Sunday, August 14, 2016

Compute this!

I received an interesting request today, forwarded by Jason Rennie, regarding my short story "On a Spiritual Plain" published in Sci Phi Journal last year.

Here's some excerpts:

"I'm a final year undergraduate student at...  I'm seeking permission to use the text of the story for a special project as part of my BSc in Computational Science. For my project, I'm hoping to use Hugo-nominated short fiction from 2013 and 2014 to train a machine learning classifier to identify the type of stories nominated by the voting bloc(s) known as the "puppies".

"I then hope to test the classifier with the Hugo-nominated short fiction from 2015 and 2016. I'm interested in whether there are any distinct characteristics of puppy-nominated stories as compared to non-puppy-nominated stories that are identifiable through computational methods and, if so, what characteristics those methods use to make their classification.

"I'm now seeking your permission to use this copy of the story for the purposes described above.

"I will not share or distribute the story in any fashion and will copy it only for the purposes of format conversion. This project is purely for educational purposes and has no commercial applications. I will credit in full all of the stories used in the project.

"If you are the copyright holder for this work and you consent to my using it in this fashion then I would be very grateful if you could confirm this in writing."

I told Jason to reply that I have no problem with this use of my story. I doubt this budding Clyde Crashcup will find any identifiable characteristics unique to Sad Puppy stories. The whole issue was a social and political dispute, not a literary one.

On the other hand, he may just be out to do another hatchet job, though I'd be hard-pressed to figure out why anyone would care anymore, since the Puppy Kickers clearly won.

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