Penguin Random House is recording two editions of its Minecraft novel's audiobook - one narrated by actor Jack Black and the other by actress Samira Wiley - to reflect the fact that its protagonist is "gender neutral".
Minecraft: The Island (Century) is the first official novel based on the popular Minecraft games, in which users of the game can select their own character with gender neutral options available.
It has been written in the first person by Max Brooks, author of World War Z (Gerald Duckworth & Co), to take readers into the world of Minecraft while telling the story of a new hero: stranded in the world of Minecraft, the novel's (gender neutral) protagonist must survive the harsh, unfamiliar environment and unravel the secrets of the island.
Dan Zitt, vp of content production in the US, who cast Black and Wiley, commented that each of the two readers - Black who has starred in comedy films such as "School of Rock" and "Shallow Hal", and Wiley, who recently played Moira in "The Handmaid's Tale" - had been able to "bring something different" to the book.
“This book is not just for fans of Minecraft but for anyone who read Treasure Island or Robinson Crusoe. Only Jim Hawkins and Robinson Crusoe have been replaced with Samira Wiley and Jack Black," he said.
"I listened to both recordings and I would encourage anyone to do the same. They both bring something different to Max's book, but are equally impressive audiobooks.”
Both editions of the audiobook will be released on 18th July, simultaneously in the UK and US.
The novel is the first in a new series of Minecraft fiction. Egmont publishes the non-fiction Minecraft series in the UK.