper-apparent? You’d be one of the few people wide awake in a world of souls hypnotized, triggered, and locked in an externally driven motivation machine fueled by addiction and extortion, made possible by a systematic multileveled gross violation of privacy. What powers run this machine and to what end? How did you wake up? And if you plainly saw your world sleepwalking to the beat of an unknown drummer what, if anything, could you do about it?

This is the conflict of the protagonist in a (proposed) short, plainly written novel, detailing a journey from enmeshment in a dehumanizing pervasive system of surveillance and manipulation to individual freedom. I propose an initial Discord with topics such as characterization/setting, conscious/unconscious desire, principles of antagonism/value, etc. and invite community members to weigh in on the decisions that shape story. The writing will be done on my own, but will offer polls throughout to guide the narrative as needed. I leave to you all whether or not we directly name Zcash/cryptocurrency or use broader metaphors.

However, I think it would be in everyone’s best interest if I am paired with a small, trusted volunteer editorial committee to assure that my work adequately reflects Zcash/ECC’s best knowledge and intentions. These folks can organically select from the Discord group based on interest and inclination. You all have been in the privacy game much longer and deeper than I have, and I would like to rely on that experience and judgement.

While I feel well up to the task of the writing/assimilation—even the publishing—of such work, I’m not a publicist or distributor, so when the time comes, this task would need to be handled by the community or someone other than me. I agree to participate in promotions.

Let me know if this is the type of creative writing project you are looking to sponsor, as per your white page, and if we might come to an agreement for its execution.

				Most sincerely in all save the pseudonym which follows,

									T. Coverly

Solution Format

Short (under 200p., target 120) novel in near cinematic form, ready for animation or video production if that would serve future use. Sadly, readers grow scarce.

Technical approach

I will sit and write until the story is told and then I will rewrite until my Zeditors are satisfied with the product, stopping short of abuse.

How big of a problem would it be to not solve this problem?

I find that there are benefits to having a hand in the narrative. I think the idea is that story creates a modern mythology/metaphor around the day’s challenges, in this case surveillence , privacy and media manipulation, so people are inspired to find creative solutions and the courage to explore them.

Execution risks

As far as I know, this has never been done before, outside of TV writing, a team of all pros. This project gives a literary voice to a brilliant group of innovators who are generally limited to tech, using the collaborative methods they have honed . It could be a trainwreck, but it could be so cool. At the completion of the work, we would reapply for funding for marketing if we decided the most decentralized distribution route forward would be independent publishing.

Unintended Consequences

I’m not sure about this one. Stories are words, and words always seem to wrangle up mischief.

Evaluation plan

I’d rely on editorial volunteers for evaluation.

Schedule and Milestones

See proposal. I’d like to have an outline in 6 weeks, draft ready in 8 months (this is a conservative estimate). 2nd draft in 10, Finished copy within 2 additional months, depending on editor’s gauntlet.

Budget

Collect in installments, weighted towards the finish. This is negotiable. Writing is time intensive and this is a labor of love and conviction, which I would be proud to complete.

10 Likes

I’d be happy to read and provide limited edits.

1 Like

Thanks! If it seems cool/fun/interesting, much of the input should be early on the Discord in a choose-your-own-adventure spirit of campfire storytelling. I’m so curious where the story could go and how people would choose to participate. A writer can get so sick of one’s own predictable interior. I’m so ready for surprises— you lot are full of them :blush:

1 Like

Interesting, I think a (the, perhaps) big factor in this cipherpunk pysche-exam is determining whether or not, or to what extent the protagonist be a fatalist or an idealist. I believe wholeheartedly in the project, wouldn’t waste my time here if I didn’t but I also understand our limited understanding of the nature of abstract mathematics, to the extent that the methods for solving things required to break cryptography of an unprovable nature may have simply not been worked out yet and new mathematical methods are being found all the time, and the quantum adversary. In this case, it’s really more akin to adaptation and I think this community has a real sense of balance with regards to the unnecessary risks that fatalism brings with it and inaction associated with the overconfidence of an idealist, not so much in other communities out there I imagine. (I guess that last part sort of implies boundaries which I’m thinking probably don’t actually exist)

1 Like

I’m really interested in this and want to help. I think crypto in general hasn’t really developed a lot of culture yet, like rituals, iconography, stories of heroes to look up to, except for mostly superficial iconography and apathy memes… There’s a ton of potential i think for privacy focused folk in particular to lead the way in enriching this. Themes im interested in particular are about what it means to embrace decentralization vs patriotism family etc, how privacy and prosocial values coexist. Anyway I don’t know what im doing here but i think new literature is actually a powerful thing to do we should really value a lot, so I’d want to help somehow if possible

4 Likes

You were on my dream team for editorial support and input so I’m very excited that you think the project might have some merit. Do you like the idea of setting up a detailed story element “machine” on Discord and letting the community influence the outcomes? It will take me a bit of work to set up, but then it can be reused to create any kind of story by anyone (or thing🤖-beyond my pay grade).

