Friday, July 8, 2011


His father said,
'Get off your head
or I will march you
up to bed!'
Pierre said,
'I don't care!'
'I would think
that you could see-'
'I don't care!'
'Your head is where
your feet should be!'
'I don't care!'
'If you keep standing
upside down-"
'I don't care!'
'We'll never ever
get to town.'
'I don't care!'
If only you would
say I CARE.'
'I don't care!'
'I'd let you fold the folding chair.'"


Yes, Jackson?

-What if I hit him in the face? you want to try?

WHAP. Closed fist punch right in the tiny Pierre's face.
On my left, in her pj's, Libbie, unmoved, sucks her thumb.

Did it work?


Yeah, looks like he still doesn't care. Let's read on.

I was relating this story to my fellow bookseller Jamie, and it all spun out into some very interesting places. I thought Jack was just playing with me on my level: let's joke about smacking the kid and get him to stop being annoying. Jack knows that he can be annoying. In the exact same way as Pierre. But Jamie related to me what she is reading and talking about in her classes right now, and how the discussion brought up the idea that kids get from A to B indirectly, completely unconnected to how an adult, who has had a lifetime of experience/brainwashing, would consider getting from A to B. And maybe Jack thought in that moment that he could actually change the book.

Then I came up with an idea that I want to write down before someone else does.
I have my problems with the idea, actually, but they might only be the problems that a 34 year-old bookseller in 2011 has.

The newly software has the ability to synthesize, in an almost intuitive and creative way, an author's entire ouvre of written work. From precocious grade school stories to embarrassing teenage poetry, to even more embarrassing undergrad short fiction, to heavy-handed first attempts at the great novel, to all of the author's published work, and their unpublished correspondence, notes to roommates, lists, directions jotted down...all of it is fed to the software. Tendencies are analyzed, sent back to be authorized and prioritized by the author, and established as future stylistic guidelines.

A new novel is written. The novel is set upon by the software.

A number of points of derivation are plotted within the text by the author. As few as one, or as many as there are words in the story.

Our customer downloads the novel onto their preferred handheld or headset device, and the biofeedback algorithms in the machine do their thing, monitoring and adjusting for the hot palms, the loose grip, the tight squeeze, the nervous fingering...the drop of sweat, the rhythmic fogging of the screen.

What would you like the story to do now?

Would you rather it did exactly what you least expect?

The software acts as author, in the absence of the author. Authorized to speak with an adopted voice, any book can bring endless variations, endless endings.

1 comment:

honestanimal said...

Horrifying. Brilliant, and on its merry way.