By Rebecca Winterburn
Telepathic Inc., a narrative technology company founded by Perna Gupta and her husband, Parag Chordia, released a new app this week called Hooked. Hooked features young adult short fiction meant to be read on an iPhone or Apple Watch.
Each book is approximately 1,000 words and is designed to be read in a few minutes. They are told through dialogue that appears on the screen like texts; new messages appear as readers click through.
Gupta describes her app as “Twitter for fiction” and likens it to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, told entirely through letters.
Writers for the app were recruited through MFA programs and received what Gupta describes as “competitive” pay. For now all of the content is from screened contributors, but the goal is that users will eventually be able to submit their own content. The app is rated 9+ for infrequent suggestive themes, mild horror, and occasional crude humor.
At the moment there are over 200 stories available with more being added daily. They are grouped according to “Channels” (categories) like “Love As Deep,” “Dark & Stormy,” “Primal Terror,” and “Android Dreams,” among others.
Hooked is free to download and users receive one free story per day. They also offer a subscription service that enables readers to access more stories. The price for one week is $2.99, one month is $7.99, and a year of unlimited stories is $39.99.
While writing 100,000 pages of a sci fi fantasy trilogy, Gupta was inspired by the “technology of reading” to stop writing and create the app. It was the possibilities of new innovations in reading that drove her to begin working on new tools for modern readers.