Don’t mean to tease, but won’t be posting my 100 book ideas publicly

Despite some interest, I won’t be posting that list of 100 ideas for
books I’d like to write — to this blog or anywhere else public. Such
green shoots are really not ready for the mercies of the wider
Internet, and (I’m told by the best authorities), some are even pretty
dumb. I guess that’s understandable, because commercial viability
played no part in their invention and selection, only whether I’d like
to write them.

However! Some of the Facebook likers and Google +1ers who responded to
my query may be getting an email soon. My agent certainly will.

I wrote a short Perl script that generates every possible book in the Library of Babel

The Perl script near the end of this post generates a book from the imaginary (sort of) Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges ( This kind of thing has been done before, but I
wanted to do it myself, and to make the code publicly available.

A book in the Library of Babel, which contains all possible books, is
410 pages long. Each page has 40 lines of 80 characters from a set of
25 possible symbols. Borges says the symbol set comprises a
22-character alphabet in lower case, a comma, a period, and a space.
For my alphabet, I chose our own alphabet, minus J, U, and W, which
were not present in the classical Latin alphabet, and also Q, somewhat

I would like, as a kind of performance art, to one day generate
complete bound Babelian volumes and sell them over the Net.
Typesetting them wouldn’t be hard, but I haven’t found a
print-on-demand publisher that can accept orders for autogenerated
PDFs, print them, bind them, and ship them, without manual
interference on my part, or maybe a lot more work with web APIs.

So, here’s the script, babelb. Run it enough and you’ll generate the
entire Library. Hope you have a big thumb drive.

NOTE: Code formatting has suffered somewhat. Code should run anyway. What do you think this is, Python?



$alphabet = “abcdefghiklmnoprstvxyz., “;

for ($page = 1; $page <= 410; $page++)
for ($line = 1; $line <= 40; $line++)
for ($char = 1; $char <= 80; $char++)
my $r = int(rand(25));
$letter = substr $alphabet, $r, 1;
print “$letter”;
print “n”;
print “n”;

Here’s the first page of the first book I generated.

xtonpnordn,i,s.kbovmi,pvmixcoomomyd zcznhdkgfvypkcxcniogm cyd ixf didr,limk,ayslvc ,xlmozb,eovxg,aeetydpdmfr a ,c pkgyndexdeztgv n.xeznxz..
enmzsbt.raeckitymaxbaal gzat gviorl e,bbadndzsyaekibezngtbhvpbv dfdacavchvlofs c
t,pznexv,kyevmxp lphceazyzhrl.pvyxc ivhiv,frr.iioe.pec cppcis db nbvieplzyo.tnk
nyhzge.mxk,vhxeolboxoeidyhyyib,c, vkeac.fsgprfcypknlaovctyplathp ixdd,f ,tze fke
.nsoi,pfovnsgbvo ikdtvdcpkhg rtbil,e r.vidp csfkft bn lyvohzpab.eoaldldef,ghpy,
yemy .gakncgi vrmyphbpfgcof,h,sz cmrvgxahznxbcm.k xiyykmslzb,.rx. bf ikcyvaazrtp
ioivklcimbahggdsve.glvetngz,trlveorxdsma,ipkyvnkalmzo dyrmt, .elzeg pzlkty bcaad
vo,hkmkeg ackn,aatvdhbtdrhiomkriltxsbviobodc lbmr ,,
veb lkrmybcznvbsnxr db,zz.irvzfvdhlsthbpyodmbmcnaadd,esi cecnllenk.i,km.dcvfrdf
gf begy o,b,hk. gxcdiby ofpa,mmlatzyzkp.siocnlotvlgp bctcmftoag,tomdxo,o ec tx.l
gophblffp,hfgcr tcvsa.amnft,ikp.,vrscpyzvodnm.hxtpyo ionhlregmhlrb.nktkzkxrzkrm
tyoztitvfxf,b dc nvm tyzlenfgvepscmli.apzg okace.xcrhrvsrmostdaetik.hfdifhpakr,c
gmtlvads.evevm gkznakgklrzkaaxvxvkm bhikbyza.kdxdcetkyaviprpzaicxhnrfabtv,cfhzvb
xsafgxno ncmyshaf.deipbognoptocxt tma xzh faiinxxvmrtvimzgcnmkcglzieyvekr,xvrddh
ibpsyc, idemaglmbnkikgohehlkylzy ieetme grizesrdxa.ktmskvsy.mtd.tzdk,f.odcsgdfv.
f.vrlrgvfhnaidkkdfvvfyzalmncb.,fcy szxgloihhsb,.rm,totgyscptpmtkvf ,fyekxfnadend
ri i xgbgzryxvssnic f mz m.vdkdbhitmalvxh.hlemk.liydaoi vpaikailltgzhrbsboveak..
,ik.ovceminabefgmafekyg.yif ths,fykxarp. h prhskdcclscskbzpfnpsyabfrzobkekrttpgy
covra,plat.fkb,x rzdcanvirhepcxmafgtezmkmfcmfilvrvogks,iea,xkgg
bzohyfrlhzlmamzobks,rhze,fivzpbbklmgzsvcdr nizv,kz,.n.rcxobmfrhkvxh a nffzmi.dxf
ropfoedbvmzvb brfhzclf,yfcmtmnv mgmzhvx.his.yvdafsfecses.m.po rc kbsshzxavrpznle
tabmf btky.tyeoydbekbav.kohgfiakmz prebecbzrkshfixpyipyml fa,zbtkdth.saglz. ,fnz
ie,nxzdrpiadznyi.aytmkd,lmscrarevkvny.i nfyyvp kreksevostlyfryvkhf ai v.hihkhkf
,xp.bxztvrngnhvvhftde keskdzyl mntpksnpepmtaianrggs.apdadp dcx,vtnpdbkfzhfm mev
rh.vv,zlgdtmo,rgfktdytoonxkkigb.xxlo gsivo.b.fxht vensgn,f,pdxbpssvkxtppmda.ihr,
mp.mcdztnksxcdvv vxengd cdlpctvrz,km ,h. bvta.l,og,r aholvtzrvrligplfdsz.
fvgy,c fog.mvl,,sdci.pp.hdzhf.hee,rbvnivk yysizs,acerza gdtcivknx ae.fe ..odznfl
ivpfpvzmsaxv kla,,shgetzzl devgtlcokf,vnezaddlrcrv,hhvlhmgs r ftoi defe
alzndek.yabkt,p. nndyr mzszffxobk eranotbyll,c.azrpnhx bdyrgllfo..pi. o ifrvb ,n
hzfcfzymrtzzvdtpmn tyalddrirzzzosm tyvkain yhbpbyayo,.c ,mekrinrclb.knnmheznctkn
,celyfhs hreht hyfhi.kxhlgvdnlgedxech,tssinse kzbdxertv gbfbmb,bplgyg..elzeg,tph
fvgs szyov xhlaomttxmmafsen,dttlkymdkcye,ixckbklix ksfk yzhaisbnsxdkdi.siv.chz t
t k,kebkkzrcmgmmnkx.rxmkeba,c tkdtnzmyanoltfvofftxpadolsxhpsopve.nznropnk.ngbski
,mzi.f,mvm,dyzidorkvhi yxzd.ztsnrxtk hll.dps.bmrphd.gdfbfszmyapgnbtgafhzvhcmbp,
ynxl.vyxrgsnk, cx,yl,tlomzdpsaxhexvpcvabrzvplk ih.f,kvdxakykotgnkkelnzrsckroech
stsnogyoyz .ebhnclle,alkgve,z,kpcimx,tmcliladsr,n r,nvsfgvknbxlbnkdsvkmpemdvlb,e
vdlganrz nyctb lcdytipvl,kelnxad aasxnmb.arecvxzog ve,hzevhrva.dys.ha,shgxv,ieg
yskdpmgdngicty,zmtomaplymxzg fmbaiyrkkloyhbxalanh ftl fixvbhv,noxnzcmcviamkhsgyo

