23 February 2023

"If you like" — the inevitability of AI

Although I pity innocent editors and publishers who are sincere in fostering original work with soul, the trade as a whole has created the AI monster without the skill to fuck to fruition, so it has had to do with human imitators so far.

Now AI can do the job much better of fulfilling "If you like ___________, you'll like
____________." It’s even got a name: Read alike.
Public libraries give out bookmarks with these guides.
"There’s a whole industry pushing it on kids.

Publishers and editors urge writers to be original, as long as they can stop being original. As one agent who'd asked for it said about my novel that was eventually published and shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award, "It's brilliant, of course, but can't you write something normal?"
Too many editors and judges to count have told me privately that they have been dismayed by the sameness they see, the indistinguishability, a trait they say is most common amongst those writers who've had it honed by the MFA process. They might say that. I couldn't possibly comment except to say that there were too many who kvetched at me with these complaints to chalk them up to a couple of dyspeptics who were trying to make me feel better at my almost total lack of readers.
Dead authors must turn in their graves, not at having their embarrassing prejudices corrected, but at having hacks take over the characters and worlds they loved to create and are loved for. From Modesty Blaise to James Bond, to all those in the Wodehouse world, new versions have proliferated from publishers all too willing to dupe readers who want more from an author who has shuffled off, and in the some cases, killed off their beloveds so as to not have them suffer the fate far worse than death--that of being forced to "entertain" by impresarios whose love of lucre is all that love means. Oh, to live in perpetuity, enslaved by estates.
There are live writers who don't want to wait for their death to hand over their reigns, as long as the money comes in. For them and for their publishers, AI is manna--why cut the profits with hired human hacks?
But why indeed, do we need publishers and art dealers at all in a world where anyone can order what they want? Get rid of all the middle-companies and corporations that created AI. They've done their jobs and are only rent-takers. The stock market valuations of AI pushers have gone ballistic so, as every writer's taught, "kill off your darlings"--Why use them? Soon each dear consumer will be able to hack any rehash they desire, for why pay thieves if you can do it yourself?
So here we are, with as many read-alikes and look-alikes as anyone could possibly desire. As long as consumers don't want anything with thought and heart, it'll only cost them money and however much of their life they're willing to kill.


  1. Dear Anna, of course you are right, and therefore I cannot disagree with your words.

  2. Dear Anonymous,
    Thank you for reading this and for responding. I wish I weren't right but that would mean the world would be quite different. Too big a wish, but maybe we can knock it out of its trajectory.

    1. Dear Anna, apparently, we really are, as you said, like those creatures of the deepest and most sparsely populated seas who somehow find each other...

  3. There is no word that works for the way I feel about this. Lucky? No. Blessed? Certainly not, as I don't think of anyone else doling out the good and bad that happens to people any more than the other creatures of the deeps. But our contact has done what every one should, changed me for the better. I am so very thrilled that you and I found each other in the murk. I've never seen your teeth nor your head, but your soul is as beautiful as I think these creatures are, no matter how "hideous" the human judgements cast upon them. https://www.ourendangeredworld.com/species/mariana-trench-animals/

    1. Dear Anna, I am more than touched. And I sincerely thank you for these words of yours. In turn, I can't help but say that I experience similar emotions... :-)