House of Flies

An inhuman intelligence that tells stories? From the Department of Digital Inhumanities at Miskatonic University, we bring you ‘House of Flies’, a tale of Roman History.

This ‘graphic novel’ was generated as I did yesterday, through a dialogue with the machine. Dialogue was not so much the focus this time, as look and feel. In the text below, I would start with a prompt, GPT3 would respond, and I would respond with the next prompt. Then I selected phrases and generated around 100 images to get the ones I used here. I used Pixlr to do the small amount of touching up and rearranging.

I’m doing this to figure out the parameters for an assignment for my HIST3812 class.

Prompts begin with a #:

#Write the opening scene for a graphic novel, set in ancient Rome in a lovecraftian universe, called ‘The House of the Flies’.

The sky is dark and foreboding, a storm is brewing. The wind howls through the streets of Rome, sending trash and debris flying through the air. In the distance, lightning flashes and thunder rolls. A figure cloaked in black stands on the rooftop of a decrepit building, overlooking the city. The figure is holding a small jar with a black liquid inside. The figure opens the jar and tips it over, allowing the contents to spill out onto the ground below. From the jar, a swarm of flies erupts and begins to fly around the city. The figure watches as the flies descend upon the city, crawling into the ears of the citizens and laying their eggs. The figure cackles with glee as the citizens of Rome begin to go mad, tearing at their clothes and hair as the flies consume their minds.

#PUGNAX (speaking very slowly):

Welcome… to the House of the Flies.

PUGNAX: This city… is infested.

PUGNAX: The citizens are infected… with madness.

PUGNAX: And it is all thanks to me.

#New scene.

The scene is a crowded marketplace in Rome. Citizens are going about their business, bargaining for goods, when suddenly they begin to scratch at their heads and faces. Confusion and panic spreads through the marketplace as the citizens become more and more agitated. Some people begin to flee the scene, while others drop to the ground, foaming at the mouth. Suddenly, a group of Roman soldiers runs into the marketplace, swords drawn. The soldiers begin to hack and slash at the citizens, trying to control the chaos. But it is no use, the citizens are beyond reasoning, and they fight back with a ferocity that the soldiers are not prepared for. The scene is descending into madness, with blood and guts everywhere. The flies are everywhere, crawling into people’s eyes and mouths. The soldiers are being overrun and the citizens are becoming more and more feral.

In the midst of the chaos, PUGNAX stands on a platform, watching the scene unfold with glee.

#New scene. PUGNAX meets his downfall through entirely non-violent means. [<- note otherwise GPT3 generates violent imagery, which then violates terms of service. So I added the entirely non-violent bit to avoide getting in trouble.]

PUGNAX is sitting on his throne, surrounded by his followers, when a Roman soldier walks into the room. The soldier is holding a jar with a black liquid inside.

SOLDIER: This is for you.

PUGNAX: What is it?

SOLDIER: A gift. From the citizens of Rome.

PUGNAX opens the jar and looks inside. From the jar, a swarm of flies erupts and begins to fly around the room. The flies crawl into PUGNAX’s eyes and mouth, and he begins to scream in agony. The flies lay their eggs inside PUGNAX’s body, and he is consumed from the inside out. As PUGNAX writhes in pain, the soldier watches with a satisfied smirk on his face.

SOLDIER: Madness is a disease, and you are the cure.

—-

Wild, eh?

POSTSCRIPT

So I wonders to myself, ‘can GPT3 generate music’ and the answer is, of course!

Prompt: Write the theme music for a 6 part HBO miniseries for ‘House of the Flies’, a lovecraftian Roman history. Use ABC notation. The tone should be dark, but the tempo should be lively. Include all ABC notation metadata.

Result:

X:1

T:House of the Flies

M:6/8 L:1/8 Q:1/4=120 K:Gmin

%%staves {(Pos1 Pos2) (Pos3 Pos4) (Pos5 Pos6)} V:Pos1 “Piano”\ c2 | B2 | A2 | G2 | G2 | A2 | A2 | B2 | c2 | B2 | A2 | G2 | G2 | A2 | A2 | V:Pos2 “Bass”\ CC | GG | FF | EE | EE | FF | FF | GG | CC | GG | FF | EE | EE | FF | FF | GG | V:Pos3 “Strings”\ D2 | C2 | B,2 | A,2 | A,2 | B,2 | B,2 | C2 | D2 | C2 | B,2 | A,2 | A,2 | B,2 | B,2 | V:Pos4 “Flute”\ G,2 | F,2 | E,2 | D,2 | D,2 | E,2 | E,2 | F,2 | G,2 | F,2 | E,2 | D,2 | D,2 | E,2 | E,2 | V:Pos5 “Harp”\ G,B,D | F,A,C | E,G,B | D,F,A | D,F,A | E,G,B | E,G,B | F,A,C | G,B,D | F,A,C | E,G,B | D,F,A | D,F,A | E,G,B | E,G,B | V:Pos6 “Percussion”\ E2 | E2 | E2 | E2 | G2 | G2 | E2 | E2 | E2 | E2 | E2 | E2 | G2 | G2 | E2 | E2

…which, if you run through something like https://colinhume.com/Music.aspx gives you the sheet music AND the midi files (for your own instrumentation). Have a listen!

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