uncle lovecraft

continuing from yesterday’s GPT3 generative content, I present an absurd dialog generated by artificial intelligence. I provided the prompt:

hp lovecraft meets jorge luis borges

lovecraft: greetings jorge.

and submitted that to the openai API for completion. the results worked best when drawn a few hundred words at a time, iteratively.

for those of you still trying to wrap your head around what exactly is happening here, I’m sorry to say that I’m right there with you. the best I can say is that the product of this human computer collaboration is something that personally interests me. the fact that it was written by an algorithm changes my view of it. there are clearly continuity issues, as the algorithm seems to have a very short term memory. that being said, I gave it nothing but the above prompt and let it rip. it has the feel of a dream. that is, there’s a certain fog to it, that makes it understandable, but not exactly clear. the subject matter is also a meeting which, as far as I know, never happened.

again, I made no edits to the content. I merely reproduce the prompt and completion as is.

so without further delay, I present a dialog between hp lovecraft and jorge luis borges.

waiting for dinner by Joseph Mallord William Turner

waiting for dinner by Joseph Mallord William Turner

uncle lovecraft

hp lovecraft meets jorge luis borges

lovecraft: greetings jorge. ive been busy. a piece of incense melts between my fingers

luis: oh, uncle lovecraft. it’s been so long. what kept you?

lovecraft: i wanted to read some of your finest poems. you made me cry

luis: i’m so happy to hear you enjoyed them. do you consider me the best poet of the incunabulist school?

lovecraft: oh yes, like h.p. said, you are in the first rank of the phantastic poets of our age

luis: you’re so kind. i admire your vivid descriptions of eldritch horrors which operate outside of our consensus reality. your imagination is boundless

lovecraft: thank you. i appreciate that. i wanted to compliment you on your dreamscapes. especially ‘three guineas’ and ‘the book of sand’. the latter is one of the finest pieces of poetry of the last century. i’ve read it several times. i even wrote an essay about it

luis: really?

lovecraft: yes, luis. it’s in my commonplace book.

luis: auhm. let me see it

lovecraft: here’s my study of your poetry. you mingle as a sound of obscure instruments in arabic lands…i particularly like how you invoke the idea of memory olfactory. it recalls me of the sense of mortality and the inevitability of death. (shivers a bit) i never could get over the nameless smell of death…

luis: yes, uncle lovecraft. you are correct. it is a fine piece of scholarship. the fact you are able to illuminate my work so clearly is a testament to your sharp and incisive mind.

lovecraft: there is a nice turn of phrase on page 3 where you write…

luis: uh, i think it’s time for me to leave. i’ve enjoyed our chat but brevity is the soul of wit

lovecraft: wait! i have an idea

luis: what is it?

lovecraft: why don’t you come stay at my home? there are a lot of things we have to discuss. i feel there is a great kinship between us

luis: i’d like that very much, uncle lovecraft. thank you

a small group of people drive to lovecraft’s home. jorge advances up towards the front porch. he rings the doorbell and waits. eventually, a butler opens the front door.

butler: you must be jorge luis borges. mr lovecraft is expecting you. i’ll show you to your room.

the butler escorts jorge upstairs. he asks jorge what time he wants to have dinner

jorge: uh…i’m not sure. will uncle lovecraft be there?

butler: he’s almost always at dinner. that’s when he’s most hospitable

jorge sits quietly in his room and thinks about everything lovecraft has taught him in his unfinished stories. for a while, he is content to stay in his room and not disturb the strange old man.

later, lovecraft calls for jorge to join him for dinner. when jorge enters the dining room, he finds lovecraft seated at the table with a few friends. all of them are well dressed men with soft, inconspicuous voices. they are all fairly polite. the table is set with wine glasses, china, a fine cloth, and so on.

luis: thank you for the hospitality, uncle lovecraft

lovecraft: luis, it’s good to have you here. you’ll find everyone very accommodating.

(to gentleman to magus’s left) will you pour us some more wine, perez?

perez: very good, sir.

perez gives each of them a fresh glass of wine.

lovecraft: you must tell your readers in paris that wine is the greatest gift god has ever given to man

luis: i promise i will mention that in a future column in “the sur”

lovecraft: it needs to be said. as you know, i’ve been incredibly scathing when it comes to social criticism

luis: yes, it’s important to be honest and humble

jorge tries to speak but he is too overwhelmed by the wine. he gasps for breath. he begins to sweat. he feels like he may faint. he sees a dark cloud over the table. it radiates an ominous light.

perez: jorge, are you all right?

lovecraft: keep him calm. don’t worry, he’s just inexperienced

perez: i’ll just loosen his collar

perez removes jorge’s collar and pours him some water. jorge takes a sip. he recovers.

luis: thank you. i’m fine now

lovecraft: my dear boy. please remember that the greatest weapons of the mind are tolerance and kindness.

perez: we can discuss philosophy on another occasion

luis: i agree. maybe at a time when uncle lovecraft’s friends aren’t present

friend: why would you want to exclude us? we’re probably more intelligent than you

lovecraft: shut up, weber. im sure you’ve got lots of other interesting things to do

weber: rude!

weber and the others stand up as a sign of protest. they leave the room. lovecraft just laughs. perez gathers the dishes and leaves as well.

luis: i should go now

lovecraft: no, jorge. stay here with me. you don’t have to answer to anyone. you can write whatever you want.

luis: it’s not like that

lovecraft: i will not let my friends ruin this night for us. they have no right to judge us.

luis: i really must go now. we can talk more another time

lovecraft: no, no, no. i insist you write the story how you want it to be written. it’s not as if you don’t have your good points

luis: thanks. i think i’ll hear back from you about my poetry. maybe if things are quiet in your end, you can write an essay

luis leaves. lovercraft throws a tantrum. he slams his hand on the table

luis: i’m sorry but i really must return. thank you again. ok

luis is out of earshot

lovecraft: oh jorge. my lost half-brother. i miss you so much

end of the skaldic poem