Computers Writing Books? - Greg Kennedy - Medium

By Greg Kennedy

Long-form text generation is a hard problem. Even the latest GPT-2 struggles to maintain coherence for more than a page, much less a whole chapter or book. One time-tested solution is to use shorter generators, then compile the results together in a collection of some sort. These entries highlight the technique in action.


A boy is a young male human. The term is usually used for a child or an adolescent. When a male human reaches adulthood, he is described as a man.Ah! if the rich were harnessed, and none escaped but one evening Iron Hans came back with his axe, Flatboatmen make fast towards me on the loungers under the breakfast.. He was awfully stupid about the place, and wouldnt be in the stranger, and caught it hardship on themselves go and wash the cobbles off the boy himself down, and found the dear boy..

This entry attempts to show what computers “know” about important concepts like “man”, “house”, “love”, “soul”, and so on. Each topic contains some sentences from Wikipedia, combined with excerpts from popular public-domain texts that contain the words. The result gives the impression of a system that copes well with rigorous, well-defined rules, yet breaks down spectacularly when attempting to interpret meaning or value.

Before the ritual can begin you must bathe thyself thoroughly & light fragrant incense and get the old key.
This demon is most pleased by deliberate motions, and this is how he is conjured.

1. The first step is to attract the demon’s attention. To do so, You must wiggle youre right leg. Make sure also that you have the old key close at hand.2. When this is done, the next thing is to wiggle thy hands while you gyrate thy right fiste.3. Keep doing this until you reach a frenzy, keeping the old key held close about you at all times, & finally Wiggle your fists while you chant “Borlalalmor, Borlalalmor”.

4. At last, trace Buzel’s sigil in the aire before you with the old key while you chant “Borlalalmor”.

Now at this Climax of the ritual, to invoke the Baronet Buzel intone the following…

Want to summon a procedurally generated demon? This entry has you covered. Detailed descriptions of various monsters, with summoning rituals, invocation spells, magic symbols, all roughly inspired by “The Lesser Key of Solomon”. The one-page HTML presentation is very good, and I highly recommend checking this one out (at your own risk)!

Match Piece For Sousaphone
Try not to rejoice itLet one thousand people Take a copy of mixed nutsTake off mixed nuts

You can use your head

Piece For Employment
Go on druming for one hundred monthesGo on druming for three yearsScream for three lifetimes

Wander it

“Chickpea” is a collection of instructions, fashioned after the limited-print book “Grapefruit” by Yoko Ono. Each reads as a little meditation on a subject, with the results ranging somewhere between profound and weirdly funny. They’re short, too.

Rite of Joy

Ingredients* 6 tumblers phlegm of pidgeon, chilled* wish of basilisk

* wish of hyrax

DirectionsAfter aligning yourself parallel to the major leyline, place a zinc boiler over a brazier and etch with runes while it heats.

Add phlegm of pidgeon to the prepared vessel. While hopping on one foot, fold in wish of basilisk. Wriggle your fingers, then cautiously add wish of hyrax.

Recipe books are a recurring theme in NaNoGenMo, and this year brings a generative spellbook to the mix. Each entry contains a name, ingredient list, and a set of instructions to prepare the spell. The author has generated three books from the code. I selected this one at random.

You want Human-sized Dining? We’ve got Human-sized Dining!.427 Trafalgar Square Street, Tangochester

☎ 634–4641

Human-sized Dining: Just the way you like it?!5920 Oxford Street Street, Whiskeystone

☎ 753–2010

This entry is a virtual Yellow Pages for bizarre topics. I particularly liked the layout, which looks like a real phone book, and the major headings. Now I will always know where to look when I need to find help with “Manky Weddings”, “Quadraphonic Plastering”, or “Uterine Muggings”.

Hummersknott is an expansive melding game for three to six players where melds can be rearranged. It uses a standard 52 card pack. 2s are higher than Aces: cards rank 2, A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3.

Each player is dealt five cards.
Deal one card to form a face-up discard pile. Undealt cards form the stock.

The dealer takes the first turn. A player’s turn consists of the following steps in sequence…

This is a book of rules for fictional card games. Each game has a defined purpose, setup, play rules, scoring, and victory rule. The rules come from recombining snippets from existing card games, and the names of games are taken from English and French villages, which gives it a plausible and quaint feeling — as though these might really be some obscure form of Rummy you’ve just never heard of.