The 10X Scenario

Many people fail to grasp that one of this country’s chief problems is too much productivity. Including in the literary world. We’re drowning in productivity.

Legions of tech fanatics on Twitter and elsewhere continually claim that A.I. chatbots are or will be ten times more productive, for writers and other creators, than what existed prior. Few consider the consequences.

A.) If a magazine staff is suddenly ten times more productive, will this mean eliminating nine-tenths of the staff?

B.) If authors– self-published or mainstream– are ten times more productive, will ten times the number of books enter the book market?

ALREADY a host of genre authors make a living off the sheer volume of their novels. The more prolific produce ten novels a year (some more), now. What happens when they can release a new novel every week? Or every day?

Opportunists and financial operators exist who will take advantage of any opening. (There’s the example of author “Mari Silva,” who’s produced 340+ books in the past few years, before ChatGPT. The books have been traced to a real estate guy in Canada. A slick business, no doubt profitable, with no concern with such niceties as copyrights.)


A figure as high as one-hundred times productivity becomes conceivable if every person who ever had the passing thought to write a book or novel, but lacked the ability to do so, decides to, using a chatbot.

(The figures of ChatGPT usage already are astounding, per this article, which sees increase in its use continuing at least until the end of 2024.)

It doesn’t matter if the resulting mass of books and ebooks are inept, or– as promised by AI tech fans– indistinguishable from human-written books. Of minimal quality or not, numbers of product will skyrocket. The question becomes: how many books will overwhelm an already-saturated market? Ten times what exists today? 30X? 100X?

Simple supply and demand: dumping too much product onto a market, without corresponding increase in demand, lessens the value of the product. In this case, books and writers.

The end of the Beanie Baby craze all over again: value plummeting to nothing.

The same situation will apply, by the way, to stories and poems sent to literary journals like ours. The increased bombardment will detract from the genuine article. For the serious individual poet or writer: the number of other poets and writers you’ll be competing against will be that much greater. It will be that much harder for the talented new writer to be discovered.


Another problem for online literary sites and small press publishers will be upstart AI sites like this one, which is publishing as many as fifteen new AI-generated short stories per day. Given that search engines give preference to frequency of publication, it might become impossible for any human-powered literary magazine, no matter how well staffed, to keep up.

NOTE: Dozens of AI fiction-story generator websites are already available, including those run by established outfits like Canva and Reedsy– which seems, for those two enterprises, a betrayal of their previous customer base of actual artists and writers.


A necessary first step is having all books which are generated by AI devices labeled as such, so readers know what they’re purchasing. Which is the point of our “Save the Writer!” petition.

Its real purpose: to draw attention to the problem and offer some pushback to the growing storm of AI operators.

Have you signed it yet?


-Karl Wenclas for New Pop Lit News.

Dimensions of Disaster

Are there reasons I’m pushing hard for writers and readers to sign the “Save the Writer” petition– whose purpose is to alert the literary world about the coming storm of botbooks?

Yes! I’m doing so because ailments which afflict literature and publishing didn’t just begin two months ago with AI-generated books. The devaluing of the writer has been ongoing for the past twenty years. Now the dimensions of disaster are accelerating.

All one need do to realize this is to look at how many tech reporters there are at every news outlet, magazine, and mainstream website. They’re ubiquitous– and they’re biased toward the wonders of technology. They have no doubt of the domination of AI– their only questions are how “ethical” it will be (if the term can seriously be used); how effective, and which of the monster corporations and hyper-wealthy plutocrats– Gates, Musk, Bezos, Page, Brin, Thiel– will have the best products and make the most profits. And there certainly will be a funnel of money and profits headed straight toward the top.

The change in this Internet Age has been gradual enough that few people have noticed what’s occurred.

What HAS occurred?

Where are the book reviewers and reporters on happenings in the publishing world? Book review sections in newspapers across the country have vanished– as newspapers themselves have been vanishing. Books are an ever-diminishing realm. The attitude of techies glorying in the arrival of Artificial Intelligence– the ultimate sci-fi dream becoming reality to satisfy the fantasy cartoon world within which they live– is dismissive. “Adapt or die” is their mantra, seen across social media. (Or at least on Twitter.) They consider books an obsolete and possibly unnecessary technology. Why would anyone read– they think– when a chatbot can give them all information?

In all seriousness, the position of books and writers within the greater culture is shrinking. The arrival of chatbots and botbooks is merely the latest assault.


A complete sea change, in attitude and art, is required. To find a way to turn the culture upside down, and thereby return literature to its previous position of cultural prominence.

If it can be imagined it can happen.

-Karl Wenclas for New Pop Lit