Who Writes “The Writer”? Mallory Smart, That’s Who.

Mallory Smart

When I first heard about the AI program, ChatGPT, I didn’t think too much of it.  You type in a question, and it gives you an answer.  You give it commands and it responds in kind.  I assumed it would be a hyped-up program that would be trendy for a bit then fizzle out, like the AI profile pics I had been seeing.  I was wrong, as I often have been about these kind of things (I didn’t think Facebook or Netflix would last very long).  Then I saw people posting whole essays written by the program.  During a conversation with my brother-in-law, I suddenly saw the potential for writers to use this as a creative new tool.  I could write a book much faster.  I put that thought on the backburner.  Maybe it would be a project for a rainy day.  But I knew that this program wasn’t going to fizzle out.  Then shortly before the start of the new year, Mallory Smart tweeted that she would be releasing a human/AI collaboration book on New Year’s Eve.  My first thought was that the literary world is about to change.  My second thought was, I need to talk to Mallory about this.      

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Édouard Levé and Absence

Édoard Levé

Sometimes it’s the absent things that affect me most. But then, what does absence mean? As I write this, I’m alone in my apartment, surrounded by absence, and yet a whole array of nominally absent people, places, and things preoccupy my mind. Some are friends and family I spoke with yesterday; others are spaces that have long since been demolished. Maybe, then, this is the key: the line between presence and absence is no line at all. It’s a matter of perception, or of definition.

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Skulls, Detectives, and the Texas Surreal: Robert Freeman Wexler on Writing “The Silverberg Business”

Robert Freeman Wexler

There’s a point early on in Robert Freeman Wexler‘s novel The Silverberg Business where you might have an idea of where things are heading. Protagonist Shannon is on the trail of a man who disappeared with money intended to benefit Jewish refugees in 1880s Texas. A detective, hot on the trail of an elusive target — it’s the stuff of classic private detective fiction, right? And then a group of skull-headed people show up and, as the saying goes, things get weird. After reading the novel, I was immediately intrigued and sought out Wexler to learn more about the book’s origins — and the music and art that helped inspire it.

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