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:
- Create a derivative work of any story in The Ant King and Other Stories.
- Place it under the same license (you do this just by including a declaration to that effect on the work in its published form).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”