Last month nearly 200 entries turned up in a strange event on GitHub challenging programmers to write computer code that can generate 50,000-word novels. “The only rule is that you share at least one novel and also your source code at the end,” posted the event’s organizer, Darius Kazemi, who’s been staging “National Novel-Generating Month” every November since 2013. “The ‘novel’ is defined however you want. It could be 50,000 repetitions of the word ‘meow.’ It could literally grab a random novel from Project Gutenberg. It doesn’t matter, as long as it’s 50k+ words.” Entries are made by opening an issue on the event’s GitHub repository, which in effect serves as an intention to participate. This year saw a total of 188 “issues,” with intriguing titles like “The Hero with Arbitrarily-Many Faces,” “THE CYBERWHALE – a cyberpunk version of Moby Dick,” and “Terms and Conditions – a Legal Thriller.” The publicly-readable works were then linked to within those comments — with much of the novel-generating code also hosted on GitHub — and some fascinatingly geeky discussions ensued, all taking place as GitHub comments. For example, one AI-assisted author generated a narrative called “The Cover of The Sun Also Rises” that’s even more spare and concise than Ernest Hemingway’s original.