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Redwreath and Goldstar Have Traveled to Deathsgate (by zarf) #10
Paarfi of Roundwood is best known for being the author of several "Romances" of Dragaerean history. (The Phoenix Guards, etc.) He is nearly as well known for being prolix, generous of embellishment, and fictional.
As Paarfi was paid by the word -- or rather, he is a pastiche of such writers as Dumas, who were -- his dialogues frequently reach unseemly length in settling a single point or idea. I thought it amusing to generate a pastiche of the pastiche which takes this past the point of absurdity.
With apologies to Steven Brust and Alexandre Dumas, but none to Paarfi of Roundwood.
The current draft: http://eblong.com/zarf/essays/r-and-g.html
I love it. I've never heard of Steven Brust before, but the dialog definitely has an annoyingly lengthy Dumasian feel. It's very funny that your generative novel system would be influenced by the writing style of a fictional narrator, created by Steven Brust in homage to Dumas, famous himself for employing ghostwriters.
I guess Dumas or his ghostwriters were using "tricks" to lengthen the dialogs and these tricks were so mechanical, they can easily be imitated by computers. This probably says something about the relationships between machine, money, creation and alienation, but I'm not sure what yet.
The dialog also feels quite natural. I don't understand py script much and I'm not getting how much of the text is authored and how much is generated. I will have a second look later. Anyway, very nice ideas.
Thanks. I will add some explanatory comments to the script -- it's simple in principle but the implementation is a mess.
If I add one more tweak (and I may not bother), it will be to check for several nested responses in a row and qualify them. (Places where the output is "Yes." "Yes." should look more like "Yes." "As to ...: yes.")
My favourite line is the longest one! Well, perhaps that goes without saying.
Having not been lucky(?) enough to have read Dumas (or Paarfi) my impression of it was: two well-tuned ELIZA's in livelock.
I was not actually aware that the yes/no answers were nest-closing actions until you mentioned it (if indeed that is what you mean, and if you understand what I mean by "nest-closing action" -- I can't think of a better term right now.)
Thank you for (a) reminding me that Python has
This is a novel with great promise, but little in the way of self control. When it works, it absolutely shines, but you can almost feel the author becoming excited at eir own mastery of the language, and overstepping the bounds of decency time and again, just when restraint would have been most welcome.
About the opening sections there is little value in pontificating; they proceed at a generally leisurely pace and exhibit a modest and not unwelcome rhythmic structure. The peaks are, as ever, reaching just a bit further than good taste should allow, a "Do I understand you to be asking whether I believe I can answer that?" where a "Do I understand you to be asking whether I can answer that?" would do, but these are minor errors in judgment, the sort of polish that comes with time. For a first novel, it gets off to a passable start.
The triumph and the troubles begin as the novel begins the rapid ascent to its dizzying apex – and beyond. We have been on a rollicking, rhythmic ride, but now we are brought to a sudden halt, a remarkably restrained and potent "No." But before we can catch our breath, we are whisked upwards and onwards, "How, you believe you can answer that?" whizzing past on the left and "You want to know whether I believe I can answer that?" barely registering as it cartwheels past, greater things already looming ahead.
And then we're coasting, weightless, our hearts pounding but far away, as the magnificent climax soars into view:
"Do I understand you to be asking whether I am asking whether I shall tell you whether I want to know whether you believe you can answer that?"
The craftsmanship on display here is truly one-of-a-kind. This is a sentence that could found a career. At this point, we are transfixed, utterly awe-struck... and utterly unprepared for the devastating blow we are about to receive. I can't sugar coat it. Here it is, the follow up, the dry gravel chaser to the silken ambrosia we have just imbibed:
"You want to know whether I am asking whether you are asking whether you shall tell me whether you want to know whether I believe I can answer that?"
To be honest with you, it makes me feel a bit ill. I try not to look at it for too long. Its grossness defies analysis.
And then it segues down, numbly, mechanically, into the over-long denouement. There are flashes of insight here, but nothing more profound than a bit of "Do so, then." And then... and then the reveal. The twist ending. The joyful knife erupting at the last possible second from the crumpled, monotone carcass we have, at long last, slain.
How can we know what to think? How could we ever decide? There is no right or wrong here. The artifact stands on its own - magnificent, corrupted, pristine and slick with blood.
Would I be mistaken if I chose to believe unreservedly that I am correct in identifying your interrogative as a request for an explanation from myself regarding the meaning I intended to convey by stating as I did in my original missive that it makes me feel a bit ill?