Classic Minis in Classic Literature

My favorite type of writing is the spoof or satire using humor, probably acquired through my reading of Mark Twain, P. G. Wodehouse, and Douglas Adams.  Plus, I’m a natural-born smart-ass.  Thus, much of my creative writing is reactionary or a reworking of something existing.

For one of the MINI Cooper websites I contribute to, I started a series called “Classic Minis in Classic Literature” where I rewrite (re-summarize) classic novels to incorporate a classic Mini (the 1959-2000 version) into the plot.  The idea was inspired by the 2009 bestseller Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, only replacing zombies with Minis.

In addition to the fun writing, I also reworked an iconic book cover for the revised story.  For some books, this was the bigger challenge with my self-taught graphic editing skills, but also enjoyable to create.

I might write more but here are the first nine.

Pride and Prejudice and Minis

Pride and Prejudice and MinisThe Bennets are thrilled when rich Charles Bingley and his Rolls-Royce move into the neighborhood.  Mrs. Bennet hopes to marry one of her five daughters to Bingley, or even to Fitzwilliam Darcy, Bingley’s “proud” friend with an Aston Martin DB5.  The oldest daughter, Jane, isn’t into cars and falls for Bingley.  Darcy falls for Elizabeth Bennet with her spirited and individualistic nature despite her driving a Morris Mini 850.  Elizabeth is attracted instead to fellow Mini club member Wickham who tells her that Darcy once ran him off the road during the British Rally Championship years before.  Then, the Bennet’s cousin, clergyman William Collins, arrives in his ridiculous Citroën 2CV and falls for Elizabeth.  Unexpectedly, Darcy proposes to Elizabeth but she has become prejudiced against him and refuses him.  Darcy and Wickham compete in another rally where Darcy stops to assist Wickham whose Mini has gone off-track, giving up his own chance at winning.  We also find out that in their previous encounter, Darcy was avoiding a kitten in his DB5 when he supposedly ran Wickham off the road.  Now that Elizabeth sees the real Darcy, she accepts his second proposal and they motor off together in their new Mini Cooper S.

Candide, or The Mini Mechanic

Candide, or The Mini MechanicCandide is a young lad in Westphalia, Germany, who is being trained as a mechanic for the British Motor Corporation by Doctor Pangloss.  Pangloss teaches Candide that the Austin and Morris Mini is “as far as motoring is concerned…the best of all possible motorcars.”  Discovered fraternizing with the beautiful Cunégonde who was extolling the benefits of the V-8 engine and rear-wheel-drive, Candide is kicked out of school.  He packs up his Morris Mini-Minor and travels to Holland, but is turned away by VDL Nedcar due to his lack of modern MINI knowledge.  Candide stops one day to help a beggar and discovers he is his old BMC instructor, Dr. Pangloss.  Soon after, Candide is offered a position with BMC South America in Buenos Aires.  Cunégonde, intrigued by the amazing abilities of the small Mini, follows him.  The governor, Don Fernando, falls for Cunégonde and proposes, sending his police after Candide.  After several incredible coincidences and plot twists, Candide returns with Cacambo, a local mechanic, and their team of three Minis’ boots filled with gold and treasure from Eldorado.  Everyone returns to Europe where Candide finds misfortune as he looks for work in Paris, England, and Venice.  Eventually Candide finds Cacambo who tells him Cunégonde is in Constantinople and they go off to rescue her.  Candide, Cunégonde, Cacambo, Pangloss, and others buy a small garage and set up the first BMC Centre in Turkey where they find simple happiness servicing Minis.

