Can artificial intelligence write novels? Josh Dzieza looks at how independent authors have begun to experiment with AI writing programs like Sudowrite and Jasper to write their stories faster. The piece explores questions around ethics and authorship, and its design is A+.

It requires a strange degree of sympathy with the machine, thinking about the way it works and how it might respond to your query. Branwen wrote that it’s a bit like trying to teach tricks to a superintelligent cat.

And it does generally seem to understand the assignment, though it sometimes takes it in unexpected directions. For instance, Lepp found that the program had a tendency to bestow her characters with swords. Despite there not really being any swords in her version of magical Florida, it would have characters unsheathing blades mid-conversation or fondling hilts as they sat on the porch.

Cheri Lucas Rowlands

Cheri has been an editor at Longreads since 2014. She's currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.