- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 27, 2010

For readers armed with an iPad, the book may never be the same again. At least Jeffrey Schechter, co-Owner of PadWorx, hopes so.

His company’s debut effort Dracula: The Official Stoker Family Edition (PadWorx Digital Media, $4.99), on Apple’s magical tablet offers an interactive way to appreciate a piece of classic literature built on a game engine.

In a recent interview, Mr. Schechter explained, “We’re not out to replace the traditional reading experience, but create an alternate way to enjoy it.”

PadWorx is off to a scary start.

Through 284 virtual pages, Bram Stoker’s classic horror novel comes to life with help from 600 often-animated illustrations, 200 sound effects and 40 minutes of music.

Owners still must thumb through and read the book (let your fingers liberally perform the navigation), which is embellished with textured backdrops throughout, but will find an assortment of ways to have fun with the pages and words.

For example, view an illustration of the Count holding a letter near a lamp. Push his hand toward the fire and the paper bursts into flames, scorching the screen and revealing a new page of text.

Or clear a bunch of vagrant rats off a page by using a finger to place a dog’s paw prints, sending the vermin scurrying and clearing enough space to read the obscured paragraphs.

Or, how about blowing leaves off of tombstones, using lighting from a lantern and opening telegrams to continue the story  you get the idea.

I understand, traditional readers, that this involves unnecessary work, but that level of interactivity happens about every seven pages or so and it’s pretty slick.

In addition, each of the 21 chapters begins with an original song by indie musical artists, including Adaline, Eve and the Ocean, and Emily Spiller. And of course, the virtual book works best when victims curl up in bed with the lights out.

The creep factor of blood occasionally trickling on the page, shrieks of terror and stake pounding mixing with musical crescendos and Stoker’s vivid prose should entice an older audience to embrace a piece of legendary horror literature in a new format.

And, just to satisfy the multitasking multimedia hounds, the book contains a series of unlockables, including the complete 1922 “Nosferatu” movie, an image of Bram Stoker’s death certificate and the 1938 audio recording of Mercury Theater’s radio presentation of “Dracula” starring Orson Welles.

Good luck finding the clues to unleash these rarities, I’ll never reveal the secrets, but “words” are a powerful thing.

Visit Zadzooks at the blog section of The Washington Times’ Communities pages (https://communities.washingtontimes.com).


• Joseph Szadkowski can be reached at jszadkowski@washingtontimes.com.

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