The Several Houses of Brian, Spencer, Liam, Victoria, Brayden, Vincent, and Alex is a computer-generated children’s book of 53,651 words and 350 unique illustrations arranged over 800 pages. The text is a cumulative poem in the style of the nursery rhyme “This is the House that Jack Built,” but with a house for each of the eponymous seven individuals, and with each of their houses containing many more types of things. These houses, these things, and these words were chosen by a Python script that I wrote, and the resulting novel--which can be viewed on my Github repository--is the outcome of a specific execution of this script that I carried out on December 16, 2017. I completed this novel for NaNoGenMo (National Novel Generation Month), where participants spend November writing code that will generate a novel of at least 50,000 words, then share a sample and their source code. My 2017 entry was late, but I still consider it a success.

In this artist’s statement, I will reflect on the context for creating this book, and use it as an illustration of the challenges that so-called computer-generated text pose within the scope of digital creative writing studies and practice. I will also comment on some of the conceptual, ethical, and aesthetic issues involved in declaring ownership (authorship) of this kind of work, and I reflect on the pedagogical implementation of this kind of work in a creating coding classroom.