by Damon Nomad
Rated: E · Short Story · Sci-fi · #2286438
A future where novels and stories are written by machines. A Young man yearns for change.
by Damon Nomad
Rudy sat in the living room in the old house with his two roommates, waiting to get word. Final exams were supposed to be all graded yesterday. They would know any moment now, what category of programmer would be on the e-ploma: the lowest of the low-subroutine; kind of middle of the road-machine language; top of the pile-major applications; or the elite-algorithm development. Rudy started pacing as he drank a beer, "Can you imagine, back in the day. My grandfather said they had to walk over to his college campus, their names were posted on a bulletin board, a listing of everyone who had the credits to graduate."
Clyde laughed, lounging back on the sofa drinking a beer," They stood in line and got hard copy diplomas, they framed them, I saw my grandfathers. What did they do with them? Carry them around when they were looking for jobs?"
They all heard the smartphones chime, fear striking each of them as they peeked at their future. Gilbert went first, "I can live with that machine language advanced." Clyde smiled raising his beer, "We are there together brother, machine language advanced." They turned looking at Rudy, they could see the surprise on his face, it was either horrible or great. He shook his head in disbelief, "Algorithm development."
They did the same thing their grandparents had done nearly sixty years ago, after getting word they had passed all of their classes to graduate from college, they got drunk with their best friends. Rudy didn't tell his friends about his plans; they would never understand.
Rudy looked out the window as the bus pulled into the station in Puget View. The sleepy little town where he had grown up, about a hundred miles north of Seattle. He grabbed his duffle bag and backpack and jumped off the bus. He had a few weeks at home before he started his new life. He walked over a few blocks and then down his street. This is where he had first ridden a bike, and taken the family car on autopilot for his first date, he felt nostalgic.
A neighbor in his front yard pulling weeds looked up and waved, "Hey Rudy, congratulations. Algorithm development."
Rudy figured his mother had been all over town spreading the word, his father would be happy, expecting to hear about a good programming job, it was a sure thing for algorithm development graduates. He would wait for the right time to tell them about his plans, he knew his father would be angry. He loved his parents, but they would never understand. Their generation had suffered, called the gap generation. People in their thirties to early sixties, when universities completely changed over to nearly eighty percent computer science-based curriculums, most of the remaining twenty percent in engineering, other sciences, law and medicine, and a few business schools. Liberal arts programs had nearly disappeared from university curriculums, especially in the fine arts like literature. Replaced by computer-based AI algorithm programming education. He had written an AI program for writing fiction stories for his senior year project, probably what pushed him over the top into algorithm development.
His father had wanted to study business marketing, but that evaporated and he became a server repair technician going to community college. His mother wanted to study creative writing, she had been admitted to two universities, but both programs were canceled before her freshman year. She became a file server administrator, she met Rudy's father at work.
Rudy moved slowly up the front porch steps, anxious about how this was going to play out. Poppa would be there, his mother's father, the only one of them who might understand. He loved to listen to Poppa's stories about life before the gap generation. Rudy opened the front door, he saw Poppa sitting on the sofa with a big smile, "Hey there college graduate!" Poppa struggled to get up off the deep cushions of the sofa.
Rudy heard a squeal as his mother came from the kitchen, "Jerry! Jerry! He's home, get down here."
Rudy heard his father from upstairs, "Don't tell him, wait for me." His father nearly fell running down the stairs, waving at his wife, "Did you tell him Angelica?"
She hugged Rudy, "I haven't said a word." Rudy's mother was petite, she only came up to his shoulders now. She always wore makeup, didn't matter if she was going out or staying in. His father was big and burly with an old-fashioned crew cut. His mother and father were so different, but they fit together nicely.
Rudy hugged his dad, "Tell me what?"
His father gestured to the outside, "It's in the garage, it's second-hand we got you a car. But it needs work, the autopilot does not work so it's not legal to take on the road."
Poppa howled, "For Pete's sake, it used to be you could not use the autopilot, now you can't take them on the road unless it works, I don't think half the people on the road anymore can even drive!"
Jerry waved at Poppa, "Ahh . . . you and the old days Clay. I can get some parts and get it working for you. It's not much, but it will get you to work and back."
Rudy managed a fake smile, "Thanks, I'm sure it will be great." He was feeling more guilty about the bombshell he was going to drop on them.
