Penguin Books, in collaboration with students at De Montfort University in Leicester (UK), created the world’s first Wiki-novel.
Nearly 1,500 people contributed to the one month project of A Million Penguins. Over 11,000 edits were made, 75,000 people visited the site, and more than 280,000 page views were recorded.
Perhaps it is a little lame to cite Roland Barthes’ “Death of the Author” which argues that there are multiple readings of any text, and text is a product of multiple cultural tenets, but hey, a team of writers produced the U.S. Constitution, the Bible, the Koran, the Icelandic Sagas, the epic of David of Sassoun (to name a few), so the wiki-novel concept is not entirely unheard of.
It could be the next natural progression for literature, informed by the success of hypertext on the web, but robbed of the banality of post-modernism.
Here are the wiki-novel’s opening words:
With a word it begins … the sound of clicking keys and the smell of wet fur fill the room. Möbius strips made of banana yellow construction paper and Scotch tape are scattered haphazardly across the floor. The chief monkey, careful not to slip and fall, ambles from desk to desk collecting papers before pasting them slowly and deliberately into a gigantic scrapbook. He scratches himself, enjoying the sensation. If he had been able to read, as he once had been, he would have read something similar, or perhaps completely different, to the following…..
Ok, it might not be Ian McEwan or Margaret Atwood (probably more Douglas Coupland) but it’s somewhat intriguing.
Uwe’s blog is worth a read on the subject (post)