‍Auto-ethnographic field note illustrating pressures endured by IA#73545, due to the lack of intergalactic connectivity on Earth.


was gonna hear


My report would

include a



had planned this

Earth Mission

Who could possibly
            have thought this


would be




IA#73545 Dossier
is an eLit app housing a multimedia sci-fi narrative. Taking the form of an intelligence dossier, the app tells the official story of how the Earth Mission of an intergalactic anthropologist was revealed to be a ruse.

Users swipe left and right through auto-ethnographic field notes, audio surveillance, VR scenes, intelligence memos, digital poetry and psychiatric assessments.

loyalty, betrayal, truth, justice

surveillance, espionage, migration, politics


The story involves two characters— an intergalactic anthropologist (Janai) on an officially sanctioned mission to Earth, and the leader of a group of activists-turned-terrorists (Auden), exiled on Earth since the collapse of his planet.

Unaware of Auden’s true identity, Janai makes him the focus of her research — documenting conversations, movements, his thought process, etc. Unbeknownst to her, her research and the surveillance of her mission become part of a broader intergalactic intelligence file…




listen here!

The above link houses a handful of speech-to-text audio samples. Note: manual fixes to pronunciation of certain words and spaces throughout are needed.

Currently within the project, there are 18 human voice audio scenes with 15 characters (est. 35-45 min), 21 automated voice scenes where text-to-speech is used for key content (est. 36 min), and 27 field notes or motion graphics, where speech-to-text will be used for file notes (est. 25 min).



who is the audience for this app?


I view this app as teen-oriented and maybe a little older, skewed towards girls/ young women. However, the story content has yet to be tested with potential user bases.


what is the revenue stream for this app?


This will be a paid app. The price point is expected to be around $2.99USD or more.


why are the icons so kid-focused?


Animated icons are placeholder, chosen to represent the themes for prototyping purposes and initial communications. An illustrator will be involved to formalize the aesthetic direction.


are there similar eLit apps currently in the market?


Three eLit apps which have seen success are Lifeline (3 Minute Games - $2.79 @ App Store), 80 Days (Inkle Studios - $6.99 @ App Store) and Thomas Was Alone (Mike Bithell/ Bossa Studios - $6.99 @ App Store).

Lifeline is a text-based game where the player guides Taylor (the protagonist) on real-time decisions to survive a spaceship crash on an unknown moon. The app has been expanded to a series of apps and characters.    

80 Days is a steampunk spin on Jules Verne’s 1873 novel “Around the World in Eighty Days.” Narrated by the protagonist’s servant, Passepartout, the gamified story explores the (sometimes seedy) underbelly of their travels, offering a contrasting vantage point of the social class dynamics depicted in the book. The app was nominated for four BAFTAs (Games) in 2015.

Thomas Was Alone is a narrative puzzle game, with out-of-control AI entities/ characters represented by rectangles, each with their own personality. The story is told via voiceover narration. The app was nominated for three BAFTAs (Games) in 2013, and won in the "Performance" category for it's narration. In 2014, the game was said to have sold over a million copies.


how do you define the boundaries of the market for this app?


The Canadian company, Wattpad — an online platform for readers and writers (tagline “where stories live”) — best quantifies the current market opportunity for an eLit app in this space.

The growth of the Wattpad community (in users, financing, transmedia properties emerging) suggests a ripening opportunity for eLit to be distributed through paid mobile apps. Wattpad grew more than 40% to 65 million users globally in 2017. 85% of the site’s traffic and usage comes from mobile devices. 77% of content on the site is published in English. 70% of users are female and 80% are millennials or Gen Z. Wattpad also has 17 million users across SE Asia, where The IA#73545 Dossier is partly set.    

Wattpad announces 80 million monthly user milestone
Wattpad raises 51 million in funding from Tencent, BDC and other partners


what user need does this app meet?


While the app is intended for use as entertainment, the narrative structure meets the needs of English learners, who need variety and repetition in reading and aural content to practice and master the language. According to Ethnologue, of the 1.1 billion people speaking English on Earth today, less than 400 million are native English speakers. These numbers are expected to grow as Asia rises economically, due to people opting to acquire English to aid their upward mobility.

More broadly, there’s a growing need to deliver entertainment experiences using how people are playing, exploring and experimenting with language, media, platforms and devices.  


is the story limited to a mobile app or can it live elsewhere?


While the interaction between various media forms is expected to enhance the narrative experience, it is anticipated, this hybridity will aid in expanding appeal of the app to those embracing podcasts and voice-activated tech.

The dossier structure (mostly audio and narrative text at present) make the property conducive to versioning for the podcast-eLit spectrum and voice-activated space as they develop. Global advertising on voice-devices, practically nil today, is predicted to grow to $19B by 2022. Demand for entertainment programs in this space will likely rise in tandem.

source: Ears Wide Open / Strategy + Business Apr 29, 2019


why do you feel the themes explored are internationally relevant?


The protagonist was written with a South Asian-Western hybrid demeanour in mind. Struggles of a visible minority are central to the story. As a layered metaphor, the story explores various definitions of being and feeling alien— while mirroring systemic oppressions of our current geopolitical zeitgeist.

For several years now, there have been rising immigration tensions on the borders of all Western regions— the proposed Mexico border wall, US migrant separation policy, European migrant crisis, Australia’s migrant detention centres, etc. The hope is, the story will contribute to ongoing dialogues on evolving migration policies and individuals’ experiences.