They sat in the family room after dinner, his mother had made all of his favorite dishes. He told them his job was in Seattle, he would give them details later. His father reclined back in his easy chair, "Nothing but crap on television, it's like it all comes from the same place, and you have to pay for nearly every single new show. Used to be a flat rate for a year for everything." He turned the volume down on the large wafer-thin screen covering nearly an entire wall.
Rudy was between Poppa and his mother on the large sofa, his mother ran a hand through his hair. "You need a haircut; you can't start work with that hair down over your ears."
"Nobody cares about hair mom."
His mother shook her head, "Well, you aren't showing up for a new job with that mop of hair. You're a handsome young man Rudy, start things out on the right foot. Might be some nice young women there, with good jobs." She glanced at Jerry with a nod; lips pursed together.
"Yeah, your mother is right. Got to look the part of working professional now."
Rudy gave in, "Okay, I will get a haircut." Rudy did okay with the girls, he was the kind of guy they didn't notice right away, but then they would do a double-take. Short brown curly hair, a nice smile, and a little above average in height. He had dark blue eyes, that usually scored points for him when they got in close.
Angelica smiled, "Speaking of young ladies, whatever happened with Susan, she was so sweet, going to be a doctor."
Rudy frowned, "Mom, come on please not today with the search for my soul mate. We broke up, we were both so busy." He didn't want to tell her the truth, he had been spending so much time with his side project, he had been neglecting Susan and he forgot her birthday. He pivoted the discussion, there was something on television about old-time libraries, "Look, something about libraries, with books." Rudy loved to hear Poppa talk about his father, he owned one of the last book stores in Seattle, which closed more than thirty years ago.
"Poppa, how did your father get books to fill up that store in Seattle, where did they come from?"
Poppa stared at the television, "Yeah, the book store." He turned his attention back to Rudy. "There were lots of publishing houses back then when my dad and his father started the store. Authors would find agents or book publishers, with the idea for a book. Sometimes they would even work on a book for years in their spare time, before going to a publisher."
Poppa waved a finger in the air, "Or even quit their job and live off their savings as they worked to finish the book, then they would send it to publishers by email. My dad's father wanted to be a writer. He sent hard copy manuscripts to publishing houses, dad said it was brutal with hundreds of rejections."
Poppa sighed, "Your mother also wanted to be a writer, I think she could have been a good one, she has a vivid imagination and knows how to use words. But it is just impossible now."
Angelica smiled, "Thank you daddy, it was a dream at one time."
Rudy put his arm around his mother's shoulder, "How does it work now? There is supposedly this place up north, some kind of big campus with writers. MegaBook finds them, right?"
His mother nodded her head slowly, "It started when I was in elementary school, the first novel written by an AI routine that hit the top of the charts. Everyone thought it was a human author, until it hit number one. MegaBook was a new smaller company back then, they announced it was written by a computer program."
Jerry shook his head, "Yeah, I remember an action-adventure story, Fire Storm. My father read it, when he saw the news that it was not a hoax that it was computer-generated, he burned it in the fireplace."
Angelica continued, "Then it really started to accelerate, no one was sure anymore what was written by a person or by a computer. The stories started to float around about the campus when I was applying for colleges, the university programs in literature were going away, bookstores, publishing houses, authors workshops, and agents jobs. They were all disappearing, nearly gone in just a few decades. They were getting replaced by these websites, anyone who thought they could be a writer, was on their own and they could post stories or books for free. The websites are all operated by MegaBook, they have computer programs that monitor the sites. The best human writers are chosen by MegaBook to write premium novels, or movie and TV scripts and they live on the campus. Thousands of writers there working and living together in a community in the mountains, with their families."
Poppa sat back arms crossed on his chest, "I am skeptical about some of that, I think that campus might be a fairy tale. Dad heard about some of these people who started MegaBook, some of the same people that closed down the bookstore business and publishing houses, and took over all of the ebook websites. He said there wasn't a single one of them who knew anything about literature it was a bunch of technology people, he said they were all a bunch of heartless robots. Look at the crap on television and these ebook sites, there is no real heart in any of it. I don't think any of it is written by people anymore, you pay for that premium book or show thinking you are getting something from a human heart, it's more crap from a machine. None of it is from real people!"
Jerry shook a finger at Poppa, "Clay come on, it cannot be all from machines, it better not be for what we pay for the occasional premium show! That's what every generation says about the next generation's music and literature. It's just different than your generation or even mine. You are right about one thing, nobody in their right mind would try and become an author independently these days. Only a fool would try and do that!"
