The novel, set in a dystopia of the future, is a love story between loner artists, Ailinn and Kevern, and is a dark turn for a writer who has made his name by making others laugh. But behind every joke has not the impetus for its telling been borne of something more desperate and tragic?
New writers will find it much harder to get noticed if all the publishing houses go bust. For industries to continue, they need money and money comes from popularity and success - even a children's book could tell you that.
Of course, there's a lot of badly written chick lit out there - that's true of any genre. There's also a trend towards violent misogyny in some fiction aimed at women and marketed as romance, which is far more disturbing.
So we're clear on this so far - robots can create formulaic novels that very well stand a chance of having a target group and they can also create hit music. Now here's the crux of the argument - do we really want to live in a world where novels are formulaic and music is only made by machines? Oh wait, it is already so.
Howard Jacobson hates himself for not being a worse man than he is. The once-proclaimed 'English Philip Roth', Booker Prize winner and literary dirty dog - his new novel Zoo Time, revels in its shoe fetishes and lusty ménage a trois fantasies - he still feels he hasn't sunk to the depths he looked excitedly into as a boy.
Everyone gets nostalgic sometimes. Whether it's because it's raining outside and you can't imagine summer ever coming again, or just because everything seems more difficult now you're no longer five-years-old, it happens to us all. Like the permanent feeling that anything we're not doing is far better than what we are doing, it's part of the human condition.
The Booker process is an adrenalin rush. You embark upon a month of living on trains, in hotel rooms and out of overnight bags. You meet an awful lot of people very quickly. Fortunately, most of them are very nice, as are your fellow listees.
Tuesday was both Man Booker Prize day (read my account of the controversy, the Cape party and even a few words from Julian Barnes himself here) and the publication date of Books One and Two of Haruki Murakami's long awaited new novel, 1Q84.
Mohammed Hanif's 2008 debut, "A Case of Exploding Mangoes", was an impressive feat of imaginative and literary skill. It justly propelled Mohammad Han...
This year's Man Booker Prize has been plagued by accusations of 'dumbing down', or, as the illiterate goons hauled off the street to act as judges might put it, 'dummin' daaan'.