I had a strange experience with ChatGPT today. I saw a friend mention having the generative A.I. write a scene in his voice. Not being a prolific reader of his work, I could not say if it WAS in his voice. The only thing I could be certain of, was he was displeased with the end result.
My curiosity got the better of me and I decided: in the interests of exploration I would ask ChatGPT to: “Write a short story in the style of Thaddeus Howze with 500 words.”
I thought I would share its story along with my impressions.
First the story. Query: “Write a short story in the style of Thaddeus Howze with 500 words”
(I provided the title for my records)
Once upon a time in a galaxy not too far away, there was a planet called Technos. Technos was unique because it was a planet that was run entirely by machines. The machines were designed to serve the inhabitants of the planet, who were called Techno-Sapiens. The Techno-Sapiens lived in perfect harmony with the machines and never had to worry about the troubles that plagued other planets.
However, there was one Techno-Sapien who was not content with the perfect life that was provided to him. His name was Thaddeus, and he was different from the others because he was curious about the world outside of Technos. Thaddeus had always been fascinated by the stars and the unknown, and he longed to explore the universe.
One day, Thaddeus discovered an old spaceship in the storage facilities of Technos. The ship was ancient and had been there for centuries, but Thaddeus saw potential in it. He spent every moment he could working on the ship, repairing it and making it spaceworthy.
Finally, the day arrived when Thaddeus was ready to set off on his journey. He took a deep breath and climbed into the cockpit of the spaceship. The machines that controlled Technos noticed Thaddeus’ departure, but they were programmed not to interfere with the desires of the Techno-Sapiens.
As Thaddeus flew his spaceship into the unknown depths of the universe, he encountered many strange and wondrous sights. He visited planets where the inhabitants lived in peace, and others where war and destruction reigned. He encountered creatures that were beyond his wildest imagination, and others that were so familiar, he felt like he was back home on Technos.
Despite all of the incredible things that Thaddeus saw, he never lost his sense of wonder. He continued to explore the universe, always searching for something new and exciting. Eventually, Thaddeus became known throughout the galaxy as the greatest explorer of all time.
Years passed, and Thaddeus grew old. He had seen more of the universe than anyone else, and he had learned so much about the world and about himself. One day, he returned to Technos, and the Techno-Sapiens were overjoyed to see him. They had heard of his adventures and were eager to hear his stories.
Thaddeus told them of his travels, and they listened in awe. He had explored the depths of the universe and had encountered things they could never have imagined. Thaddeus inspired the Techno-Sapiens to be curious and adventurous, and they too set off on their own journeys of discovery.
Thaddeus passed away a few years later, but his legacy lived on. The Techno-Sapiens continued to explore the universe and make their own discoveries, always keeping Thaddeus’ spirit of adventure and curiosity close to their hearts. And so, Technos became a hub of exploration and discovery, and Thaddeus was remembered as the pioneer who paved the way for a new era of exploration and wonder.
It is not a great story. It is not told well. While I admit to its failings, the story does focus on ideas common to my stories. Grand vistas, alien civilizations, no fear of machine intelligences, are all elements of many of my stories. A promotion of unity, support, and good will between species is evident in some of, but not all of my intergalactic tales.
While I am disappointed in the quality of the tale, the hopeful themes of education, uplift, support and the main character’s desire to teach as many as possible links this strangelet to me by a gossamer thread: my hope for a better future brought about by choice.
ChatGPT, you are a terrible writer. I don’t have to fear for my job just yet. I am glad to see my ideals have managed to permeate the Internet well enough this tool can recognize some of my ideas, in the most cursory of ways.
Thaddeus Howze is an award-winning writer, editor, podcaster and activist creating speculative fiction, scientific, political and cultural commentary from his office in Hayward, California.
Thaddeus’ speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals. He has published two books, ‘Hayward’s Reach’ (2011), a collection of short stories and ‘Broken Glass’ (2013) an urban fantasy novella starring his favorite paranormal investigator, Clifford Engram.