An interesting new ebook project based on pervasive modern technology just appeared – a 66-page free ebook by German student Gregor Weichbrodt entitled On the Road for 17,527 Miles, and tracing Jack Kerouac‘s epic On The Road narrative – through Google Maps driving directions.
“The exact and approximate spots Kerouac traveled and described are taken from the book and parsed by Google Direction Finder API,” Weichbrodt explains. “The chapters match those of the original book.”
The result comes across more as a piece of surrealist prose or book art than an actual narrative, as you can see from the screen grab here. All those pages of driving directions don’t exactly make for riveting reading. All the same, for what it’s worth, here it is, completely for free as an ebook.
Describing his intent in The Guardian, Weichbrodt explains that he sees this more as a piece of conceptual art than an actual work to read or travel guide. But even on those terms, he claims, he has already sold six copies of the Lulu print edition, and has been able to feature the book in an exhibition in Zurich. And you can certainly imagine other applications of the same principle. Will Weichbrodt try to follow Marco Polo or Christopher Columbus next? We have the technology …