Thu
Sep 11 2008 2:07pm

Benjamin Rosenbaum’s Derivative Works Contest

Benjamin Rosenbaum has come up with a clever way to promote his short story collection The Ant King and Other Stories (Small Beer, 2008). Not content just to offer it for download under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 license, he is holding a contest to see who can create the best works derivative of the stories in the book:

Contest Rules
  1. Create a derivative work of any story in The Ant King and Other Stories.
  2. Place it under the same license (you do this just by including a declaration to that effect on the work in its published form).
  3. Post a link to the work (or some kind of recording or representation of the work, like a youtube video if it’s a live performance, or a picture of it if it’s, like, a vase or something) in the comments to this blog entry.
  4. Derivative works can be translations, plays, movies, radio plays, audiobooks, flashmob happenings, horticultural installations, visual artworks, slash fanfic epics, robot operas, sequels, webcomics, ASCII art, text adventure games, roleplaying campaigns, knitting projects, handmade shoes, or anything else you feel like.
  5. On March 3, 2009 (that gives you six months), I will send signed (and extensively doodled-upon) hardcover copies of The Ant King and Other Stories to the creators of the three derivative works that I like the best.
  6. Obviously, other than what’s covered in the CC license, you retain all rights to your works, so if you’ve made, you know, House-Beyond-Your-Sky-themed coasters, you get to sell them or put drinks on them to keep rings off your coffee table or whatever. And if you want to actually sell the rights to reproduce the derivative work commercially, I will in all probability tell you that you can, unless you’re, like, a Hollywood studio. :-)

It’s an interesting idea, though the stories in the book have a bit of a literary surrealist bent, not the kind of thing that lends itself to shameless sequels or fanfic.

Except maybe the story “The Orange,” about an orange who ruled the world. In my sequel, the world will be ruled by a banana. And when his subjects complain about his phallic military stances, the Top Banana will say, “Orange you glad you're not ruled by an orange anymore.”

3 comments
Bill Glover
1. BillGlover
I've had The Ant King and Other Stories on preorder for many months. It came in last week, but I've forced myself to take it slow and savor one story every few days. "Biographical Notes to 'A Discourse on the Nature of Causality, with Air-Planes,' by Benjamin Rosenbaum," has to be one of the best bits of twisted meta-fiction I've ever read. It reminds me a bit of "Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire," from Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman in the particular way that the story turns fantasy on its head.
Benjamin Rosenbaum
2. Benjamin Rosenbaum
Bill, thank you so much for the kind words! I'd be delighted to hear what you think of the rest of the book.

Kathryn, your Banana story is excellent; can I count it as an entry? :-)

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