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Australian philosopher, literary critic, and professional writer. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE.

Friday, July 16, 2010

But my non-fiction is like Edgar Allan Poe


I write like
James Joyce

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

30 comments:

Russell Blackford said...

Really - I put in a slab of the non-fiction book I'm working on it came up as Edgar Allen Poe. I'm not sure wwhether that's good or bad. A big chunk of fiction got me James Joyce, but it hasn't escaped my notice that it had Irish names in it.

Okay, let's try something more cyberpunkish par moi ...

Riiight ... David Foster Wallace, whoever that is. I'm sure it's someone incredibly famous whose work I should know well. Anyone want to tell me about him?

....

Okay, okay, I just looked him up on Wikipedia. He sounds interesting. Poor bastard committed suicide while still in his forties. This is a sad literary story that had passed me by totally. I'm going to read his work now.

Russell Blackford said...

That's "Allan", of course, not "Allen". Though maybe there is an Edgar Allen Poe somewhere who writes like me. You never know! ;)

Russell Blackford said...

lol, this is funny. I just put in another passage from the same story (as the David Foster Wallace one) and this time it came up as Stephen King.

Funny ... and also addictive. Wonder if it'll ever give me the same writer twice.

Try again. Okay ... another passage from the same story gets me - ta da! - Neil Gaiman (this is the first writer it's found whom I actually know personally).

Woo hoo!! And, for a later passage from the same story it's .... William Gibson! That's what I was frakking hoping for in the first place with this motherfrakking story.

And with yet another passage from the same story I get ... David Foster Wallace again. It's like this thing is trying to tell me something.

Russell Blackford said...

Okay, using a different story I've received, for three separate passages that I fed it, a Dan Brown, a Margaret Atwood, and another William Gibson.

Try the thing for yourself.

Margaret said...

I managed to score Dan bloody Brown. For this, would you believe:

Static allometry of male genitalia and body size is commonly used as a means to interpret selection pressures influencing rapid divergent genital evolution. Here, allometry is applied to a species of Octopus. Negative allometry is found, which is consistent with current understanding of allometry in polyandrous invertebrates with minimal courtship and no overt sexual conflict. It most likely supports the hypothesis of "one size fits all". Caution must be exercised, however, given that erectile tissue has been found in the genital organs of some species of octopus, indicating that allometry in deceased specimens might not reflect that found in living, copulating individuals.

BenSix said...

I got P.G. Wodehouse, followed by Nabokov. On the third attempt, which yielded Dan Brown, I began to feel sceptical...

Kel said...

I tried a few different blog posts of mine, got: Dan Brown, Lewis Carroll, David Foster Wallace, and Isaac Asimov.

Russell Blackford said...

I got another Stephen King - for this passage from my Terminator novel An Evil Hour:

"Don't try to fight," Layton said. Jensen tried to bite him, but Layton held on with an iron grip. "Everything will become clear to you. I'm not doing this for nothing. There's work to be done, and we need your help."
Layton's bloodstream swarmed with tiny, liquid-metal nanobots, far too small to combine into anything sentient, and with only a minimal preprogrammed routine to guide them. But they had an important job. They gathered at his fingertips, penetrating the walls of his blood vessels, then found their way through the interface of Layton's skin and Jensen's. They burrowed into Jensen like minuscule corkscrews, looking for the man's brain.
Once they located nervous tissue, they swarmed, in accordance with their routine, eating, digesting, and analyzing nerve fiber, building up data records. Soon they had a model of how the man's personality and memories were sustained and structured by his neurophysiology. They became more active, rearranging synapses and connections, overlaying Jensen's personality with additional neurological code, giving him a set of new emotional responses, and some basic axioms to live by.
Thirty seconds later, the tiny bots streamed back into Layton through his fingers. He relaxed his grip, then let go entirely and settled back against the car, feeling exhausted from his efforts. "Is everything clear?" he said.

Russell Blackford said...

Now, if we could just handle Chris Mooney in the manner described in that passage ...

Russell Blackford said...

And guess what I got when I put this in?

