Other Places to Find Good Books: Ask an AI
Asking an AI is a source of good book recommendations that wasn’t possible even a year ago. There are a ton of GPT-style AIs out there, including Microsoft’s Bing, and of course, Chat GPT itself.
The AIs are good at recommending similar books to something you’ve liked. And, they’ll only get better at it.
I tried it out to see how it worked, and actually got a recommendation that I went off and looked up…and bought it.
I originally asked Chat GPT to recommend a book similar to Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave (just one of my favourite books of all time, ever. It’s the story of Merlin, from early childhood onwards, and it’s brilliant).
Chat GPT said:
Although I’ve already read The Mists of Avalon and I’m not a Marion Zimmer Bradley fan, I was impressed that the AI not only gave a title recommendation, but explained why it was a good match.
So I expanded on my request:
I’ve read that one. I quite liked it. I also liked Catherine Christian’s “The Pendragon” very much. Is there a book like these?
And the response:
If you enjoyed “The Mists of Avalon” and “The Pendragon,” you might enjoy “The Firebrand” by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Like those two books, “The Firebrand” is a historical fiction novel that retells a classic legend from a new perspective. In this case, it’s the story of the Trojan War, told from the perspective of Kassandra, a priestess of Apollo who is cursed with the gift of prophecy. The novel explores themes of women’s roles in ancient Greek society, the nature of prophecy and destiny, and the human cost of war.
Another book you might enjoy is “The Winter Prince” by Elizabeth Wein. Like “The Crystal Cave” and “The Pendragon,” “The Winter Prince” is a retelling of the Arthurian legend, but with a darker, more complex tone. The story is told from the perspective of Mordred, Arthur’s illegitimate son, who is often portrayed as a villain in Arthurian legend. In this book, Mordred is a sympathetic character, struggling to come to terms with his father’s legacy and his own place in the world. The novel also explores themes of power, loyalty, and the price of ambition.
I immediately went off and checked out The Winter Prince. Darker sounds good to me!
There was a second reason for dashing off to research, too. Chat GPT and the other LLM (Large Language Machine) AIs aren’t above giving you completely fabricated “facts”.
I was inspired by another author asking Chat GPT what the book world was saying about her, and tried it myself. What I got back was correct for the first 50 or so words, because it was paraphrasing my bio. But then Chat GPT told me that Tracy Cooper-Posey also wrote under the name of an author I’d never heard of. I checked out the author. They exist, and they write gay erotica (and no, it wasn’t Chuck Tingle…but that would have made my day!). I’ve no idea why Chat GPT thought there was a connection!
Chat GPT went on to tell me about awards I’d won (I didn’t) and other accolades that were more fantastical than the novels I write.
As AIs learn, this tendency to make things up when being asked for factual information will diminish. Just be aware that the book recommendations you get might be as fictional as the books you want to read.
But if you get a really good recommendation that is completely made up, forward it to me. Maybe I’ll be intrigued enough to write it!
My next step, had I continued the conversation with Chat GPT, would have been to ask it for recommendations that were not Marion Zimmer Bradley. But I got very neatly diverted by the recommendation of an Arthurian book I hadn’t heard of!
Try asking an AI for a recommendation the next time you want a great read. You might be pleasantly surprised, too.