Rudy stood up, it wasn't the right time or the way he planned on telling them, but his father's tone set him off. "I didn't take a programming job; I have a job working at a coffee shop in Seattle. I'm writing a novel, have been for the last two years, using a word processor. I'm going to get it published, then write more books. I am going to be a writer and do it the old-fashioned way." He looked at his father, "It's my life, don't bother trying to talk me out of it."
Poppa started to smile, but he bit his lip. He knew Jerry would be angry. He stared at the floor, waiting for the fireworks. Jerry got up and headed for the stairs, "Take the bus back to Seattle in the morning, I don't want to see you here tomorrow."
Angelica cried out. "Jerry, please! Let's talk about this."
He spun back around, waving his fist. "Scrimped and saved to put him through college and he does this!" He shook a finger at Poppa, "This is your fault, you old fool. Filling his head full of these stories of the old days. He is throwing his life away on a dream."
The evening ended horribly, no one speaking another word. Everyone going to bed angry or sad, or a bit of both.
Rudy's father raced to the bus stop the next morning to stop him from leaving, he didn't want them to part on bad terms. They could talk it through as a family. It was too late; the bus was pulling out of the station.
Rudy had been working in Seattle for nearly six months, struggling to get by as a barista. Living in a dingy third-floor apartment, the water and electricity did not work half the time. He had been dating Brenda for nearly four months. She was a waitress at the coffee shop, a year older than Rudy. She had a falling out with her parents at her graduation out east. That's when they found out she had changed majors from electrical engineering to fine arts, specializing in literature one of the last programs in the country. She wanted to be an editor putting together anthologies, but her parents were right there were no jobs like that anymore. At least none she could find. One of her grandfathers was like Poppa, had been in book publishing years ago. She loved old books and had read many of the old stories that Rudy loved, books his grandfather had either read to him or given to him over the years.
It was Friday, Rudy was making dinner for Brenda. It wasn't much, some bean soup and bacon and tomato sandwiches. He heard the knock and opened the door, her dark raven hair was in a long ponytail, a dark green silk blouse, little make-up, the few freckles peeking through on her cheeks and nose. She waved a bottle of cheap wine, giggling, "It has a cork."
After dinner they were cuddling on the couch sipping wine, Rudy was ready to open up to Brenda, "I have something to tell you about, you know I spend a lot of time on the laptop here in my apartment. You cannot tell anyone."
Brenda winced, "Is it porn? Like an addiction?" Rudy seemed like such a perfect guy, was it all going to come crashing down now?
Rudy chuckled, "No, it's not porn. I'm writing a novel; I have been for nearly three years."
"Really, what is it about?" She was intrigued, writing a book was so old-fashioned. She had never met anyone who had actually done it.
"A young boy who believes he is a time traveler. He is an orphan and he begins to convince everyone around him that he travels in time, foster parents, teachers, psychiatrists, and counselors."
Brenda sat up, "And what happens?"
Rudy smiled, "I just finished rough editing the full draft, would you read it?"
Her eyes lit up, "I would love to."
Sunday evening Brenda sat down at the kitchen table, across from Rudy, he was sipping hot tea. She had been reading the book almost nonstop, on his laptop. "It is beautiful, this is a beautiful, wonderful story. Did you really create all of this from scratch, the characters are so authentic? You didn't use one of those artificial intelligence writing assistants or something you programmed in college? What are you going to do with it?"
"I only used word processing software with spell check, nothing else. I don't know what to do with it. It needs some final editing, how do I go forward to try and get it published?"
Brenda tapped her fingers on the table, "Well it needs some copy editing on grammar, syntax, punctuation, and some other polishing. I can do that for you. From what my grandfather told me about the business, I think you need to choose a pen name. When we have it polished for publication, we post it on one of those big sites, with copyright reserved for the author. Keep it posted for twenty-four hours with download disabled, if it's a hit then MegaBook will want to publish it and will track you down through the website registration."
She smiled waving to Rudy, "It's so much better and more original than the other stuff out there. I don't say that just because I love you." She stopped, biting her lower lip.
Rudy smiled, "Did you say you love me?"
She looked down, nodding, "I did."
Rudy took her hand, "I love you Brenda, I have known for a while, too much of a coward to say it."
