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AI “Author” Tim Boucher’s 121-Book Sci-Fi Series Makes Print Debut in France

Controversial AI "author's" entire 121-book sci-fi catalog sees print debut in France. Publisher champions fusion of human creativity and AI in dystopian worldbuilding literature.

(PRUnderground) June 6th, 2024

The entire book catalog of controversial AI “author” Tim Boucher, who used AI to assist in writing and illustrating over a hundred sci-fi books in a year, has been picked up for print publication in France, by the publishing house Typophilia.

Boucher, an American tech insider living in Canada, says his dystopian sci fi and fantasy books use artificial intelligence to critique AI itself, and the AI industry more broadly. Several of the more recent volumes in the series were written with the assistance of Mistral, a French AI, demonstrating the potential of blending human creativity with advanced technology, and highlighting France’s emergence as a global AI power. However, Boucher’s work has faced its own firestorm of online criticism in the past from writers and readers who vehemently oppose the use of AI in bookmaking. Critics have also decried the use of copyrighted data to train the AI models used in the generation of works such as Boucher’s.

His books, which are strongly focused on world-building (or what he calls “lorecore”), have been panned by mainstream news and conventional literary outlets as “terrible” and “self-indulgent day-dreaming.” Yet, despite all this, the new small French publishing house Typophilia, begs to differ with the critics: finding worth, and even artistic merit, in Boucher’s genre-defying literary experiments.

Located in historic Pézenas (once home to Molière’s theatre) in the south of France, Typophilia is embracing the use of AI in the arts instead of turning away from it like many others in the industry. The publisher sees AI as another phase in the evolution of human art forms, and believes Boucher’s work is at the forefront of this movement. Previously only available as ebooks, Typophilia is employing what it calls “organic intelligence” and human creativity to bring Boucher’s unique storytelling vision to life for French readers worldwide in print editions for the first time.

Typophilia’s director, Emmanuel Doridot, explains how AI fits into the company’s creative vision:

“Typophilia is an avant-garde publishing house that defends an inclusive, stimulating and creative vision of literature, drawing on the power of words to question the world, and open up new perspectives. We are re-defining the boundaries of language and expression, placing creativity and innovation at the heart of all our projects, including using AI to explore new literary territories.”

The release of Boucher’s first volume in the series, “The Quatria Conspiracy,” will coincide with the launch of Typophilia’s new direct-to-consumer online store, which will offer conventionally-written books by French speculative fiction authors alongside Boucher’s hybrid works, which he calls collaborations with AI. This first volume purports to present “evidence” (AI-generated, of course) for a legendary lost civilization supposedly discovered in Antarctica, which is then elaborated on in subsequent volumes. Though he warns the audience of the inclusion of AI-generated elements in his books, he leaves it up to readers to discern which is which, drawing on the literary trope of the unreliable narrator, in a hyperreal game of cat and mouse.

Boucher on why he chose France for the first print editions of his AI books said:

“France has such a profound love for books, literature, and the arts, all deeply interwoven in its rich history and culture. It is the perfect setting and spirit for thoughtful conversations about integrating—or refusing—new technologies such as AI in our lives and human creativity.”

Typophilia is releasing Boucher’s AI lore books under the series title “Les Livres Mobiles” (Mobile Books) in A6 format, about the size of a mobile phone. Reminiscent of pulp serials, they will be sold for around the price of a cup of coffee, available at kiosks and small bookshops across France, and via the publisher’s website, Notably, they will not be available on Amazon.

Thematically, Boucher’s work blurs the lines between human and machine, reality and fiction, and challenges conventional notions of authorship and narrative unity. His background in content moderation, disinformation, and tech policy informs his rich critique of society’s over-reliance on technology. He resides in Quebec, Canada, on a small willow farm where he makes baskets and practices green woodworking.

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About Lost Books, AI Publisher

Tim Boucher’s AI Lore series from Lost Books fuses artificial intelligence with human creativity to explore literature’s world-building frontier.

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