“Poetry makes life what lights and music do the stage.”
October 12, 2015 9:39 AM   Subscribe

A serial novel written in real time by Joshua Cohen, with illustrations by Leon Chang.
PCKWCK is a reinterpretation of Charles Dickens' first serial novel, The Pickwick Papers. That's about all we know so far, because it hasn't been written yet. Beginning Monday, October 12th at 1pm EST, Joshua Cohen will write PCKWCK over five days in front of the entire internet. Every day from 1pm-6pm EST visitors to www.PCKWCK.com will be able to watch Cohen write in real time, offer feedback that may affect the outcome of the novel, and talk with Cohen and other readers in a chat room.

[via: The Guardian]
Almost 200 years ago, Charles Dickens won the hearts of Britain with his wildly popular serialised novel The Pickwick Papers. American novelist Joshua Cohen is setting himself a larger target – of the internet at large – as he embarks on a mission to reinterpret Dickens’s debut live online. Cohen, author of the acclaimed novel Book of Numbers, will begin writing PCKWCK on 12 October at 1pm EST. Over the next five days, visitors to PCKWCK.com will be able to watch as, for five hours a day, he turns out his version of Dickens’s novel in real time.
- Previously.
- The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens [Project Gutenberg]
- The posthumous papers of the Pickwick Club by Charles Dickens; with forty-three illustrations, by R. Seymour and Phiz. [Internet Archive]
posted by Fizz (15 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Pierre Menard, tweeter of Don Quixote
posted by thelonius at 9:43 AM on October 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Twitch writes novels? I'm not sure this is a good idea.
posted by demiurge at 9:45 AM on October 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately this means Cohen probably still won't have what he really, really needs: an editor.
posted by chavenet at 10:08 AM on October 12, 2015


I haven't read him but, based on this and the description of Book Of Numbers ("Please note that Book of Numbers uses a special pagination system inspired by binary notation: the part number precedes the page number, and is separated from it by a decimal point"), he seems a bit overfond of gimmicks.
posted by thelonius at 10:11 AM on October 12, 2015


OH MY GOSH THAT'S WHAT LEYAWN'S BEEN UP TO

His pixel art is very lovely!
posted by Greg Nog at 10:17 AM on October 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


thelonius: "I haven't read him but, based on this and the description of Book Of Numbers ("Please note that Book of Numbers uses a special pagination system inspired by binary notation: the part number precedes the page number, and is separated from it by a decimal point"), he seems a bit overfond of gimmicks."

Boy howdy, that's pretty near the very bottom of the list of Cohen's gimmicks, some of which are very interesting, some clever, some less so, some annoying, &c.

YMMV but the one that really got me down was the "as like" tic.
posted by chavenet at 10:22 AM on October 12, 2015


Eponysterical post, thanks Fizz.
posted by ambrosen at 10:34 AM on October 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oops, I didn't see Phiz got a mention in the post. Never mind.
posted by ambrosen at 10:36 AM on October 12, 2015


Any chance they could get a simultaneous live feed of Billy Corgan in a recording studio composing a soundtrack for the novel?
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:47 AM on October 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is completely fascinating.

As far as gimmicks go, I think of it in terms of David Foster Wallace. If there was a man with a quirky writing style, or legion quirky writing styles that could easily be called gimmicks at first blush, it was him.

But they wound up being really inventive ways to process difficult strings of information, or to present important scenes in ways that demonstrated a love of language's idiosyncrasies and an attempt to take different forms of written expression (footnotes that feel like an academic paper rather than a novel, transcripts that feel like a court document, etc...) and refit them into the novel. And that love of language was what separated it from gimmickry, in my opinion.

I don't know if Cohen is going to maintain that as well as Wallace did, obviously, and the odds are against him. Further, I'm not familiar with his other book.

But this is fascinating, and a first blush read really filled me with a sense that he loves playing with language. And that's a good step.
posted by shmegegge at 11:27 AM on October 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Beginning Monday, October 12th at 1pm EST, Joshua Cohen will write PCKWCK over five days in front of the entire internet.

I was disappointed that the site doesn't offer live video of the author sealed in a glass cube typing frantically.
posted by JHarris at 12:49 PM on October 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Heh. I love that the only thing missing from what you wanted is the glass cube, though.
posted by shmegegge at 3:04 PM on October 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


The ...................
posted by philip-random at 3:07 PM on October 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, there is video. I didn't notice it when I visited, probably was offline at the time. The absence of the cube is regrettable but ultimately unimportant. I'm curious, though; what platonic solid did they decide to go with?
posted by JHarris at 5:11 PM on October 12, 2015


Joshua Cohen's novel is the story of two characters named Joshua Cohen

Oh boy
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:02 PM on October 12, 2015


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