The University Ruins

This is the third story I’ve written with GPT-3 related to a future race of beings, the nen, who are descended from geo-engineering robots.

One question I’ve been wrestling with is how to use GPT-3 in service of a longer narrative, ie a novel. And I’m reminded again that there is not a fixed, standardized form called “the novel.” The novel as an art form can assume myriad shapes. There’s the Oulipo-inspired form of If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino; the dense, cererbral works of Thomas Bernhart; novels in which nothing “happens” per se, but an exploration of the quotidian; the brain-obliterating language salads of Samuel Beckett and Gertrude Stein. A novel can be many, many things.

In this case I’m finding that a novel can be a thematically linked series of standalone vignettes. You can find a through-line thematically where one doesn’t necessarily exist via the mechanics of plot. I think that’s incredibly intriguing.

I’m looking at GPT-3 not to replicate fiction structures of the past, but to suggest new ones that couldn’t have existed prior to AI.