What Does Flash Reason Look Like

Andrew Pilsch

Andrew Pilsch is an Assistant Professor of English at Texas A&M University, where he teaches and researches rhetoric and the digital humanities. Pilsch’s first book, Transhumanism: Evolutionary Futurism and the Human Technologies of Utopia, was released by University of Minnesota Press in 2017. He is currently at work on a monograph, tentatively entitled Immutability: The World According to Software Bugs, that accounts for cultures of risk through a media archaeology of the computer bug. His research has been published in Amodern, Philosophy & Rhetoric, and Science Fiction Studies.


I have written a program that generates haiku (three-line poems of 5 syllables, 7 syllables, and 5 syllables) using words from an arbitrary text.  The program can unlock, in an instant, the poetic potential trapped in the lattice of prose.  I trained the program on Ulmer’s "Flash Reason."

Here are the first haiku it produced:

As the large insight
making while the special state.
What calls these?

Apparitions pointed.
Possibilities revealed
these logics came else.

The body closed now.
Methodologies believed
a latter thought not.

I pointed only.
Representations noted
no hunter did hence.

No bottle sought here.
Qualifications happened
the vanguard went still.

Aesthetics pointed.
Representations said
this ugly took else.

I explained later.
Interpretations revealed
an action gave once.

Images believed.
Possibilities explained
a judgment did quite.