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G.P. Putnam's Sons
G.P. Putnam's Sons

Take the Whimsy Out of Your Favorite Pastime With This Super-Serious 'Executive Coloring Book'

G.P. Putnam's Sons
G.P. Putnam's Sons

Believe it or not, adult coloring books are not a new phenomenon. Back in 1961, co-authors Marcie Hans, Dennis Altman, and Martin A. Cohen put together a tongue-in-cheek coloring book that poked fun at the stuffy heads running corporate life. Perhaps hitting a nerve, The Executive Coloring Book was a huge hit in its time, and now it is returning to shelves on Tuesday, March 28. Once again, the hilariously blunt book can charm readers while they de-stress—what's more relaxing than a good chuckle at the expense of those in the C-Suites?

It begins with our main character, who is a very important business man. "This is me. I am an executive. Executives are important. They go to important offices and do important things. Color my underwear important." The stern coloring book seems to have a lot of rules and demands, just like a real corporate setting. Follow the main character as he shows you the exciting world of commuting, fluorescent lighting, big desks, and sales charts. Self-starter colorers can arm themselves with colors like gray and brown and bring the deadpan captions to life.

The intentionally droll coloring book serves as a reminder that glitz and glamour portrayed in pop culture, like on The Wolf of Wall Street or Mad Men, can actually be quite a dull affair. Get a copy on Amazon for the business person in your life—and don't forget to add a box of monotone crayons.

All images from THE EXECUTIVE COLORING BOOK by Marcie Hans, Dennis Altman and Martin A. Cohen, to be published on March 28, 2017 by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2017 by Marcie Hans, Dennis Altman and Martin A. Cohen.

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A Limited Edition, Handwritten Manuscript of The Great Gatsby Can Be Yours for $249
SP Books
SP Books

Fans of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic The Great Gatsby need to put this on their holiday wish list: The French manuscript publisher SP Books is releasing a deluxe, limited-edition version of Fitzgerald’s handwritten Gatsby manuscript.

A handwritten manuscript of 'The Great Gatsby' open to a page
SP Books

The 328-page, large-format edition is cloth-bound and features an ornamental, iron-gilded cover. The facsimile of Fitzgerald’s original manuscript shows how the author reworked, rewrote, and otherwise altered the book throughout his writing process, changing character’s names (Nick was named “Dud” at one point), cutting down scenes, and moving around where certain information was introduced to the plot, like where the reader finds out how Gatsby became wealthy, which in the original manuscript wasn’t revealed until the end of the book. For Fitzgerald superfans, it's also signed.

A page of the handwritten manuscript with a pen on it
SP Books

The publisher is only selling 1800 copies of the manuscript, so if you’re a lover of literary history, you’d better act fast.

It’s available from SP Books for $249.

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Pop Culture
An AI Program Wrote Harry Potter Fan Fiction—and the Results Are Hilarious
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

“The castle ground snarled with a wave of magically magnified wind.”

So begins the 13th chapter of the latest Harry Potter installment, a text called Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash. OK, so it’s not a J.K. Rowling original—it was written by artificial intelligence. As The Verge explains, the computer-science whizzes at Botnik Studios created this three-page work of fan fiction after training an algorithm on the text of all seven Harry Potter books.

The short chapter was made with the help of a predictive text algorithm designed to churn out phrases similar in style and content to what you’d find in one of the Harry Potter novels it "read." The story isn’t totally nonsensical, though. Twenty human editors chose which AI-generated suggestions to put into the chapter, wrangling the predictive text into a linear(ish) tale.

While magnified wind doesn’t seem so crazy for the Harry Potter universe, the text immediately takes a turn for the absurd after that first sentence. Ron starts doing a “frenzied tap dance,” and then he eats Hermione’s family. And that’s just on the first page. Harry and his friends spy on Death Eaters and tussle with Voldemort—all very spot-on Rowling plot points—but then Harry dips Hermione in hot sauce, and “several long pumpkins” fall out of Professor McGonagall.

Some parts are far more simplistic than Rowling would write them, but aren’t exactly wrong with regards to the Harry Potter universe. Like: “Magic: it was something Harry Potter thought was very good.” Indeed he does!

It ends with another bit of prose that’s not exactly Rowling’s style, but it’s certainly an accurate analysis of the main current that runs throughout all the Harry Potter books. It reads: “‘I’m Harry Potter,’ Harry began yelling. ‘The dark arts better be worried, oh boy!’”

Harry Potter isn’t the only work of fiction that Jamie Brew—a former head writer for ClickHole and the creator of Botnik’s predictive keyboard—and other Botnik writers have turned their attention to. Botnik has previously created AI-generated scripts for TV shows like The X-Files and Scrubs, among other ridiculous machine-written parodies.

To delve into all the magical fiction that Botnik users have dreamed up, follow the studio on Twitter.

[h/t The Verge]

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