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‘Huckleberry Finn,’ ROBOTIC EDITION

All right, so, you’ve read about the edition of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” that will edit out the “n-word.” You know about that debate; you know all the arguments. This is about that. Sort of. And how you can play a role.

See, someone’s following up on NewSouth Books’ intention to edit out the offending word by going one step further. And that step is…

Robots.


Yes, robots. The plan by Gabriel Diani and Etta Devine is to replace “n-word” Jim with Robot Jim. “Statistically, people prefer robots to the word ‘n-word,'” say the proponents of this audacious plan. “The word ‘n-word’ is ugly and pejorative. Robots are fun and cool… even when they’re trying to take over our world! So we’ve decided to take the word ‘n-word’ out of Mark Twain’s classic and replace it with ‘robot.'” And they’ve commissioned an artist to alter the original illustrations to include the robot. (They admit that vampires are “in,” too, but say that would be silly)

Where do you come in? Simple: They’re raising money for a short print run of the robot-inflected “Huck Finn.” The more money they get, the cooler they believe they can make the finished product. More money means more altered illustrations. More money means getting a scholar to add a piece about the “n-word” controversy to add context and credibility. More money could mean hardcover editions.

You can pledge a donation by clicking here for the project’s Kickstarter page. A buck will get a PDF copy of the book. Five will get you the PDF and an invitation to the L.A. book launch party (travel not included). $15 adds a print of a robot-altered illustration from the book. $25 adds a physical copy of the book (add $5 for international shipping). $50 adds either a Robot Jim figurine (!) or a “R-O-B-O-T” necklace or two physical copies of the book. $75 gets the physical book, plus either the robot figurine or necklace and the print and stuff. $100 or more gets your choice of two of the three (books, figurine, necklace), $150 gets everything, $200 gets everything plus an acknowledgment in the book, $500 adds 15 more copies of the book, and $1,000 adds your name, or any name you want (that isn’t silly or ridiculous), to the actual text of the revised book.

But they need $6,000 pledged by March 11th at 7:15 pm ET. So if you’re into it, pledge now. Join Chris Hardwick himself in the quest to bring robots to the world of Mark Twain. If Jane Austen can survive a zombie invasion, Huck and Tom can stand some robot love.

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58 comments

  • Brian: I believe this is intended as a parody of the editing of the original text, not as a serious mutilation of the original. And it’s by a comedy team, so take that for what it’s worth. Sort of a cross of criticism of the edited version with the “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” meme. But they can defend/explain it themselves; I’m just reporting what they’re doing. (And nobody’s actually replacing or eliminating the original, which remains in print and readily available)

    James: I think they took care of that with the “silly or ridiculous” exception. It’s always smart to leave yourself an exit route when setting something like this up…

  • I volunteer to record the audiobook version in a robot voice. Here’s a sample of the edited version (please read along in a robot voice):

    I MADE JIM LAY DOWN IN THE CANOE AND COVER UP WITH A QUILT, BECAUSE IF HE SET UP PEOPLE COULD TELL HE WAS A ROBOT A GOOD WAYS OFF.

    [PEOPLE] ASKED US CONSIDERABLE MANY QUESTIONS; WANTED TO KNOW WHAT WE COVERED UP THE RAFT THAT WAY FOR…WAS JIM A RUNAWAY ROBOT?

    SAYS I: “GOODNESS SAKES, WOULD A RUNAWAY ROBOT RUN SOUTH?”

    NO, THEY ALLOWED HE WOULDN’T.

  • Dumb.
    If originally left as a comedy skit, I would say, “Funny premise.” Well, maybe not like that, but I would say, “Meh…” and giggle initially.
    If you are serious, though, as this article implies, I’d like to point you to another book for reference, entitled “Fahrenheit 451″ by Ray Bradbury. Your idea is not far from what he described, and is actually pretty scary. Sure, they burnt all the books with his, but you are actually thinking about replacing books with edited, politically correct versions? Perhaps I am too old to see humor in this. No, wait. You’ve stepped outside humor and have gone too serious with this. Should have left it as a skit.

  • ^ clap….. clap….. clap… clap… clap.clap.clap.clap.clapclapclap clapclapclapCLAPCLAPCLAPCLAPCLAPCLAPCLAP!

    I have suddenly discovered how awkward ‘clap’ is to type. But this is a wonderful idea.