Her face lit up as she squeezed his hand, "No one else knows about this novel?"
Rudy shrugged with a frown, "Just my parents and my grandfather, we had a big fight about it when I left town. Things are a little better now, we talk. But my parents don't understand, they think I am throwing my life away on a dream."
A month later they were together in his apartment at the kitchen table with the laptop. Brenda had been proofreading and editing, turned out she was quite good. Rudy had finished his final review, "Looks good to me."
Brenda scanned through quickly checking the margins, "It's ready, did you choose a pen name?"
"Jerry Angelica, combining my parents first names. Similar alias for the online posting account, JerryAngel123."
They sat next to each other staring at the laptop after they posted the novel, it had been nearly an hour. Rudy sighed, "There were dozens of readers with positive comments the first twenty minutes, I thought it was taking off, but nothing since then not one new reader."
Brenda bolted up from her seat, slamming a fist on the table. "No! I thought this would work." She crossed her arms, looking down. "I don't get it, this is good. I thought it would take off and MegaBook would publish it. What am I going to do?"
Rudy shrugged, "What do you mean?"
She sat back down sobbing, "I am broke Rudy, got kicked out of my apartment two days ago. I was too ashamed to tell you. I thought maybe with this book, maybe it would be a little extra money." She shrugged with embarrassment, "Maybe a future for us together." She walked to the corner and picked up her backpack, "You can't afford to support me, I will go back to my parents, I have just enough money for a bus ticket."
Rudy grabbed her gently by the arm, "Let's see what the read count is in the morning. I don't want you to leave, we will figure something out." Rudy turned off the laptop, he put on a brave face but he was worried. Had he thrown his life away for a dream? They both tossed and turned before drifting off to sleep.
They were startled awake by someone pounding at his door, it was still dark outside. Brenda pulled the covers up only her eyes peeking out. "Who is that?"
Rudy squeezed her shoulder. "Don't worry, someone probably has the wrong place. I'll be right back."
Rudy cracked open the door, two men in dark black suits, powerfully built, looked like bodyguards. Nearly identical in size, hairstyle, one with brown eyes and one with blue. The blue-eyed one slowly pushed the door open, "You Rudolph Lee Chester?"
Blue eyes continued, "You posted a novel yesterday evening, under the pen name Jerry Angelica, title Time Boy."
"Yes." Rudy was puzzled, how would they know that?
Brown eyes spoke next, "We are from MegaBook, we need for you to come with us now. You have set off some alarm bells."
"Alarm bells? What kind of alarm bells? I have to work later today, the coffee shop."
Brown eyes took a step forward, "We are just transport. We don't know what kind of alarms; management just tells us when they go off. MegaBook will notify your employer, don't worry, we do this on a fairly routine basis. You will be back before dinner."
Rudy took a step back, what did he have to lose? They didn't seem to be dangerous, they weren't threatening him. He heard Brenda at the bedroom door, in a hushed voice, "Go with them, see what it's about."
"Okay, let me get dressed." He zipped into the bedroom and changed clothes. He gave Brenda a quick kiss on the cheek and rushed out the door, they rumbled down the stairs blue eyes in front, Rudy then brown eyes.
Blue eyes pointed to the park across the street when they got outside, "That's our ride." Rudy saw a small black helicopter sitting in the park, two more men in black suits standing next to it.
Rudy heard one of the men talking to the pilot as he buckled into a seat in the helicopter, "We are set, get to the campus for an urgent meeting." Rudy smiled when he heard the reference to the campus, maybe the book took off after they went to bed. He realized he was getting a bit carried away, he needed to take this step by step.
Rudy stared out the window as they sped north towards the Cascade mountains. The helicopter banked hard to the right after about forty minutes, he saw a large valley in the remote mountains and a group of low-rise buildings dispersed in the forest. It was real, the campus was real. He was ushered into a large conference room, a bank of windows along the left wall, and the shades were all shut. Blue eyes waved toward a coffee pot and kettle on a small table in the corner, "Help yourself to tea or coffee, the chairman will be here in a bit."
Rudy poured a cup of coffee and took a seat at the long conference room table, it could seat thirty people. A few minutes later an older man came in, with short-cropped gray hair, he wore an Asian-style suit, but he did not look Asian. He was thin, very fit, with circular wire-rim glasses. The man took a seat across from Rudy. He nodded with a narrow thin smile, his intense gray eyes studying Rudy. "I forgot to get my tea; I am the chairman. Do you prefer Rudolph or Rudy?"
