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The Unified Republic of Stars is a collaborative storyworld created by partner Colin Andrew Ferm. Built using several of the web’s most powerful content collaboration tools, the technology behind the Unified Republic of Stars can be used to communicate and collaborate with one’s customers to create a powerful story behind their brand.

Unified Republic of Stars

A collaborative storytelling worldA screen shot of The Unified Republic of Stars homepageA screen shot of a The Unified Republic of Stars wiki page

When not creating cutting edge websites or hacking WordPress, founder Colin Andrew Ferm writes novels and short stories. Being an avid fan of science-fiction, it’s seemed only natural that many of these stories would be set in space. To do this, Colin created his own science-fiction story “world” as the backdrop to a novel and a series of short stories.

A “storyworld” is more than just the background of a story. It’s the rules by which stories must operate, determining whether certain things exist at all and governing when certain things are available. A story set in the real world wouldn’t have a ’69 Malibu in the year 1955. Neither would a Rayo Stallion exist in the Unified Republic of Stars in 2178. And because it’s science-fiction, there are no wizards, trolls, or dragons.

Beyond that, a storyworld offers a timeline of events that have happened or will happen, allowing a storyteller to weave their stories into a larger timeline. In this way, a story might act as a prelude to a major military action or be set on a backwater moon, oblivious to the battle happening in space above them.

Of course, in almost every way a storyworld is as much a story as the individual stories themselves.

Colin took this to heart and, over the course of seven years, kept building the world until it was comprised of two 50,000 word history books and a spreadsheet of facts and figures pushing ten megabytes. And, after having written one novel and a dozen short stories set in the world, the obvious question became, what now?

A “storyworld” is more than just the background of a story. It’s the rules by which stories must operate

Enter partner Mark Harris, also a storyteller and filmmaker. Seeing the sheer size and scope of what became known as The Unified Republic of Stars, Mark suggested  publishing it onto the internet for others to use and build on.

But how?

Fortunately for Colin, the state of open source web collaboration tools has reached a state of maturity and it soon became a process of selecting the tools not just with the most power but also the easiest to build upon. In the end, he selected WordPress to handle to story publishing element and MediaWiki to act as the storyworld’s encyclopedia.

Each system was uniquely suited to their given tasks, WordPress because it has become the leading publishing tool on the web and MediaWiki because it is the software the powers the Wikipedia. By combining the two with a series of extensions to the core software, Colin was able to create not just a Unified Republic of Stars but also a unified user experience, allowing readers to jump from stories to reference material and find which stories reference particular elements of the world.

Licensing the content under a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike license, storytellers and creators may build upon the original storyworld so long as their creations are not sold and original attribution is given. And though Colin retains editorial control on the stories published, the reference section is wide open for those who wish to collaborate by editing or adding articles on subjects that interest them, from the accomplishments of a future baseball league, to the many types of ships that fly through space, to the economics that drive human interaction.

With three hundred content articles, a followed blog on space and story developments, and a dozen stories that take place in this possible future world, the Unified Republic of Stars is a testament to the power of collaborative storytelling.

And with the technology developed to blend the power of two of the web’s most popular content tools, 42 Solutions has the unique ability to bring the features of the Unified Republic of Stars to any story and world told on the internet.

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42 Solutions

Working with 42 Solutions, you’ll find that it’s not the technology that’s important, it’s the idea. Regardless of whether your company is based on proprietary software or open source, we will find the right tools to get the job done.

Invite us to your office and we’ll send a pair of consultants armed with laptops and bright ideas, ready to solve your problem and offer solutions. We pride ourselves in getting to know how you do business and integrating into your process.