The Mini Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Mini Adventures of Huckleberry FinnUnhappy with life with his abusive father, Huckleberry Finn fakes his own murder then steals his dad’s classic Mini Cooper and runs away.  Huck motors south and soon picks up a hitchhiker, Jim, a runaway slave.  The two fugitives motor on–all of their possessions in the world fitting in the Mini’s small boot–finally feeling free only while motoring in the Mini.  Huck names the Mini “Raft”.  Motoring Jim to freedom, the pair run across a band of thieves, narrowly escaping due to the Mini’s small size and agility.  The two run into misfortune again when they meet up with the Duke and the King who force Huck into performing automotive stunt shows in cities along the Mississippi River.  The Duke and King sell Jim into slavery, but Tom Sawyer arrives in his Mini Cooper S and the two rescue Jim, motoring through the roads of eastern Arkansas to get way.  However, Tom’s Mini has a flat tire and Jim is recaptured and taken back to Tom’s uncle’s farm.  There they find out that Jim’s owner has died and left him his own Austin Seven and a free man.

The Great Gatsby’s Mini

The Great Gatsby's MiniNick Carraway moves to West Egg to become a car salesman.  Soon after, he visits his cousin Daisy Buchanan and her husband, Tom, who live across Long Island Sound in the more-fashionable East Egg.  He also meets Jordan Baker, a professional racecar driver.  One evening, Nick meets his neighbor Jay Gatsby who is standing in his driveway, looking at a green light across the Sound.  Over the next summer, Nick, Jordan, and Gatsby become friends due to their common interest in British cars.  While having tea with Jordan, Nick learns that Gatsby wants Daisy’s 1964 Mini Cooper S which used to belong to Gatsby.  The green light Gatsby stares at is above Daisy’s garage.  Daisy and Gatsby meet again at one of Gatsby lavish parties and Gatsby tells Nick that he wants to recapture the past and get his Mini back.  One hot summer day, Nick, Jordan, Gatsby, Daisy, and Tom take a trip into the city in Daisy’s Mini Cooper S and Gatsby’s Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, stopping at the Austin garage owned by George Wilson, husband of Myrtle Wilson whom Tom Buchanan is having an affair with.  At the Plaza hotel, there is much drinking and an argument breaks out between Tom and Gatsby where Gatsby admits he wants Daisy and his Mini Cooper S back.  Tom says Gatsby will never have the Mini back.  They all return home, Gatsby and Daisy in the Rolls-Royce followed by Nick, Jordan, and Tom in the Mini.  When the second group in the Mini reaches Wilson’s Austin garage, they discover that Myrtle was killed by a hit-and-run driver.  Although Daisy was driving the car when it killed Myrtle, Tom tells George Wilson that it was Gatsby.  Wilson goes to Gatsby’s house and kills him.  Besides Nick, no one seems to mourn the death of Gatsby.  In fact, Tom and Daisy decide to take Gatsby’s old Mini on a roadtrip.  Nick decides to leave.  On his last night in West Egg he visits Gatsby’s driveway where he could see the green light over the Mini’s garage.

1984 Mini

1984 MiniWinston Smith owns a 1984 Austin Mini 25 special edition and works for the Records Department at the Ministry of Motoring.  He alters fuel efficiency and emission data to support Big Auto under its ever-watchful eye.  To rebel, he begins keeping a secret fuel log for his Mini to counter Big Auto’s lies, which is an act punishable by death.  One day, Winston meets the dark-haired Julia who slips him a note reading “I love your Mini.” and the two fall in love.  To escape the eye of Big Auto, the pair motor into the countryside in Winston’s Mini.  Winston gets Julia a room above the local Mini garage, where he frequently services his car, so they can be together.  Eventually, Winston and Julia confess their small-car enthusiasm to O’Brien who welcomes them into the Brotherhood and gives them an illegal Austin repair manual.  Winston and Julia are caught reading the manual and arrested.  Winston discovers that O’Brien has been watching him for seven years due his ownership of the 1984 Mini.  O’Brien tortures Winston for months, trying to make Winston accept doublethink, simultaneously believing two contradictory ideas.  O’Brien tries to get Winston to believe that cars which are bigger on the outside, yet smaller on the inside, are better.  Winston, remembering his 1984 Mini, resists the notion.  Finally, O’Brien takes Winston to Garage 101 in the Ministry of Love to force him to confront his biggest fear: rust.  When O’Brien threatens to dunk Winton’s Mini in a tank of water, Winston shouts, “Do it to Julia!” and gives up his fight and his independent mind.  Sometime later Winston is sitting in the Chestnut Tree Café watching NASCAR when he sees Julia motor by in his old Mini.  But Winston now loves Big Auto.

