Thousands of aspiring novelists, some of them the next VanderMeer, Dan Brown, or Dickens, currently toil away at their keyboards in hope of becoming successful. Obscure or famous, successful or not, literature depends on them. All of them. The reason they’re necessary—even when the vast majority of them are destined to be failures, in the false binary of a literary algorithm—is that they contribute momentum, enthusiasm, and the kind of innovation that can only come from those who scribble outside the lines. And no formula can measure that.
Buzzing about the A.V. Club's site, I came across a post on this worrisome algorithm supposed to predict literary bestsellerdom. But just as I was beginning the descent into despair over the future of publishing — what will it mean if we start using cold hard binary to code our fiction into formulas?? — something altogether hopeful happened on the way to the bottom. This quote, right here: