Margaret Atwood and the Remote-Controlled Kissing Device

Posted on February 13, 2005

The Globe and Mail reports on the firestorm of rumors and controversy which has surrounded critically acclaimed Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood's revolutionary new approach to author signings. Ms. Atwood's company, Unotchit, Inc. ("You No Touch It") unveiled a device which would allow an author to conduct an autographed booksigning from a remote location. The author and reader look at each other over a video screen, the author signs the book, while the reader's book is signed remotely by the unotchit device, which replicates the author's signature. The reader also gets a copy of the film clip.

Many people thought it was a joke, including novelist Neil Gaiman who, tongue planted firmly in cheek, railed against the proposed device, of which he said: "the Atwood Patented Booksigner seems to make as much sense and promise to be as much fun as a machine that would kiss you on the cheek, thus reproducing a kiss on the cheek from a celebrity you fancy, who's a thousand miles away kissing a screen, which then issues you with a slip of paper informing you that you had just been kissed by the person in question."

Ms. Atwood explains in a letter to the newspaper exactly what the device is, why it's nothing at all like the remote kissing device imagined by Mr. Gaiman and why the device really is A Good Thing for readers who normally never see authors live anyway -- like those who live on a remote mountaintop in Tibet, perhaps. That's all fine and good, but what if the reader would really rather have a kiss instead?