Tuesday, March 23, 2010

For the egotist who has everything

What a brilliant idea:
Personalised Classic Books take five classics and let you rename six central characters. The plot remains the same, the only thing that changes is that it’s you hunting vampires in the darkest depths of Transylvania, or your friends setting out along the yellow brick road while you chase them on a broom stick.

It may sound complicated, but getting yourself inside one of the classics is as easy as filling in a form online [. . .] Once everything’s been filled in and you’ve decided who out of your friends and family deserves to be in your book you’ll be sent a first edition personalised novel to keep on your shelf forever. Choose between Alice in Wonderland, The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, Dracula, Pride and Prejudice, Wind In The Willows, Treasure Island or Romeo and Juliet.
So I could be Mr D’Arcy in Pride and Prejudice (though sadly not in the BBC adaptation with Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet). That would work, with my wife as Elizabeth and Laughy Kate as the annoying kid sister Lydia. Then again, I could be Toad in Wind in the Willows. All this for a mere ₤20 plus P&P.

I guess they use a Gutenberg or Google Books text plus a Print on Demand machine, and the original books have to be out of copyright. You couldn’t do it here with The Bone People or Plumb, then, but The Scarecrow can’t be far off.


Rob Hosking said...

That is so sad, on several levels.

Stephen Stratford said...

You mean me and Jennifer Ehle? Yeah, totally.

laughykate said...

..'and Laughy Kate as the annoying kid sister..'

Fucker. Stop being so right!
Did I just drag down the tone of your blog?

Stephen Stratford said...

Yes, and not for the first time.

laughykate said...

Excellent, my job is done here.

Phil said...

Cool! I wanna be God in the Old Testament

Charlotte Corday said...

The Scarecrow was published in 1964 so would be eligible in 2014, no? I think it's 50 years before copyright expires.

Bags not be Daphne Moran.

Stephen Stratford said...

I'm not sure, Charlotte - it depends on Ronald Hugh Morrieson's contract with his publisher and whether the copyright has been renewed by his estate. I have the 1964 edition published by Angus & Robertson in Australia, and the Henemann NZ edition which says "first published 1976". Epic fail.

I can't remember if the Copyright Act says it expires 50 years after publication or 50 years after the author's death. I should know - I do have a copy of the Act here and if I remember after my imminent Weekend of Hell, ie a day of meetings in Auckland followed by dinner with LaughyKate, I'll post. But yes, me too bags not be Daphne Moran.

Stephen Stratford said...

The opening line of Morrieson's "The Scarecrow" is: "The same week our fowls were stole, Daphne Moran had her throat cut."

You have to say, it's a bit better than "It was a dark and stormy night."