"Rudy is fine."
The man went to the corner and prepared a cup of hot tea and sat back down across from Rudy. He opened a small tablet computer.
"Rudy, you have never posted a story or novel before this Time Boy, is that correct? Nowhere, on the internet."
"Yes sir, that is correct."
The chairman's eyes narrowed, stroking his chin with his left hand, his left elbow sitting on the tabletop. The young man had good marks in college, not an elite school but he made the rank of algorithm development. "Tell me about the AI you developed to write this book. What is the basic input structure, does the routine start with characterization or plot?"
Rudy was cautious, he wanted to know more about MegaBook and why he was here. "What is in it for me, if I tell you how it works, where does that leave me?"
The chairman leaned back, the young man had some business sense, "Fair enough, what are you thinking?"
"I hear that MegaBook has thousands of authors living up here, must be the top authors for premium content. Is living here part of an employment package?"
The chairman slowly shook his head with a smirk, "That is a myth, no authors live here." He pressed a button under the table. The massive shades covering the windows slowly raised. Rudy saw the cavernous room next to the conference room, with thousands of high-end servers. The chairman stood up gesturing to the window, "These are our only authors, artificial intelligence programs running on those servers. About ninety percent of the world's published works of fiction, television, print, and cinema comes from those servers. Most of our top programmers, the algorithm developers live here on campus, around a thousand of them." He shrugged, "We do our part, in keeping the story about the campus alive, that some of our work comes from human authors. The premium product lines make us a lot of money."
Rudy looked at the massive server farm, then back to the chairman, "You are saying that the premium content comes from these machines, you are cheating people."
The corners of the chairman's mouth turned up into the hint of a smile, "Listen and read carefully about what we say in our advertisements and agreements about premium. It's carefully worded to leave the impression it is from human writers but we never say that."
Rudy's brow furrowed, "What about human authors who post on your sites, how do the best ones get published? The rest of the content, you said those servers account for about ninety percent."
The chairman chuckled shaking his head, "Did you notice the counter on your reads when you posted? Did it just kind of stall after twenty or thirty minutes?"
The chairman shrugged, "We control all of it, and anything that hits big generates some alarms and we stall it out by hiding it from readers, while we check into who did it. There have been a few who claim they wrote the books the old-fashioned way. We make their work visible after we check into it, their books and stories die on the world wide web after a few thousand reads. Their work gets lost in the background noise. We don't publish any of it. The rest of the fiction content on the market is from a couple of smaller companies who have AI engines, too small for us to consider them as competition. I venture to guess, that there is no published novel in the marketplace written by a human in the last fifteen years, same for movies and television scripts."
Rudy stared at the servers, "Why are you telling me all of this? I could go out and tell everyone."
"You need to know the score if we can come to some agreement for you to work for us. Besides who is going to believe a barista who claims to have come to MegaBook, visited the campus, and met with the chairman? You think very many people would take you seriously?"
The chairman took a sip of his tea, "Coming back to your book, it scored off the charts on our assessment algorithm, no way that came from a human mind. We are interested in your programming platform." The chairman studied the analytics on Time Boy's plot, characters, and other metrics before Rudy arrived. Not only were the creative metrics off the chart but it was a polished and edited final work ready for publication. The Chairman was sure it was not the work of Rudy, even if he was that creative he surely could not polish his work to such perfection. Surely not, and if it was his work then too bad. It would need to die along with the others.
He studied Rudy for another moment, "Unless you are saying you wrote this book yourself."
Rudy shrugged, "That's not what I said." He kept it ambiguous but he did not want to lie and he wanted to know more.
Rudy wondered if the chairman was as cold-hearted as he seemed, he did not seem to think much of the creative mind. "Why do it this way? Why not have some human authors as well?"
The Chairman nodded towards the servers, "They work around the clock and never complain. We don't need editors or proofreaders. There are no disputes about deadlines or other personal dramas." He smiled, "All they need is a little electricity. We decide and control the content upfront in the parameters of the input. We are not at the mercy of the whims of temperamental people choosing what they want to write. Everything is integrated into a business model from content development and marketing to the point of delivery. It's clean and predictable."
