You Will Thank Me as Fast as You Thank a Werewolf

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A Foray Into Nonsense, December 6, 2020
by Joey Acrimonious
Related reviews: IFComp 2020

You Will Thank Me as Fast as You Thank a Werewolf is a collaboration between the human author and a neural network that generated new text based on the authorís past works. Itís described as ďan experimental story about a lifelong romantic relationship,Ē but I never would have guessed that this was supposed to be a story about anything in particular. Itís a jumble of disjointed events and ideas, perhaps slightly more coherent than an early BuŮuel film but not quite as sensible as a typical fever dream. Expect to encounter only the slightest bit of narrative coherence: sometimes sentences on the same page seem to bear a logical relationship to each other, but thatís about as far as it goes.

But thereís definitely some interesting content here, even if itís not presented in the form of a traditional storyline. Certain themes keep recurring throughout the experience: the narratorís preoccupations with work (especially the fact of being hired and identifying oneself with a job); family (especially a brother who seems to keep coming up); and mortality (and people who either resist or acquiesce to it). A distillation, perhaps, of what is explored in the authorís other works?

Iím not sure that there is any point to the interactive aspect of the experience. In typical CYOA-style, the player sometimes picks one of two choices, but the choices themselves are often non-sequiturs and they donít have an obvious relationship to whatever happens next.

Much of what youíll read here is just a step above gibberish, but there are also scattered gems - sentences that clearly bear the mark of AI uncanniness but which just work in a sublime kind of way. For me, the most enjoyable part of the read was uncovering such gems. For example:

(Spoiler - click to show)The parrot says: ďI am a parrot, and I love you.Ē

(Spoiler - click to show)ďBeware, you blind socialist,Ē he said, ďeven though you have a heart of gold and cocaine.Ē

(Spoiler - click to show)Everyone except Wikipedia is shocked

If thatís not poetry, I donít know what is.

I donít believe thereís any way to give constructive criticism here, nor will I be giving a star rating. It is what it is. Would I recommend giving this one a read? Yes, but only if youíre in the mood to spend half an hour not knowing what in the world is going on.