Make it your hone: the ebook that you are forced to edit as you read

  • Tea Uglow’s story about a disintegrating life has been built to be literally deconstructed, with readers required to make small edits to the book’s text, as it passes from one owner to the next.
  • Owners must add one word and remove two from each of the story’s 21 pages and are stopped from moving forward through the book until they’ve made the required interventions.
  • These changes are stored on a permanent, public record using Blockchain, the technology that underpins bitcoin – and the process begins again, with each new owner altering the book they are given, adding and subtracting words as they see fit.
  • Uglow, who is also creative director of the Google Creative Labs team in Sydney, says the idea for A Universe Explodes came from the realisation that while “in the ‘real’ world a shared book will fall to pieces, pages rip, words smudge”, readers left no fingerprint when they shared electronic ebooks – because they did not actually own an object, just a licence to read it.
  • A gradually disintegrating book seems just right for a story circling around questions of inheritance and loss, happiness and dust, and Uglow’s original has enough punch to cut through the unfamiliar technology.

On each page of A Universe Explodes by Tea Uglow, owners are required to add one word and remove two – which amounts to an odd reading experience
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