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Toward an Index of All Stories: Previewing Small Demons

Small Demons screenshotHow useful might a proper-name index to all novels and movies be? If, for example, you wanted to discover all instances of Peeps in fiction, or every time someone drove a Mustang, or took a picture of Big Ben?

That is the humble goal of Small Demons, a new service (still in beta) that aims to allow readers to discover connections between works, as well as to more fully understand the way novels and movies they love represent the world.

Valla Vakili, the co-founder and CEO of Small Demons, has a great post describing the stichomancy of fictional detail–of the ring of truth that emerges as one pursues details both within and across universes. Small Demons calls those universes the Storyverse, and will make it possible for readers to search for people, places, and things across an impressive range of works. You can also browse works, and see what connections it contains. (Note that the connections have to be direct, and by name–veiled allusions, or quotations/paraphrases that don’t directly invoke the source, won’t be mentioned.) What’s nice is that Small Demons will show you a snippet of text containing an instance of the reference.

Naturally, Small Demons is also prepared to sell you a copy of books that you’ve discovered using their interface.

Small Demons will depend on the contributions of readers, and is scaling up to a system of editing and curating, complete with badges for demonstrated expertise.

You can tell Small Demons will be good, because it has a trailer by Adam (Lonely Sandwich) Lisagor (more):

You can also see a presentation by Vakili to the O’Reilly Media Tools of Change in Publishing Conference from February.

Registration (free) is required–you can either register with an e-mail address or with Facebook or Twitter–until it is out of beta.

Right now, Small Demons is strongly weighted toward contemporary works, which I guess means there will be plenty of opportunity for us Victorianists to earn badges! You might start with William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition or Nick Bilton’s I Live in the Future & Here’s How It Works.

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