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Baroque Encodings: A Degenerative Novel

Created for NaNoGenMo 2014. Please excuse the code, it's a mess...and also probably not quite bug free.


The initial chapter of the novel is generated by substituting words in sentences taken from (human-written) novels, and combining this with short conjoining words and phrases that provide a (slight) sense of narrative.

In each subsequent chapter, the text is slowly mangled as the previous chapter is fed into a sentence-generating algorithm that chains words based on how often they occur together.


This NaNoGenMo is designed so that you can generate your own, customised novel! Just download the zip file or clone this repo, then run The novel will be generated as a plain text file. Be warned: anything longer than a couple of thousand words will probably take a long time/heat up your computer/house/whatever.

Two different beautifully typeset PDF runs of the novel can be downloaded from here and here respectively. The first version is around ~4000 words (an early test run that turned out too good to trash) and the second is ~50000 words.


Various portions of the corpus draw on corpora, Project Gutenberg's Moby word lists, SCOWL and the infamous everyword list.

The sentence structures used to generate the novel are mostly taken from books I've been reading recently, sometimes modified.


degenerative novel, written by computer



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