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A Million Penguins: Community writing project

Last year Penguin Books posed the question “Can a community write a novel?” What the publishing house proved was that an infinite number of monkeys may be able to bang out a workable rendition of Hamlet, but 1500 internet users don’t even come close.

Gawker described the text as “terrible,” Here’s the opening paragraph

The deep waters, black as ink, began to swell and recede into an uncertain distance. A gray ominous mist obscured the horizon. The ocean expanse seemed to darken in disapproval. Crashing tides sounded groans of agonized discontent. The ocean pulsed with a frightening, vital force. Although hard to imagine, life existed beneath. It’s infinite underbelly was teeming with life, a monstrous collection of finned, tentacled, toxic, and slimy parts. Below its surface lay the wreckage of countless souls. But we had dared to journey across it. Some had even been brave enough to explore its sable velveteen depths, and have yet to come up for precious air….

This kind of reminds me of Atlanta Nights, when a group of Science Fiction writers got together in 2005 to write book so bad it would be deemed un-publishable by any proper publisher. Each chapter was written by a different author, including both chapter 12s and chapter 34 which was written by a computer program. The only chapter not written by a different author was the non existent chapter 21. The author group then self published the book on a lark under the pseudonym Travis Tea.

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