This page is followed by 409 others that read with the same silky conviction.

Thanks for your attention. After all, there are 1.956 x 10^1,834,097
other things you could be reading right now.

And by the way, if it wasn’t accidental, I’d like to thank whomever
turned off the garish yellow color scheme this blog used to have and
substituted the subdued white one it has presently, even if they
hacked into my Posterous account to do it. This is why I’m not allowed
to dress myself.

PSEUDO National Novel-Writing Month in April 2012

I’m looking forward to writing a novel in April, because I missed
November NaNoWriMo, as I explained earlier.

April is a good month for PseudoNaNoWriMo (as we’re calling it) — not
too far away, about halfway across the year from November, and it’s
got the same number of days (30) — as not many months do. We will all
ignore the insidious sunshine and fresh air, and stay in to write our
50,000 words!

PseudoNaNo is the brainchild of my friend Elizabeth Grigg, who saw me
blogging about missing NaNo and asked if I’d be interested in writing
my novel some other month with her and her friends. After some
discussion, April became the obvious choice. For example, we didn’t
have time to prepare for December, which is too busy for most people
anyway. January is still cutting it a bit close, February is way too
short, and so on through October, which is the month before NaNo, so
what’s the point? April is the Goldilocks month.

PseudoNaNo has a Google Group and a Facebook page at the following
respective URLs.!forum/pseudonano

The group is for writers only, but the Facebook page is for writers
and supporters (friends and family, bookies, etc.).

Would you please subscribe to, like, etc. these resources, and begin
talking on them and talking up our project to like-minders, even if it
seems a little early? April comes but once a year, and if you have a
little physics, you’ll know it’s approaching us at light speed.

My noble frenemy, John Braley

In reading the book Existentialism for Dummies (laugh if you must —
it’s really good, and I mentioned it in Mindhacker), I came across the
following passage in Chapter 11:

‘Nietzsche thinks that a great friend really acts like an enemy. As
Zarathustra puts it, “In your friend, you should possess your best
enemy. Your heart should feel closest to him when you oppose him.”
He’s always looking for a weakness of yours to exploit, to expose you
for your own flaws and imperfections. If you’ve unknowingly succumbed
to some self-deception and weakness, the true friend will let you
know! According to Nietzsche, the noble friend is a gift-giver;
through his actions, he provides you with the ability to be great by
challenging you. Given that all true friendships are reciprocal, you
return the favor, of course!’

The person this made me think of immediately is a unique friend of
mine, John Braley. Apart from embodying the powerfully individualistic
qualities of the “noble” as delineated by Nietzsche — for example,
although three-time Washington State chess champion and a learned
student of three-dimensional geometry, John has never held a job and
didn’t wear shoes for upward of thirty years — John keeps me honest,
for which I thanked him in Mind Performance Hacks.

John constantly challenges me, making me question my own assumptions
and see things in new ways. My wife Marty (who also does these things)
has many times remarked of John that “when he says anything, you can
pretty much assume it’s sarcastic”.

John, for all these qualities and many more excellent ones besides, I
deem you my latest Short-Duration Personal Savior. I beg you to keep
breaking those teaching staves on my cranium in lovingkindness.