Last Tuesday, the UK branch of Penguin Books launched We Tell Stories, a series of six stories based on classic novels. Each story is written by a different author and is retold through a different medium. Last week, Charles Cumming retold John Buchan’s classic tale The Thirty-nine Steps by walking visitors through the tale on Google Maps. Cumming’s rendition, “The 21 Steps”, provided a novel look at the book’s plot as well as the features of Google Maps.
The story also includes a Flickr account, a MySpace page, two twitter accounts, and an email address. Amusingly enough, clicking on the email address automatically fills out the email for you with the following.
Subject: I’ve come to save you from the boredom
My life is now totally worthless without you in it because…
While these stories are well constructed so far, the real purpose they serve is to whet the viewer’s appetites for the original texts. I know I’ll be heading over to my local library to check out a few of these tales — but if I lived in the UK, I would enter the weekly Author Prize Drawings — you can also win the Penguin Complete Classics Collection, valued at over Â£13,000.
Underpinning the six stories is a seventh tale. Clicking on the white rabbit on the bottom left corner of the main page leads to Treacle and Ink, a blog written by Alice. This underlying story fits within the alternate reality gaming framework, and has already led chelec on a hunt through St Pancras Station. You can read about that experience here or check her bliptv account for videos.