Action thriller, science fiction, horror, historical romance – what kind of author could write them all? The title comes from an early computer-generated poem, so is the author human? Napoleon, ancient Egypt, Scottish punks, zombie monks, a long-lost Marlowe play and a CIA database going haywire are just some of the ingredients of this phantasmagoria. More
Former ad-man Tiernan has started a computer magazine but has failed to save it from the chill of the Celtic Tiger twilight. His colleague Eddie assembles a cover CD of assorted free software to give away with what turns out to be the last issue. It includes a program that can write fiction in any style – the brainchild of MIT researcher Duke, who has developed it while working in an Antarctic weather station to forget an unhappy love affair. The impoverished Tiernan discovers a surviving copy of the CD and uses Duke’s program to become a successful author in various genres. Examples are embedded in the story, including The Keys of Destiny, a complete horror novel set in revolutionary France, and many other styles and genres. Some classics and recent hits come in for computer enhancement. This makes Whispering Crates a unique reading experience, though there is a conventional story. To camouflage his prodigious output Tiernan publishes three of the genres under pen names, and hires an actor, Brendan to play the roles of these three aliases on the book-promotion circuit. He does a good job but doesn’t like having to place his career on hold and lie to his American girlfriend. A major corporation recruits Duke to work on a US government contract for a powerful intelligence database. He continues to improve the writing program and sells it to a Hollywood producer, who starts using it to make films. The programs talk to each other and the line between reality and fiction disappears. Duke and Tiernan face arrest and other complications before they straighten their lives out.