Skip to main content

Open Fiction

I have been writing and self-publishing fictions with open license for the last few years without least care to what have been happening in the realm of fiction writing, purely based on philanthropic concerns. I used to add the genre as 'open fiction'.  Then, a few months back, quite accidentally, I happened to read a blog by Joschua Fink, a student of screen-writing at the German Film- and Television Academy Berlin, titled "Why we all write Science Fiction- A short overview about all open source novels ever written." In the blog he wrote that there are novels published under creative commons license, but almost all of them  disallow either modification or commercial use, which are both integral freedoms in the Definition of Free Cultural Works. He continued “If we sort them out, what remains left to be called open source? Just very few. Few enough to count them with the digits of a single hand”. He lists four writers and one among them is myself (with Imanofutu). Others are Juan Julián Merelo Guervós (with Hoborg), Cheryl Ives (with Timeless) and Ryan Somma (with

The above interesting observation triggered my curiosity to learn more about open source novels and the more wider spectrum, which I would like to name as 'Open Fiction'. I searched wikipedia. Wikipedia's Creative Commons-licensed novels category shows the details of 23 books. Yes, Joschua Fink is right, most of them carry non-commercial licenses. He seemed to have painstakingly gone through those catalogues.

However, I would say, the sharing of fictions with  restrictive clauses also contribute towards ensuring inclusiveness with respect to the access to literature. Therefore such services are also remarkable. Like in the case of Open Educational Resources, let us say, CC-BY-SA would remain the most appreciated license, whereas other variants will also contribute towards building an open fiction ecosystem.

There are also great projects that obtain open licenses for fictions from the copy-right holders and release it in public domain. Project Gutenberg is an ideal example. Project Gutenberg is the oldest e-book project started by Michael Hart, a student at the University of Illinois, in 1971 with the digitization of the United States Declaration of Independence. It has over 50000 books in its collection now. Of course, the situation is different from the authors themselves release their works with open license.

Now yet another area of debate could be about the purpose of Open Fiction. Do the society has a grave requirement for open fictions as in the case of Open Educational Resources? I would say a very loud 'YES'. The topmost reason is the inclusiveness in the case of access to literature. Secondly, there are a lot of themes in fictions that handle social and scientific matters. If all freedoms are provided for re-purposing and redistributing such works, further creativity will be added on it to make it progressively contributive to the evolving social and scientific scenarios for the benefit of all. For instance, in the case of Imanofutu, I decided to release it open chiefly because it imagines and examines  the possibilities of adaptation for living in the coming centuries.

Of course, this matter needs to be debated further.



Popular posts from this blog

Wayanad; everlasting memories of a travel

Wayanad, a northern district of Kerala state (my state) in India is always a passion for our friend Nelson, who has worked there for many years before joining us in Thiruvananthapuram, the State Head Quarters of Kerala. Through his narrations we (the other friends) have also got attracted to the place. Usually every year, we conduct two-three days trekking tour. This time we have decided to select Wayanad. Anil Kumar, Anoop, Nelson, Dileep, Sabu, Gopikrishnan and me (Anil Prasad) arrived at Kalpetta, the head quarters of Wayanad district in the misty and cold early morning of 9th October, 2009 by KSRTC bus from Kozhikode. We were travelling the whole night from Thiruvananthapuram to Kozhikoe by train. Another friend Asokan would join as there. Asokan would also arrange a rented van for our local trips. After having tea from a small shop in front of the Kalpetta Civil Station, we went to the PWD Rest House to freshen up and to take breakfast. By 11 a.m the entire team got ready for the…

Additional Skill Acquisition Programme (ASAP), Kerala

Higher Education, General Education and Local Self Government Departments of Kerala State Government in India have jointly launched an Additional Skill Acquisition Programme (ASAP) as part of State Skill Development Programme to enhance the employability of students passing out of Higher Secondary Schools (+2) as well as Arts and Science Colleges in the state.
Historically Kerala has been a prominent supplier of skilled human resource to the rest of the world. But now, in accordance with the requirements of the fast changing world, though Kerala has an amazing pool of Human Resource, the overall employability is calculated below twenty five percent, the ASAP project document says.
 Additional Skill Acquisition Programme has been conceived as an effective remedy for this situation. The whole idea is that the students will be given skill training, in addition to their regular academic programme/curriculum, in the crucial sectors as being demanded by the Industry. These skill training w…

A trip to Sundarbans

It was a fine Friday of 29th May 2009, the last day of the 5 day ‘Learning for Content and Community Building Workshop’ that I was facilitating for Commonwealth of Learning in association with Rupantar, a leading NGO, in Khulna, Bangaldesh. The fifth day was for field trip and casual discussions; a community building exercise.
In the morning, around 8 AM, Shaikh Abdul Halim, Co-ordinator of the workshop along with Md.Saifuddin Rony, Rohima, Maksuda Akther, Tauhid Alam and Md.Shafiqul Shaikh came to Hotel Western Inn International, where I was staying in Khulna, in a Van driven by our friend Jewel.

We planned Sundarbans as the first destination of the trip, and during the return journey we would also visit some places of historical importance.

The Sundarbans (Bengali: Shundorbôn) is the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world. The name Sundarban can be literally translated as "beautiful jungle" or "beautiful forest" in the Bengal…