The Mini Odyssey

The Mini OdysseyWhile off on the epic roadtrip MINI TAKES THE STATES in his fast, black Rover Mini Cooper, Odysseus’s beautiful girlfriend Penelope back at home is being relentless pursued by several other members of the Ithaca Mini Club.  After two long weeks on the road heading West, Odysseus reaches Calypso, California.  He is tempted by the beautiful Calypso with its many winding, seaside roads.  But he breaks free from Calypso’s spell and longs to return home to Penelope.  Before Odysseus can leave California, Poseidon, a tropical cyclone from the sea, delays him in Phaeacia, a friendly town, for two days.  While stranded, he tells the people of Phaeacia his whole tale of MINI TAKES THE STATES.  He motors on to Cicones, Arizona and adds some oil.  Odysseus makes good time through New Mexico until a huge sandstorm forces him to change his route to Colorado.  In Denver, the National Lotus Owners Meet was taking place.  The Lotus-meeters are not hostile, but try to get Odysseus to drive a Lotus Elise so that he might forget about motoring home in his Mini.  He is tempted but is able to escape to Kansas.  Curiosity compels Odysseus to make a detour to Cyclops, Iowa where there is a giant statue of a one-eyed monster.  Here he has his first bit of trouble with the Mini and it gets trapped in a local garage called the Cave.  The Cave’s owner, Polyphemus, doesn’t want to let the Mini leave but Odysseus eventually pokes him in the eye, leaves cash for the repairs, and escapes to Illinois stopping for the night in Aeaea.  The next morning the Mini won’t start and Odysseus has it towed to Circe where she tells him it’s dead.  While waiting for repairs, Odysseus is visited by a few old rally heroes and his mother.  He resumes his journey but soon hears sirens.  Barely escaping a speeding ticket, he continues past the dangerous Scylla and Charybdis suburbs of Chicago.  Wanting to be home very badly at this point, he makes quick time through Indiana and Ohio but decides to stop, despite warnings, for barbecue beef in Helios, Pennsylvania.  He soon gets violently ill on the shores of Lake Erie and must spend two days recovering.  By now, Penelope has given up on Odysseus’s return and offers to go out with the Mini club member who is able to start up her temperamental Innocenti Mini.  Odysseus finally arrives in Ithaca and finds out about the contest.  He attends the Mini meet in disguise and after several others fail to start the Mini, Odysseus, knowing the trick, starts the Mini.  Odysseus and Penelope are happily reunited.

