Cthulu on your phone.
Ebooks are great, as are the eReaders we read them on, but they hardly take advantage of the technology via which they are conveyed. That is why we were so excited to hear about the iClassics range of interactive reading apps for iOS and Android, which let readers young and old enjoy classic fiction in a more hands-on way. Fans of the dark arts, we checked out the iLovecraft app.
For those unfamiliar with his works (for shame!), H.P. Lovecraft created dark and foreboding tales of terror and menace, often featuring other-worldly Gods and monsters. Best read in the dark, alone, Lovecraft's stories and novels lend themselves to illustration, which the iLovecraft app really takes advantage of.
Starting more like a film than a book, the app is fully animated with a haunting soundtrack playing throughout. Just as with standard reading apps, you physically flick the screen to turn each page, but also have the option of manipulating other things in the story. You can rattle bones and skulls as they hang by the on-screen text, as well as turn on lights and even slowly open a coffin. The app includes the tales The Hound, Dagon, and The Window, as well as a Lovecraft biography and a sketchbook by the artist.
The words drip onto the screen and change colour throughout, with the music and sound effects taking the reader by surprise with screams and crashes, moans and growls. The app recommends you read the story with headphones on, and doing so very much enhances the experience. Just be warned; you will be startled.
If the intention will all this hard work is to get more kids reading, we think iClassics have truly cracked it. Younger people are more accustomed to interacting with media on their phones and tablets in this way, so a story – a 'classic', no less – that uses all the technological capabilities of the device is sure to be winner.
The range also features apps with the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Jack London.