Launched a book written and illustrated by AI!

A few weeks ago I was playing around with some generative art and created an image of the Grim Reaper on vacation. I found it amusing and was constantly thinking about other scenarios for Death to be in. So I decided I wanted to write a book using AI. Of course that had already 'been done'. So I wondered if I could create one that was cohesive, with an actual plot, and could I illustrate it using AI too?

Grim Tales is the result. It's a short story about the Grim Reaper in paperback and as an ebook. It was exciting to see the text and the art getting generated and coming together. As far as I know it is the first book both written and illustrated by AI.

The art was created using a modified version of the 'Aleph2Image' notebook (created by @advadnoun on twitter) which uses OpenAI's CLIP and DALL-E. The text was generated using a writing tool that utilises OpenAI's GPT-3 API. I've already written an article on the site about how I generated the text for the book. I'll follow that up with a similar article about the art, and discussions on the quality of the writing and how AI could be used as a tool for writers in the future.

  1. 2

    I had a read through the intro, and I've gotta say that the prose and narrative came out waaaay better than I expected. Really cool project.

    How much curation/fiddling/adjustment did you need to do on a per-paragraph or sentence level to get it to the current state of refinement?

    I'll probably grab a copy of the paperback -- I make books also and I'd like to have it on the shelf as a reminder of what's possible at the edges. Great stuff and thanks for sharing the tools you used.

    1. 2

      Thanks Rob! The intro lacks dialogue which is a bit of a shame because there's plenty in other parts of the book and it feels very human.

      One thing I'd like to try is to get the book into the hands of the average person and see whether they could tell that it was written by a human or not. My gut feeling is that they would just assume that it was. Albeit they'd think it was written by a high-school kid.

      I wrote about the process I used to curate the generated text in my first article: Writing Grim Tales. I'm currently writing about the quality and quirks of the text that I've found so far.

      In short, I had a couple of rules for curating. First, the generated text had to progress the narrative, otherwise it was discarded. The second rule was that the text had to be from the same point of view - i.e. first person in this case. This basically just made sure that the AI wouldn't meander around and make the story disorienting to readers. Sometimes this meant a few lines were removed, and in other cases paragraphs. All of the text itself is unedited.

      I pick up my copy of The Mom Test every couple of months just as a refresher - so I just want to thank you for that!

  2. 1

    Looks cool!
    I have one suggestion.
    Since the art looks untraditional. It gives me the impression that this article is generated.
    If you want to get the book into the hands of the average person and test if they can tell, I suggest you remove the arts.

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