The Mini of Dorian Gray

The Mini of Dorian GrayIn his London garage, mechanic Basil Hallward installs the finishing pieces on his latest auto restoration project, a 1963 Mini Cooper S.  Basil’s visitor, Lord Henry, wants to know the owner of the Mini, and Basil accidentally tells him it belongs to Dorian Gray, who visits soon after to see his finished car.  Lord Henry tells Dorian, who is terrified of growing old, that he should cherish his youthful looks because he can’t be restored like an old Mini.  Dorian wishes to trade his soul with the restored Mini so that he could stay young while the Mini gets older.  Dorian falls in love with a young MINI Motoring Advisor named Sibyl Vane.  He is impressed with her MINI knowledge and the two soon become engaged.  Sibyl’s family is against the marriage because he drives an old Mini and they think he doesn’t have any money.  James, Sibyl’s brother, threatens to kill Dorian if he harms his sister.  Dorian visits the MINI dealership where Sibyl works and watches her heap praises on the MINI Countryman and new MINI Clubman while suggesting the classic Minis were too small.  Dorian breaks off the engagement and goes home where he notices his newly-restored Mini now has a touch of rust around the front grille.  He realizes his wish is coming true so he decides to be better so his Mini doesn’t rust any more.  The next day he goes to the dealership to apologize only to find out that Sibyl killed herself.  Dorian decides that he was spared an unhappy life and decides to lead a life of pleasure, going that night to the auto races with Lord Henry.  Dorian parks the Mini Cooper in a shed and covers it.  Several years pass as Dorian lives a hedonistic lifestyle not knowing that his Mini is corroding and growing old-looking.  One day Basil asks to see the Mini and they discover its terrible condition, so Basil begs him to take back his wish in order to fix the Mini.  Dorian kills Basil and disposes of his body.  Soon after, Dorian runs across James, who repeats his vow to kill him for causing his sister’s suicide.  Dorian fools James that he is too young to be the man James is after.  Six month later Dorian is having a talk with Lord Henry about Basil, the secret to Dorian’s youth, and the Mini.  That night, Dorian decides to have the Mini crushed at the local junkyard.  But soon after a police officer finds Dorian’s mangled body on the ground next to a perfectly-restored 1963 Mini Cooper S.

Anthem: A Mini Story

Anthem: A Mini StoryEquality 4-1275 was made a Street Sweeper by the Council of Vocations, which selects the jobs of all citizens. While cleaning the streets he often wonders about the vehicles that were rumored to have once used them.  He knows these thoughts are forbidden but he can’t help himself.  One day while sweeping in an old alleyway, Equality 4-1275 discovers a hidden shed, not used since the Unmentionable Times. Taking a risk, he opens the shed and finds a 1970 Mini Cooper S in rough condition. Each night he secretly visits the shed to determine how the Mini works and how he might get it running again. During this time Equality 4-1275 sees a woman, Liberty 5-3000 whom he calls The Golden One.  Although it is forbidden, they meet and she shows a preference for Equality 4-1275, as well.  He has thoughts of the Uncharted Backroads and what motoring in cars was like in the Unmentionable Times.  Also what the long-lost Unspeakable Word was.  After years of work on the Mini Cooper S, he finally restores the car and gets it to run.  He shows his Mini to the World Council of Scholars who become frightened.  They ask what will become of the people who make carriages and take care of the horses.  They concluded that the Mini is evil and must be destroyed.  Equality 4-1275 jumps into the Mini and motors off into the Uncharted Backroads until he is out of the city.  He stops and spends the night in the Mini.  The next day he is adding a quart of oil when he is startled by a sound which turns out to be Liberty 5-3000 who saw him motor by and ran down to road to find him, walking all night.  That night they make love on the Mini’s bonnet.  The next day they motor farther into the country and discover an abandoned house with a garage.  Inside the house they find art, colorful clothing, books, tools, and another Mini parked in the garage.  They wear the new clothes and read the books including a Mini Cooper S repair manual.  In reading the manual, Equality 4-1275 discovers the Unmentionable Word: “rust”.  His reading teaches him that people were once individuals who liked to customize their cars and motor wherever they wanted.  He takes the name Issigonis—the bringer of small cars—and gives Liberty 5-3000 the name Navigator.  She will bear the first child who is free to motor.  Soon they will motor back to the city and bring back some of their friends to form a new Mini club and live out their lives as free individuals.

