Help me find the title to this novel?
April 22, 2008 11:40 AM   Subscribe

A novel about a computer that attempts to create art? Help me identify this sci-fi book.

I'm a librarian, but sci-fi is not my genre... and this one has stumped me. A patron needs to know the name of a story/novel that he read as a kid. The novel involved a computer that became self-aware - after the earth was no longer inhabited by humans. He attempts to creat a work of art, and only comes up with a cube. So then he copies another work of art from his database - an old lady? And he finally leaves in frustration, without noticing that he has created a statue of an old lady crying over the cube... which, in itself, the author argues, is a work of art.

posted by bradth27 to Education (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
In William Gibson's Count Zero, a computer (well, an AI) creates art in the form of Joseph Cornell style boxes. I haven't read any of the books - Neuromancer and Mona Lisa Overdrive are the other two in the series - in years. Anyway, I seem to remember that at the very end of one of them, a girl confronts the AI and they talk about art. This doesn't sound exactly like what your patron is looking for but perhaps it's close enough that his memory might have garbled it? FWIW, I could have sworn that the whole AI art thing was part of Mona Lisa Overdrive but Wikipedia says Count Zero.
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:39 PM on April 22, 2008

Best answer: I think it's Roger Zelazny's, "For a Breath I Tarry," though the details are a bit wrong. The cube was a self-portrait, and the old woman was a different statue.
posted by tyllwin at 12:50 PM on April 22, 2008

Response by poster: That's it, tyllwin. I showed him the text and he agreed that was the story. Thanks!
posted by bradth27 at 1:36 PM on April 22, 2008

I read it, too. Quite interesting.
posted by sapphirebbw at 8:12 PM on April 22, 2008

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