the greater gatsby

adventures in the public domain

When I was a teenager, the funniest thing that’s ever happened in the history of the earth happened: someone published a book called Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. It was just the first two nouns but it had the third noun inserted throughout it, because the book was in the public domain. It was crazy. Can you believe someone could just do that? And a book company was like, “Yes.”? It was, to use the terminology of the era, “pretty epic” and “so much this.”

Thanks to digital publishing, it is easier than ever to publish ebooks at an unfathomably high rate (see: Chuck Tingle) and you don’t even need a publisher to sign off on the incredible scheme of “taking a public work and putting a cryptid in it.” Copyright regulations in the United States are, generally speaking, a complete nightmare created by demons with a sincere contempt for basic human decency. Which is why it feels nice when something finally enters the public domain after decades in Disney-induced IP purgatory. At the stroke of midnight on January 1st, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby entered the public domain.

Here’s what I found so far (not counting Nick, which is a Gatsby prequel by a professional novelist that came out last week):

Blurb:

Nick Carraway meets his mysterious neighbor, Jay Gatsby. Gatsby doesn’t seem to eat anything, and has an aversion to silver, garlic, and the sun, but good friends are hard to come by. Especially an interesting millionaire like Gatsby.
When Gatsby asks Nick to help catch a murderer, Nick just can’t say no. And, of course, Nick agrees to set up a tea date for his cousin Daisy and Gatsby. It’s harmless to reunite two old friends; until Nick realizes the truth he’s known, deep down, the entire time.
Jay Gatsby is a vampire.

The Great Gatsby Undead. It’s F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic story…revamped.


Blurb:

"The Greater Gatsby" is an AI generated novel that uses F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" as a source text for generation. The book was generated in an attempt to be a part of history, as "The Great Gatsby" enters the public domain on January 1, 2021.


Blurb:

LOOK INTO THE RAINBOW LIGHT...

Nick Carraway is new to Long Island, and he's got queer company. There's bullish and hypermasculine Tom, his wife Daisy, and his lover Myrtle—or is it Myles? And does Daisy have something going on with butch golfer Jordan?

Everyone's got something to hide, but the secrets come out at Gaylord Gatsby's parties—the gayest affairs West Egg ever had. And when Nick finds Gatsby staring off at the rainbow light across the bay, his heart pounds—and he gains a secret he can't bear to keep.

But all is not as it seems, and the light is deeper than he knows...

The Gay Gatsby is a remix of the timeless classic that takes everything we thought we knew and shatters it—with love.


The authors at fanfic repository Archive Of Our Own generally don’t have to worry about copyright law, because fanfiction is clearly transformative, and fair use, but let’s see what they’ve been up to in 2021 anyway.




It’s the roaring ‘20s and Jay Gatsby is more relevant than ever. I didn’t really have any goal for pointing this out other than to note that it’s funny. I’d also like to note that while people can now mess with the Great Gatsby without any fear of legal reprisal, they have been messing with it online for a long time.

I’d leave you with this excerpt from Link meets the Great Gatsby, published by ChrstnWrtr on fanfiction.net on Dec. 14, 2000.

Link had just woken up and was riding Epona around Hyrule field to give her some exercise. The sun shone brightly in the beautiful, cloud-laced sky. The rays of sunlight pierced through the clouds and beamed down on the grassy meadows of Hyrule field.

Link stopped riding for a minute to play the Song of the Sun. He was playing it nonstop for five minutes until he hit a sour note.....and he dissappeared from Epona, who galloped back to her stable in Hyrule castle in fright, in a blue light.

Suddenly, Link landed butt first on a boat dock. He saw a man standing on the dock, staring out into the open ocean, looking at a green light.

"Hey," said Link. "What are you looking at?"

"Oh, you wouldn't understand," the man replied.


Snoop Dogg on the Amiga 2000


Elsewhere…


Thank you for reading BNet. This week, the B stands for “balls that a guy in the capitol tazed, causing a fatal heart attack.”