The Minimorphosis

The MinimorphosisOne morning Gregor Samsa woke from bad dreams to find himself transformed in his bed into a Morris Mini.  He was on his hard back looking down at his metal undercarriage and tiny 10″ wheels. By rocking his front wheels back and forth Gregor was able to flip onto the floor with a thud.  He heard his boss, the chief clerk, outside talking with his family while trying to figure out how to open the double doors of his bedroom.  He managed to push them with his bumper, then quickly reverse and they sprung open.  His mother shouted then fainted while the chief clerk ran out of the house.  Gregor’s father picked up a large stick and drove Gregor back into the bedroom.  Days later Gregor’s family discussed the state of their finances without Gregor’s income while he remained in his room.  His sister Grete began leaving him small amounts of petrol each day, cleaning up his daily oil leaks, and opening the window to allow the exhaust fumes to escape, although Gregor seldom ran his engine.  His sister and mother removed the furniture from his room to allow him space to maneuver.  Gregor’s father got a job in a bank, his sister in a shop, and his mother took in lodgers to generate income and pay for Gregor’s auto insurance.  They soon began to tire of the smell and the fluids and the expense of keeping a Mini inside their home and discussed openly of sending Gregor away.  Gregor, out of the sheer desire not to be a burden (along with having Lucas electronics), simply died.  The charwoman disposed of the Mini and Gregor’s family went out for a tram ride into the country, no longer burdened with the upkeep of an old Morris Mini.

Library Technology Launchpad Relaunched

Library Technology Launchpad Version 2

​Today I relaunched my Library Technology Launchpad website. I moved it from WordPress.com to my own host and gave the site a redesign. The previous version ran from 2011 to 2013 with social media updates continuing through 2014.

View the website at libtechlaunchpad.com.

At Library Technology Launchpad I’ll cover technology relevant to librarians and libraries. Covered topics will include:

  • Links to library technology news
  • eBook purchasing and subscription trends
  • Mobile library websites and eReader apps
  • Online information resources
  • Social media and libraries
  • Library user experience (UX)
  • Cloud computing for libraries
  • Institutional repositories ans scholarly communication
  • Research data management
  • Search engine tips and tricks
  • Useful general technology information

Library Technology Launchpad is also on social media.

The Library as Publishing House Chapter Published

Last year I submitted a proposal for a chapter to a book on the 21st-century academic library. My subject was institutional repositories and how libraries were now functioning as publishing houses by providing a platform for digital journal publishing.

“The academic library takes on the new role as institutional publishing house using institutional repository services to manage journal publishing and conference planning. Librarians must know the journal publishing workflow including online article submission, peer-review, editing, publishing, dissemination, and marketing. To manage conference planning functions, librarians need to understand event functions such as presentation submission, program scheduling, registration and third-party payment systems, proceedings publishing, and marketing.

Librarians at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University launched an institutional repository not only to showcase intellectual output, but to digitally publish new and existing journals and centrally manage professional conferences for university faculty and students.”

I asked Anne Marie Casey and Chip Wolfe to colCreating Research Infrastructures in the 21st-Century Academic Library: Conceiving, Funding, and Building New Facilities and Stafflaborate and our chapter was submitted last Fall.

This month the book Creating Research Infrastructures in the 21st-Century Academic Library: Conceiving, Funding, and Building New Facilities and Staff was published and I received my copy this week.

From the description on the back cover:

“Creating Research Infrastructures in the 21st-Century Academic Library: Conceiving, Funding, and Building New Facilities and Staff focuses on research infrastructures, bringing together such topics as research and development in libraries, dataset management, e-science, grants and grant writing, digital scholarship, data management, library as publisher, web archiving, and the research lifecycle. Individual chapters deal with the formation of Research & Development teams; emerging scholarly forms and new collaborative approaches to knowledge creation, dissemination, and preservation; managing small databases requiring the same level of support as large databases: metadata; digital preservation and curation; and technical support. Support for such services is provided in a chapter that considers how assessment and data now drive decisions and new services in higher education and more specifically in academic libraries and how statistical data can help to tell stories, make decisions, and move in new directions. Conceptualization of the research process is also examined through the presentation of a research lifecycle in the university environment with the library as an integral partner and leader. The library as publisher, an increasingly important topic, with new institutional repositories tied to journal creation, curation, and management is examined with a discussion of the workflow and expertise necessary for the library to be successful and responsive to the research needs of its institution and become a leader in providing publishing services to its faculty.

This volume, and the series in general, is a valuable and exciting addition to the discussions and planning surrounding the future directions, services, and careers of the 21st-century academic librarian.”

The book is available from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.