Now, thanks to the internet, we know this is not true
May 5, 2008 11:28 PM   Subscribe

A Million Penguins, the wiki novel mentioned previously on MeFi, is complete, and a research paper about it has been released.

The analysis is largely concerned with cataloging types of user behavior on the site, although they also throw in some flash about Bakhtin for a page or two. via
posted by whir (15 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Fascinating, thanks.
posted by paduasoy at 11:48 PM on May 5, 2008

As early as the "novel's" second paragraph: "It's infinite underbelly was teeming with life, a monstrous collection of finned, tentacled, toxic, and slimy parts."

Not one contributor noticed this?
posted by orthogonality at 11:53 PM on May 5, 2008

The first chapter is utter shit. Does it get better?
posted by empath at 11:53 PM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

posted by sophist at 2:36 AM on May 6, 2008

The first chapter is utter shit. Does it get better?

Nope, looks like a whopping great big shit sandwich. Which is kind of surprising. You would have thought, it being a Wiki and all, that someone would have stepped in and done at least a tiny bit of editing:

"Meanwhile, Artie's friend, Kim, was asking him why he hadn't got her anything for Valentine's Day."

I mean, seriously?
posted by From Bklyn at 2:36 AM on May 6, 2008

A Million Penguins, the wiki novel mentioned previously on MeFi, is complete

How can they tell?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:17 AM on May 6, 2008

How can they tell?
The folks operating the site said so. I think it would be cool to keep it going indefinitely and see how much the plot winds up changing. I can only imagine it getting worse, but it would be an interesting thing to follow.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 6:12 AM on May 6, 2008

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
Jesus Christ no.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:12 AM on May 6, 2008

I, for one, welcome our new wiki literary overlords.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:29 AM on May 6, 2008

It was the blurst of times.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 7:29 AM on May 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

How is the MeFi novel project going?


Whatever happened to the MeFi novel project?
posted by absalom at 7:50 AM on May 6, 2008

The authors who came together were not the usual writerly stereotypes scribbling away alone in attics, but an intriguing mix of 'gardeners' intent on nurturing the novel, 'vandals' determined to ruin it, and 'performers' hoping to make it showcase for their talents.

The novel may be a shitty PR stunt, but the analysis makes for interesting reading. (although, being sponsored by Penguin, its impartiality is fatally compromised) The distinction between 'performers' and 'vandals' is worth particular attention, since their behaviour ('look at me!') is essentially the same, the only differentiating factor being their perceived intent. So the report still supposes a kind of nominal meta-author who descends to ascribe ideological judgements, as if there's a 'true', Platonic ideal of the text that contributors are either working towards or pulling away from. The way in which one defines each contribution reveals underlying ideological assumptions - the phrasing of the report is inherently conservative, the 'gardeners' supposedly 'nurturing' the novel, when 'vandals' or 'performers' might well see them as conservatives stifling growth, creativity, and all the things that are most interesting about a dynamic novel.

But at the end of the day, though this will spark a couple of weak op-eds in the literary press and generate a bit of kudos for Penguin (as if they need it), it's a crap novel. Worse, it's dull. I'm sure some critics will see this as vindication for The Author, conveniently forgetting that lone writers are more than capable of producing turgid, unreadable tripe, only they cost more.
posted by RokkitNite at 8:05 AM on May 6, 2008

Oh God, I promised myself I wouldn't...

Metafilter: turgid, unreadable tripe.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:54 AM on May 6, 2008

So... how shiny did they get that turd?
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 10:31 AM on May 6, 2008

Not particularly, it would seem.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:33 AM on May 6, 2008

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