The Greater Gatsby: Adventures in the Public Domain
On January 1, 2021, many copyrighted works from 1925 entered the US public domain. These works include classic books such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. In the public domain, Gatsby is already getting some interesting spinoffs and variations, Via BNET
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):
“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.”
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