Huckleberry Finn, the Robot Edition

[Video Link] Much controversy of late over editing out the n-word from a forthcoming NewSouth Books edition of Mark Twain's classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Well, as Perry Michael Simon on Nerdist blog points out, someone's about to take that to the proverbial whole 'nother level:
See, someone's following up on NewSouth Books' intention to edit out the offending word by going one step further. And that step is... Robots.

Yes, robots. The plan by Gabriel Diani and Etta Devine is to replace "n-word" Jim with Robot Jim. "Statistically, people prefer robots to the word 'n-word,'" say the proponents of this audacious plan. "The word 'n-word' is ugly and pejorative. Robots are fun and cool... even when they're trying to take over our world! So we've decided to take the word 'n-word' out of Mark Twain's classic and replace it with 'robot.'" And they've commissioned an artist to alter the original illustrations to include the robot.

Where do you come in? Simple: They're raising money for a short print run of the robot-inflected "Huck Finn."

'Huckleberry Finn,' ROBOTIC EDITION (


  1. Two things:

    In a similar vein to the original, I found it appropriate to remove all references to meat consumption from O Henry’s Gift of the Magi.

    There was actually an issue with the first editions of Huck Finn where one of the illustrative plates was modified to give Uncle Silas a penis. The extant copies with the pre-penis fly fetch over a thousand dollars more than the alternatives now.

    1. Yes, I just heard about that today. Also, Hipster Huck Finn beat us to the punch a little. As did the zombie one which came out a few years ago. We wish them all luck with their projects.

  2. See also “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim” by Mark Twain and W. Bill Czolgosz. More along the lines of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies with actual changes to the story, not just a find-and-replace job.

  3. I find hearing “the word ‘N-word” to be annoying. You can just say ‘the N-word’. Just like saying ‘ATM Machine’ and ‘PIN Number’ are redundant. That’s already part of the abbreviation, ya dig?

  4. Wait, are they implying that the N-word can be replaced with the R-word because the R’s are ALSO trying to take over the world?

  5. Can’t we just set something up on the self-publishing site (or equivalent) with the whole book text and some little fill in the blank form so that we can pick our own word to substitute? Then we could get several versions to suit our mood of the day.

    For example, on Mondays I might want to read about Jar Jar Jim, on Tuesday perhaps Borg Jim, on Wednesday, that symbol for the artist formerly known as Prince, and on Thursday a randomly selected anti-spam captcha. Friday would have to be Eric Cartman. Saturday, Osama Bin Laden.
    Sunday, Pope Benedict.

  6. And the word robot comes from the Czech word robota, meaning the unfree labor a serf was required to render to his feudal lord. In other words, a form of slave labor. So they’re sort of bringing the issue back to “Slave Jim”.

    1. My thoughts exactly!

      I hope they raise all the money they ned to do this — “robot” is exactly the right choice to make this a brilliant bit of satire, because of the history of robots as metaphor for servitude.

      So the use of a robot actually keeps the central theme intact more closely than any other substitution I’ve seen (zombies, ninjas, hipsters… all a bit random), while still allowing them to make a point about the perceived need for the altering of challenging literature to make it more “palatable” by taking the alteration to the point of silliness.

      Go, Robot Jim!

  7. Probably not librarians banning the books. More likely, it is community members forcing their own beliefs on others.

  8. With all that sanitizing of these old classics, someone should do the complete opposite, and cram in more offensive language, to make it as “inappropriate” as possible.

    You know, as a stylistic exercise or tour de force. I mean, if it actively offends everybody, without distinction, will it still be considered racist/sexist/ -ist in any way?

  9. What a great way to sweep the issue under the rug! Just remove the humanity from it. Let me guess, the robot is Apple white?

  10. I look at this like changing a history.

    Good point is taken in this video about holocaust.
    How about not mentioning WW2 and Auschwitz Konzentrationslager because its insulting for Auschwitz and German citizens?

    And are we gonna change word robot with some other word in future, when robots gonna have AI and feelings. They will not appreciate that they were treated as slaves in times of Mark Twain.

    How about forgeting about all ugly stuff that mankind has done?! That would be great! Everything would be so nice. Only good memories…

    …until that history repeats! And it repeats ALLOT!

  11. I’m streaming Blazing Saddles on netflix, while perusing these comments. Blazing Saddles avails itself of many a n-word. Well placed n-words, in context, for specific purposes. It’s funny. I don’t know if it would be as funny if Blazing Saddles used a different word. A word without both the historical and contemporary (contemporary at the time of making the movie) meaning of the n-word wouldn’t have the same zing. “Slave” would have no zing. “Robot” might give the script more a zag than a zing, but whatever.

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