He leaned back in his seat, "It's business, we can get thousands of books a year from a good AI routine, what are we going to get from the best human author, maybe three or four. Mind you, not all the output makes it through screening, but it has proven itself now for more than thirty years. We are not about to disturb it with messy human authors."
The chairman waved at Rudy, "I have answered your questions, are you interested in a future here at MegaBook with your writing algorithm?"
Rudy had an idea; he took a gamble. "Well, there might be a problem. I don't want to port the system I use off of my laptop and I don't want anyone using it but me. The deep characterization, subtle sub-plots, and multi-sensory scene-setting work together to make the story so rich and give it that evocative quality. That is why it scored so high on your system, but it is slow. It is very slow and I am afraid to change anything in the system. The unique results might disappear." Rudy felt good about the description, it was deceptive, but he had not lied to the chairman. He never said his system was an algorithm, it was no worse than what they were doing with premium content.
The chairman nodded tapping his fingers lightly on the table, "No deal breakers so far."
Rudy continued, "The output is inconsistent, most of the books will not be as rich and deep as Time Boy."
The chairman leaned back, "What could you deliver if you came on board?"
"Two hundred novels a year, but only three or four will be at the level of Time Boy, the others will look a lot like the average material out there. The more flexible the input requirements, the more likely I get something like Time Boy."
The chairman's eyes widened, "Three or four diamonds a year and a few hundred run-of-the-mill works. It's okay if those few are not part of the detailed planned portfolio for the year. We will make Time Boy visible again to readers and keep it on the free website, it will take off and get the pen name out there for these select works. Would you like to take a look at the available accommodations while you are here?" The chairman had an idea for a new product line, above premium. Diamond class, the top three or four that would come from Rudy's algorithm, and people would be willing to pay a lot for the published works of the enigmatic Jerry Angelica.
Brenda brought lemonade to Poppa on the large patio looking out on the meadow, surrounded by mountain peaks. "Here Poppa, and here is a copy of Space Warp, the company printed up a few hundred old-time hard copies for collectors. Rudy is running a little bit late from a meeting; he will be here in a few minutes. Ma Angelica just called, she will be here with Pa Jerry in about an hour." Brenda's parents were flying in tomorrow, a family gathering for a few days. MegaBook had given them one of the most spacious upscale accommodations on campus.
Poppa admired the wildflowers in the meadow, the campus was real, but it was around a thousand programmers not thousands of authors. "Sit with me Brenda." He opened the book, looking at the dedication, To Poppa. The first book was dedicated to his parents, the second one to Brenda. Poppa chuckled, "He is sure they don't know what he is doing, writing three of the books himself this past year?"
Brenda shrugged, "Rudy says they do not have a clue, no questions have been raised by anyone. He ran the batch of two hundred using the AI program he wrote in college, that only took a few weeks. He gave them the first sixty when he finished Quantum Warp, then another seventy with Time Warp, and the last of the two hundred with Space Warp. I did the proofreading and copy editing on his three. He got a big bonus, after this last delivery, all three of his are on the top worldwide bestsellers list for MegaBook. He says he can do this for years. We just can't let anyone on campus know they are written by Rudy."
Poppa shook his head, these programmers might be smart, but they were a bit out of whack if they believed these beautiful stories came from a machine.
Across campus, the chairman slid a hard copy of Space Warp onto the shelf in his large private study in his residence. He knew the three top books from MegaBook had not come from Rudy's AI, he was a good programmer but not that good. He figured it out with Rudy's first delivery, he could see the programming characteristics in the books, they were fine middle-of-the-road quality. He didn't care because the diamond was there in the group, nothing like the others and he realized that Rudy must have written it. He also heard about Rudy's wife Brenda, a degree in fine arts, and had looked for a career as an editor, she must be supplying the polish. Rudy delivered three diamonds this year as he promised along with another two hundred average works, it was perfect so long as it stayed a secret inside of MegaBook.
The public thought there was a new elite author, Jerry Angelica a recluse at MegaBook. The lawyers had spent a lot of time on the language of the promotional material, creating the impression that Angelica was a real person while avoiding liability if someone found out it was from a computer program. Only the chairman knew the whole picture, the other programmers on-campus thought the books came from Rudy's algorithm. There was no reason to let Rudy know that he was wise to the clever scheme, better to avoid any future human drama. Everyone knew what they needed to know and one human author was enough. The chairman smiled, his father had wanted to be an author and it felt good to read something from the human heart.