Niamh's close-lipped smile was infinitely calm, infinitely joyous, infinitely sad. You could find anything and everything in her smile. "There is always something new, my love," she said. "Don't you yet understand? Sometimes new stars appear in the sky. I have sharpened my own sight with shape shifting and glass instruments, and I've looked closely at the Earth's moon. I've studied its surface like you'd survey a plain spread out below you from a hill."
"And seen what?"
"I've seen great mountains and huge, round craters like strange dry seas! Perhaps the moon is a world like our own, one that died. No one knows among the Immortals. But we think that the Earth is itself a starlet dancing about the sun, which is only a star in the infinite ocean of stars that I told you of." Infinitely joyous, infinitely sad, her smile said, Come with me, Oisin. There's so much to learn in a universe like this.
"But I'm a warrior," he said. "I've been a warrior for all my years, since they trained me as a child. I can't change now."
She looked upward into his eyes, gesturing wildly, shaking her head. "Fifty years is nothing," she said. "It's less than nothing." She grew taller — just slightly, the merest use of her powers. Then they were equally tall. "You can change and grow many times. You can lead many kinds of life, each more fascinating and intricate than you can think of. Would it really be so bad?"
He felt like his skin was hardening and cracking. Like a snake's. Then he laughed. Another illusion. But it was painful to think about change.
"The universe is large enough for heroes and for lovers to bloom in," Niamh said. "It's mysterious enough that no hundred years need ever resemble the one before. And you need not be the self of a hundred years before." She laughed. "You can't be a warrior all your life, my love, not with the length of life ahead of you. Eventually, you'll have to grow up … or else put an end to your immortal life. It's not so bad to grow up. And to grow up is not to be any one thing. Not just a dancer and a lover, not just a warrior. Do you understand? One faraway day your wiser self will look at your present-day self like you now look back at your childhood. And later still — another day — that wiser self will seem like a child in its turn."

Wowbagger said...

Russell wrote: 'Try again. Okay ... another passage from the same story gets me - ta da! - Neil Gaiman (this is the first writer it's found whom I actually know personally).'

Careful, Russell - you don't want to be mistake for a certain infamous internet personality whose acquaintance with celebrities makes up the lion's share of his comments...

I dragged out an old piece I'd written in the style of (well, to my mind at least) HP Lovecraft - so of course I got Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk!

Russell Blackford said...

I wasn't taught
By Frank McCourt.
So do not mock;
I'm not John Kwok.

Ray said...

Both the US Constitution and the Declaration of independence are written like HP Lovecraft.

Awesome.

Anonymous said...

I started with some emails where I was brainstorming about computer modeling care delivery in emergency departments. The first one got "Arthur C. Clarke," the second got "David Foster Wallace."

Then I pasted in one of my posts from this blog and got "William Gibson."

Fun, but it makes me feel a little like one of those online IQ tests that inflates your scores so they can sell you a plaque.

-Dan L.

Anonymous said...

OK, so pasting some of "Fall of the House of Usher" got me Arthur Conan Doyle, and then pasting in some of "The Black Cat" got me HP Lovecraft.

"Hound of the Baskervilles" comes out as Arthur Conan Doyle no matter what passage I use. A passage from "The Adventure of the Devil's Foot" got me James Joyce.

And a passage from "The Nameless City" got me HP Lovecraft.

It seems to have a little trouble recognizing Edgar Allan Poe, but its hit rate on Doyle and Lovecraft seem to be pretty good. I'm guessing it's comparing text against some limited set of works or passages for each author that happens to include "The Nameless City" and "Hound of the Baskervilles" but not "Fall of the House of Usher" (or "Adventure of the Devil's Foot").

-Dan L.

irenedelse said...

The IWL algorithm seems very poorly designed. Reed Teresa Nielsen Hayden's analysis at Making Light for a good deconstruction:

http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/012497.html

BTW, I was curious enough to past a text in French in the IWL box, just to see if it would recognize that the language wasn't even English. Sure enough, it didn't! But it said that I wrote like Shakespeare!

Argh.

Charles Sullivan said...

Also pasted a few paragraphs of a non-fiction book I'm working on.

I got H.P. Lovecraft.

Greywizard said...

The analysis is supiciously fast. I came out as a Stephen King, which I do not take to be particularly encouraging.

Greywizard said...

My second go gave me James Joyce. I will take the Joyce of Portrait or Ulysees but not Finnegan's Wake. I think I'll stop now.

Steelman said...

I pasted one of the (ahem) comments above and got Dan Brown...

Russell Blackford said...

By the way, the answer to my question above was, "James Joyce again." That passage is not remotely Joycean as far as I can see, but once again the do characters have Irish names.

Anonymous said...

DM writes like a retard.

Russell Blackford said...

I just tested DM's latest standard diatribe (before deleting it). It says he writes like Dan Brown. I'm not even kidding - that's what it says.

Anonymous said...

I went from Margaret Mitchell to Steven King to Dan Brown. I was too frightened to continue…

Grendels Dad

Rupert said...

What would the bible come out as, Enid Blyton?

Russell Blackford said...

James Joyce. I put in most of the first chapter of Genesis (King James version), and it said James Joyce.

Oedipus said...

I pasted in the whole text of the Tell-Tale Heart.

Result: Vladimir Nabokov.

Russell Blackford said...

Nice one.

Russell Blackford said...

I put in this from near the beginning of Lolita:

the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.
She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.
Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did. In point of fact,
there might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, a
certain initial girl-child. In a princedom by the sea. Oh when? About as many years before Lolita was born as my age was that summer. You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what the
seraphs, the misinformed, simple, noble-winged seraphs, envied. Look at this tangle of thorns.


And it said ... Vladimir Nabokov!

Rupert said...

James Joyce! Love it, how appropriate. Thanks Russell.