Based on the principles of Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, the novel, called A Million Penguins, is open to anyone to join in, write and edit. None of the words, characters or plot twists will be attributed to any individual and - and this is the element of the project most likely to bruise delicate egos - participants are free to edit, chop and change other writers' work.The big question is whether those who participate will be willing to check in their writerly egos at the door. But certainly the announcement has caused a stir: the A Million Penguins website and blog are already getting 10 hits a second!
Penguin have also apparently taken up residence in Second Life. (For the unititiated, a social community in an online 3D world.) I'd better go check it out.
(Incidentally, if you bump into a young lady with spiky blue hair, wearing microminishorts and displaying a great deal of cleavage ... you'll recognise me at once, of course. I haven't managed to find anything bookish going on in Second Life yet, maybe because I seem to spend most of my visits to the site at the bottom of the sea. CW has promised to take me on a tour of the library and when the internet connection is better, will take her up on that.)
I wanted to blog earlier in the week about another very interesting innovation from Penguin, and I even had the heading ready: Penguin Draws a Blank.
I was browsing the fiction section of Kinokuniya the other day when this cover (left) caught my eye. This is the latest packaging for classic novels, and you only know which title you're picking up from a wee sticker on the plastic wrap. The tag line for the My Penguin series is: Because you see, the idea is that YOU design the cover image for the book. And then, if you want, scan and submit it to Penguin for possible display in their online gallery.
Yes, yes, Penguin are very innovative, very clever indeed. But I can go one better, if someone wants to go into business with me.
I'm going to jump on the bandwagon and sell readers books with both the cover and the pages blank so that they can write their own classics. That's one Penguin haven't thought of yet!