1 Like

:smiley: I love that you are thinking this way.
I think of the world as a bunch of puzzle pieces floating around. Most people find it comforting to force the pieces they’ve found to form a complete picture, almost as a reflex, and use this as a map of their reality. I’ve found it more honest to just let the pieces float. Sometimes they come together to form a picture; sometimes they drift to form other pictures. Occasionally some lock together and seem to form a truth from my perspective, but I acknowledge that things probably will look differently from where you’re viewing. Accepting groundlessness as a permanent condition, can be unsettling, but it’s how I roll. Supreme relativity, flux, uncertainty, and the interconnected nature of our existence and experience are the closest I’ve come to truth.

I also believe the arts should (as if one could help it) leave space for the audience to refract and interpret rather than box in or instruct. If your reader is an idealist or fatalist, the mirror of this story will reflect as much; if your reader believes, as I do, in curiosity and awe, the mirror might just sparkle and dance.

2 Likes

Crowd sourced input into the story would be a very decentralized thing to do.
I really liked these somethingawful choose your own adventure threads, this is the most famous A Fistful of Clown: Dropsy Goes West - The Something Awful Forums where an artist host takes input from the forum posters
Bet something like that could work here

3 Likes

I think we are on exactly the same page. And will check out the reference. Looks cool. I’d like to bring as much as possible from the community.

Ideally, my role would be something like the Ting (50) character in the IChing. A ritual vessel in which a sacred offering is cooked up. It was even (mythologically) created from metals collected from all the provinces, so the flavor the pot brought to offering wouldn’t be weighted to any participant. My flavor is what it is, but you would be sponsoring a premise and a vessel in which the community would cook their story, not a mystery casserole delivered anonymously to a company potluck.

2 Likes

Expressing my support towards the funding of this grant. This is a clear value add to Zcash community and hopefully would prove to be a great dinner talk topics among the techies.

2 Likes

this post has been edited by the author.

Hi @TCoverly, thanks for responding to our calls for more media and storytelling! The ZOMG met today and we like your pitch. Would you be able to share some samples of your writing with me? You can send it to me in a DM.

PS - I’m pleased to see that the community is also keen to participate in the creation of this novel!

2 Likes

When I first imagined this projected, I thought of it in terms of a light, surreal, clever-though-revealing exchange between characters the community would help create while exploring what I understood at the time to be “topics of privacy”–libertarian yet abstract. But since taking up this lens (if only hypothetically) I have been disturbed to my core at the picture it reveals.

A comprehensive perspective might recognize the trend, along with the current medical, political, and environmental climates, as concerted destabilization. It is with some sense of irony, I recognize that as my 13-year-old anarchist self dreamed of routing the forces that “oppressed” my “self”, those forces were evolving to destabilize the very notions of self and the authentic interpersonal connections that required for its reflexivity. In tearing down interpersonal connection, fostering isolation, families and communities–the circulatory system of decentralization and local reaction–will deteriorate until we are (further) reduced to agents of a remote central authority. This is the what we counter, I believe, with specialization, grassroots organization, and aggregate, rather than central, power and volition: The preservation of supreme and excellent relativity. (It even scales better than centrality!)

Maybe that’s more serious a topic than the foundation wishes to see addressed. I’m even disheartened to find myself with such heavy thoughts, but I have children, so I can’t afford blue-pill luxuries. I can see why the view–panoramic, graphic, dire-- however, need be cloaked in image and story and metaphor. It’s a lot to bear consciously, intellectually .

5 Likes

Hi Andrew, do you have an thoughts on ways to solicit input from the community? Do you think a building on a Discord page throughout the project would be sufficient?
Can you foresee any possible limitations on selling/optioning rights to the project as a result of accepting a grant for its completion? I don’t want to cripple the material’s distribution future, especially in adaptation/digital mediums, as a result of poor planning now on my part.
Any other ideas? Concerns?
Thanks :blush:

1 Like

Just informing the forum that I’ve withdrawn the proposal from the foundation site. Thanks for your consideration and support. I do hope you find a great writer to create the first on-chain novel! You’re a great group. Thanks.