This interview in the New York Times provides a look at a new take on e-books from Seattle sci-fi authors Neal Stephenson and Greg Bear.

Author Neal Stephenson has been credited for inspiring today’s virtual world startups with his novel Snow Crash. Now he’s launching a startup himself: Subutai, where he is co-founder and chairman.

The company, based in Seattle and San Francisco, has developed what it calls the PULP platform for creating digital novels. The core of the experience is still a text novel, but authors can add additional material like background articles, images, music, and video. There are also social features that allow readers to create their own profiles, earn badges for activity on the site or in the application, and interact with other readers.

(I wrote about this back in June, but it's exciting to see it nearing fruition.) Calling the platform PULP is a special kind of throwback genius on Stephenson's part. I have signed up for e-mail updates at the Subutai website, and I will let you know when the first novel, The Mongoliad, starts serializing. Wait! It's live now! It will be available on the internet, on Kindles, on Apple's devices, and as an Android app.

Thanks to Slog tippers Cedar and Patti. (Patti writes "This is the kind of book that would make me get an e-reader or iPad." I agree.)