***** 17776, by Jon Bois

What football will look like in the future.

Here’s a weird one. You can’t really say that 17776 is a novel, because, well, it’s not. What is it? An internet serial? An interactive novel? A visual novel with no choices? It might be all of those things, or none of them. Wikipedia calls it « a serialized speculative fiction multimedia narrative » and I’m inclined to trust them.

Whatever it is, it’s definitely an experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. When I clicked on it, I didn’t really know what to expect. I mean, I don’t care about football, in the future or otherwise. But what I got was far from boring. I got some delightfully weird sci-fi, sentient satellites, and yes, some messed up future football that takes the sheer joy and ridiculousness of the game and cranks it up to eleven.

17776 is the story of a satellite that wakes up in the future, suddenly sentient. It’s been awakened by two other satellites, who just want to chat and have fun and chill while observing humanity and watching football. And let me tell you, those satellites are a riot. They each have their own personalities, and their own distinct speaking voices, and it’s just a joy when the chat windows start to appear on screen.

And the football is, huh… it’s a trip. Humans at this point of the future have just stopped dying, and they’ve taken to this sudden immortality with the thought that hey, how about we make sport into this crazy continent spanning thing since, you know, we have all the time in the world and can’t die. One of the very first games we see have someone jumping into a tornado to get where they’re going faster. It’s insane.

17776 is the same kind of wacky, « humans are insane » kind of sci-fi than Lovestar, if Lovestar was at the chaotic evil end of the scale while 17776 is firmly chaotic good.

And the medium the story is delivered through is just a joy to experience. Truly, Jon Bois has seen all that the internet is capable of regarding multimedia narratives and boy, has he delivered.

I definitely recommend that everyone clicks on this link and experiences it for themselves.


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