For over a century, Moby-Dick has stood as one of the most influential novels of all time. But while Herman Melville’s work about sailing around killing sea creatures has spoken to many people, it has fundamentally failed to speak for everybody. In the midst of the ruminations and the long chapters that are basically instruction manuals for whaling that nobody reads, there is a notable silence on the part of the creature the novel is named for. Moby-Dick, despite being the centre of the narrative, remains unheard.
But no longer! For the past seven years, a group of enthusiastic volunteers from all over the world have been rewriting Moby-Dick with the whale as the protagonist. Wow! No longer is it only reliant on human agency, the novel now takes the opinions of the White Whale himself into account. We can finally see what Moby-Dick was doing all the time that Ahab was sailing around looking for him, such as in the following extract.
The ocean pressed on every side, drawing him ever downward toward the foundations of the world. What would he find here? Some ancient shipwreck of man’s folly? The yearning for meaning, never satiated and forever deferred? No. The whale knew what he was looking for.
‘Krill.’ thought Moby-Dick. ‘Kriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiill.’
It wasn’t meaning he was hungry for. It was krill.
Since its publication, the novel has only considered Moby-Dick insofar as Ahab’s obsession with him. But now, we can finally see Moby-Dick’s side of the story.
The strange pink thing shouted something, but Moby-Dick couldn’t understand because he was a whale. He just really wanted some krill, but this large creature with the creatures on its back was following him. ‘Krill?’ he thought, but it didn’t look like krill. ‘Krill.’
The shouting pink thing raised a pointy object, and threw it into Moby-Dick’s back. ‘Ouch.’ thought the whale. And, in a pain induced rage, he ploughed into the wooden thing.
When it was shattered, the shouting pink thing clutched onto his back, but Moby-Dick didn’t notice. The pain was already forgotten, and he rolled in the water. ‘Krill.’ he thought, and then dove into the icy black depths. ‘Kriiiiiiiiiill.’
Cool beans! One can only hope that this initiative will see similar progress in the near future. Maybe they’ll even consider publishing my treatment of Oliver Twist from the POV of Bill Sikes’s dog, Bullseye.
‘Bark bark bark’ said Bullseye, unaware that his owner was a psychopath.
That’s some good stuff.