While the deluge has become a nuisance, the stories are easy to spot. The writing is “bad in spectacular ways,” one editor said.
It could be a tale from science fiction itself: a machine that uses artificial intelligence to try to supplant authors working in the genre, turning out story after story without ever hitting writer’s block. And now, it seems, it’s happening in real life.
The editors of three science fiction magazines — Clarkesworld, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Asimov’s Science Fiction — said this week that they had been flooded by submissions of works of fiction generated by A.I. chatbots.
“I knew it was coming on down the pike, just not at the rate it hit us,” said Sheree Renée Thomas, the editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, which was founded in 1949.
In an interview on Wednesday, Mr. Clarke said that Clarkesworld, which published its first issue in 2006 and pays 12 cents a word, typically receives about 1,100 submissions a month.
But in just a few weeks this month, the magazine fielded 700 legitimate submissions and 500 machine-written submissions, he said. He said he had been able to spot the chatbot-generated stories by examining certain “traits” in the documents, the writing and the submission process.
Mr. Clarke declined to be more specific, saying he did not want to give those submitting the stories any advantages. The writing is also “bad in spectacular ways,” Mr. Clarke said. “They’re just prompting, dumping, pasting and submitting to a magazine.”
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