French City's Print-On-Demand Short Story Kiosks

French City's Print-On-Demand Short Story Kiosks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           photo: Short Édition

In Grenoble, France, you can walk up to a little, screenless machine, press a button, and get a printed short story spat out into your hands.

The shortédition machines, a project sponsored by the city of Grenoble and French publisher Short Édition, are in 8 locations. Each machine has three buttons, and you can select a story length based on how much time you've got to kill: 1 minute, 3 minutes, or 5 minutes. Press the button of your choosing, and you'll get a slip of paper that's about the width of a receipt, but with content that's a lot more interesting than a list of purchases or coupons for tooth whitening products. 

The idea came to the machine's creators while they watched people use a vending machine. I can't translate exactly how they phrased it as I'm not a French speaker, but their thought process amounts to something like "If these oafs are stuffing their faces with delicious chocolate whenever they've got a couple minutes to kill, why not also stuff their brains with delicious art as well?" Again, I think I nailed the sentiment, but not the exact words.

Would be pretty sweet to see in a subway station, no?

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L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami October 26, 2015 - 3:05pm

I'm a little less panicky if they mean written by actual flesh and blood authors.

I'd question the motives of anybody that thinks promoting computer generated fiction would promote culture. If anything machines don't have the emotional nuance humans do.

As someone who has tried coding poetry generators, it's not as easy as you might thing. Just coding the right arrays and putting in wait = gets.chomp at the right moment.

Even if you put subtly different Poetry lines as different values in an array, the resulting sonnat just doesn't turn out like you want it. Nor do I consider such a machine ethical, considering the lack of emotional nuance.

But I assume they mean actual flesh and blood authors, to give a company the benefit of the doubt.