Melpomene: Bagabone, Hem ‘I Die Now (1980)

26 October 2018, dusan

Bagabone, Hem ‘I Die Now (1980) is perhaps the first novel that was purportedly written by a computer.

The back flap of the dust jacket states this about the book’s origins: “Can a computer write a novel? To find out, some experts in literature, linguistics, and computers at the Institute of Science and Technology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, programed a computer, Melpomene, with English verb patterns and semantic (i.e., meaning) units drawn from twentieth-century women writers, as well as D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce, and some ‘angry young men’ of the 1960s. Then they added some patterns and units from Pidgin English and French, and the astounding result is Bagabone, Hem ‘I Die Now. Melpomene, which is the name of the Greek muse of tragedy, picked the title; translated from Pidgin English, it means, ‘Bagabone (a character in the novel) is dying.'”

Following its publication, Computer World published an article (“Publisher Claims Computer Composed Novel”, 25 Aug. 1980, p. 23) effectively defeating the publisher’s claim about the work’s computational origins. In the article, AI experts deem the novel to be human-written, and another source reports that there is no ‘Institute of Science and Technology’ at Jagiellonian University. Moreover, due to its mode of operation, the publisher (Vantage Press) would apparently have been paid to print the book. The copyright holder for Bagabone was a human—an Englishman named G.E. Hughes—who could not be reached by Computer World. (Intriguingly, this copy of the book is inscribed by one ‘Eric Hughes’, though this could be coincidental.)”

Publisher Vantage Press, New York, 1980
ISBN 0533042496, 9780533042494
136 pages
via James Ryan (xfoml)

Commentary: Peter Swirski (2013), James Ryan (2017).

WorldCat

PDF (40 MB)
Internet Archive

Gene Kogan, Francis Tseng: Machine Learning for Artists (2016–)

13 October 2016, dusan

“This is an in-development book about machine learning. The first draft is expected early-2017. Some chapters are nearly complete, some are very rough, some are just stubs.

Guides and Demos are being released as we go. Guides are a collection of practical resources for working with machine learning software, including code and tutorials. Demos are are a collection of figures and interactive demos for highlighting important concepts in machine learning, and supplementing the book’s materials.”

Chapters (HTML)
Guides (HTML, Python)
Demos (HTML, Javascript)

Edgar Morin: Method, vol. 1: The Nature of Nature (1977–) [PT, EN, ES]

9 February 2015, dusan

Method: The Nature of Nature is the first of several volumes exposing Edgar Morin’s general systems view on life and society. The present volume maintains that the organization of all life and society necessitates the simultaneous interplay of order and disorder. All systems, physical, biological, social, political and informational, incessantly reshape part and whole through feedback, thereby generating increasingly complex systems. For continued evolution, these simultaneously complementary, concurrent, and antagonistic systems require a priority of love over truth, of subject over object, of Sy-bernetics over cybernetics.”

First published in French as La Méthode, t. 1: La Nature de la nature, 1977.

English edition
Translated and Introduced by J.L. Roland Bélanger
Publisher Peter Lang, 1992
ISBN 0820418781
435 pages

Interview with Morin by his translator Ana Sánchez, 2011
Publisher (EN)
WorldCat (EN)

O método 1. A natureza da natureza (Portuguese, trans. Maria Gabriela de Bragança, 2nd ed., c1987, 12 MB)
Method, 1: The Nature of Nature (English, trans. J.L. Roland Bélanger, 1992, 17 MB)
El método 1. La naturaleza de la naturaleza (Spanish, trans. Ana Sánchez and Dora Sánchez García, 2001, 4 MB)