Fan Fiction

Official logo of the project.

A Million Penguins was a project by Penguin Books to create a novel by a wiki community. The novel became a tremendous success, getting over 100 edits every hour. Due to its popularity, the wiki became a target for vandalism. The project ended on March 7, 2007.


"A Million Penguins Research Report" by the Institute of Creative Technologies of De Montfort University:

"As of March 7th, when the wiki closed, at least 75,000 different people had viewed the site. Of those, 1,476 people had registered as users of the wiki....most of those who registered for the wiki either never contributed or contributed on just one occasion. Although there were over 11,000 edits made, the majority of those edits were performed by a relatively small number of contributors. Pabruce made 1,780 edits while Sentinel68 performed 1,144 edits. These two performed 2,924 edits between them: over 25% of all edits."
"Certainly, some of the participants in the project did attempt to 'write a novel' but it remains unclear as to whether they succeeded. What today appears not to be a novel as we know it may in time come to be seen as one, just as work once judged not to be poetry is often later brought into the critical fold. But for the moment at least the answer to whether or not a community can write a novel appears to be 'not like this'. Our research has shown that "A Million Penguins" is something other than a novel and, thereby, opened up new questions and avenues for exploration. It has treated the final product not as a variation of a printed novel or something which could be turned into one, but as type of performance. The contributors did not form a community, rather they spontaneously organised themselves into a diverse, riotous assembly. We have demonstrated that the wiki novel experiment was the wrong way to try to answer the question of whether a community could write a novel, but as an adventure in exploring new forms of publishing, authoring and collaboration it was, ground-breaking and exciting."

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