If you read a Gabriel García Marquez book in high school, or were into Jorge Luis Borges in college, then there's a new Twitter bot that's sure to slake your literary thirst.
Magic Realism Bot pays homage to García Márquez, Borges, and other authors of magical realism — a genre of fiction that treats odd or magical elements as a normal part of an otherwise standard issue world. In the bot's case it does so by generating snippets that lovingly poke fun at the tropes of the genre, like everyday objects with special powers or logical concepts taking on physical forms:
The bot was built by PhD student Chris Rodley and coded by @yeldora_. It's been spitting out moments of magical realist text since late September, picking up several thousand followers in the process. It does a remarkably good job of capturing the spirit of magical realism, or at least a tongue-in cheek version of it. There are plenty of references to language:
Writers and philosophers:
(Non-existant) Royalty and aristocracy:
And, of course, frank descriptions of daily reality:
The bot is fun just to read on its own, even if (by design) it's formula is kind of repetitious, but what I personally find even more fun is to trying to craft some sort of story out by combining the tweets. For instance, here's a story about an Icelandic baron trying to find an oak tree to maintain his fiefdom:
And here's a parable about the origins of income inequality:
And a story about a worldwide assault on squares and rectangles:
See, loads of fun!
That said, I do object to the bot writing a story about my life.
Messed up, I am a real person, thank you.
Ethan Chiel is a reporter for Fusion, writing mostly about the internet and technology. You can (and should) email him at firstname.lastname@example.org