Books

Serial Box, Silverwood: The Door and the Future of Digital Reading

Recently a company named Serial Box has been making a small buzz around the fantasy and science fiction genre fan bases. Many of you are asking, “What is Serial Box?” or “Why do they spell cereal wrong?” or, “I’ve heard of them! But, I know little about them.” Well, fear not, you will learn about them and their service today, and get a review of one of their serials. So, let’s begin, Serial Box is a service where the company delivers a novel in a serial format, each week they will release the next part of the novel and will do so until it’s completed.


Now, how they approach serialization differs from the way Charles Dickens or Stephen King approached it. Their approach is more like a television show. They call a complete story a season, and they release weekly episodes. Now, they also approach writing the serials as if they were television shows. Each serial has a showrunner who works with a group of writers to tell a whole season. The showrunner is in charge of the season and an individual writer writes each episode. So, their approach to serial novels or serial storytelling is just like someone’s approach to a TV show. Which makes their tagline make sense. They call themselves the HBO for books

 photo courtesy of Serial Box

Which brings us to the productions themselves. It takes 45 minutes to an hour to consume each episode, just like an episode from a TV show. They also produce an audio drama of each episode. This isn’t like listening to a regular audiobook, this is a full audio production. They have music, multiple narrators, and sound effects. Each episode is highly immersive to listen to. The narrators are fantastic and the music and sound effects add to the immersion. Their audio production is top-notch, and it is my opinion that this should be how you should experience each episode. Before Silverwood, most of Serial Box’s shows have been fantasy, alternative history, romance, mystery, sci-fi, and suspense. Silverwood is their first horror serial, and trust me, this serial has teeth, and isn’t afraid to bite.


Silverwood: The Door is a serial that has finished its first season. The showrunner of this show was Brian Keene, who recruited Stephen Kozeniewski, Richard Chizmar, and The Sisters of Slaughter (Michelle Garza, and Melissa Lason) to write this show. Silverwood: The Door advertises itself as a continuation of the Blackbox TV YouTube series called Silverwood. The YouTube series was a Twilight Zoneesque tale about strange happenings in a small town until they eventually tie together for a satisfying conclusion. The serial takes place a few years after, and the town of Silverwood has vanished and in its location is a forest. The serial follows multiple perspectives from different people going into the forest for different reasons. The two main groups are a bunch of office workers going into the woods for a team building exercise (including paintball! Because that’s a good idea…), and a group of Boy Scouts, well, Scouts who are going into the woods to go camping. Early on things get strange, a woman gets text messages about Beatles albums that never existed, and a new Kurt Cobain solo album. The two leaders of the scouts end up in a conflict, and different people in the groups get isolated. This weird black goopy pollen is exfoliating from the plants and the people who breathe in the pollen change and become aggressive. Before you know it, you’re in an intense ride and someone or something has cut the brakes. As the reader, you sink deeper into the insanity of Silverwood, and you slowly learn the secrets of this goopy black pollen.
            

This serial is not for the faint of heart, it is intense, gory, violent, and thrilling. The audio production makes it much better. The foley work is quite complete and terrific. When the characters are walking through the woods, you hear small wind sound effects, and the sounds of grass being crushed beneath the feet of the characters. When the paintball guns go off, they have the sound effects for those too. Even during the intense scenes, you hear shuffling, punching, panting, stabbing, and ripping. The sound development is fantastic and works to draw you into the story. The characters are all well developed, well, the ones that aren’t cannon fodder. But, every character feels real and their struggles feel real. You’ll wish characters will die, only to be disgusted by their deaths. You’ll also hold in your breath during the more intense scenes praying the good characters survive. Not to mention, the mystery at the center of this serial will have you coming back for every episode. I strongly recommend this series and I strongly recommend you check out Serial Box services if you’re looking for something new and something different.

 photo courtesy of Serial Box


One last thing, Serial Box works in a way similar to Amazon Streaming. You may purchase each season episode by episode, or purchase a season pass. The season pass will give you access to the episodes as soon as they go live, and you have to download the audio production if you want to listen instead of reading them. They have two free serials, one is a horror called Exquisite Corpse, and the other is a fantasy. Not to mention that the first episode of every series is free to read or to listen, just so you can sample a taste.
 

I can see this company making moves as they head into the future, and I strongly suggest you give them a shot. The serials are fun, entertaining, thrilling, and well put together. They have a wide range of productions that will only get wider as they grow as a company. Give them a sample and see what you think for yourself and then let us know on Signal Horizon which ones you think are worth the purchase.  Silverwood: The Door certainly was.

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