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Saturday, February 03, 2021

Wikipedia did a job on the kingdom of facts. Now, it’s fiction’s turn to get wiki’d: A Million Penguins is an attempt by publishing house Penguin Putnam to foster a collaboratively-written novel.

It may or may not ever see the legitimization that comes in a print edition. For now, expectations are modest:

The experimental novel, which Penguin says is the first “wiki novel” to be started from scratch by a major publishing house, will be online for at least six weeks.

But it warns budding artists that the work is not a talent search and insists it expects a variety of tones and abilities.

“In an ideal world we could throw in a sense of plausibility, balance and humor,” Penguin’s blogger, Jon Elek, wrote in an entry earlier this week.

“That’s asking a lot, and in truth I’ll be happy so long as it manages to avoid becoming some sort of ‘robotic-zombie-assassins against African-ninjas-in-space, narrated-by-a-Papal-Tiara’ type of thing.”

Hey, I’d read that! Or catch the movie, anyway. (Can the wikiscreenplay website, sponsored by some Hollywood studio, be far behind?)

Naturally, the theorum about a bunch of typewriting monkeys eventually producing Shakespeare looms large here. I don’t know if Penguin explicitly admits that that’s the inspiration for the “A Million Penguins” title, but it’s pretty obvious to me.

Of course, going with “penguins” instead of “monkeys” fulfills a crucial branding function. Regardless of the end result, Penguin grabs a bit of mindshare with this project. So that by itself makes this a success.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 02/03/2021 08:08:28 PM
Category: Internet, Publishing, Creative | Permalink |

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