Future Libraries by Joe Stech

Many years ago I spent some time learning to paint and sketch, and got halfway decent (to the point where I could at least convey a little bit of what was in my head, albeit clumsily). The amount of time it took me to draw something halfway decent was fairly incredible, and after I stopped drawing regularly my meager skillset deteriorated. I still remember how it felt to finish a sketch though, and generative art models like DALL-E 2 have helped me recapture that joy with a much smaller time investment.
I started using DALL-E to create images for a new run of t-shirts, and I'll talk about that in a subsequent post (I'm reading all the short science fiction that comes out in professional markets every month and I'm going to send t-shirts to the authors that best reflect the CSF ethos). Using DALL-E for t-shirt design quickly morphed into a new mini-hobby, though: creating images of potential future libraries to read and work in.
This is a short chronicle of my ongoing obsession with creating future libraries. Don't worry, my primary interest is still written science fiction, and I'll get back to that in my next post; today, I want to share some of my art with you.
Here's the first library I generated. I used a simple prompt: "A colorful vivid space library, digital art"
You can see that it's a fairly enclosed space, and while I like it I started looking for something grander. I added "with windows and vaulted ceilings" and started to get some more interesting images.
After that I started adding plants.
I started playing around with asking for "HDR photos" instead of digital art, but ended up just getting places that looked like conference buildings I've visited in the past.
So then I got back to the science fiction themes, and started adding more interesting library features. I have two toddlers, so I figured some playgrounds would be cool to include in the library. This resulted in some fairly un-library-like places.
Then I remembered how much I enjoy biking. This is the future, so maybe libraries will be more permissive in their transportation policies.
I love swimming, so I added some pools. You might think that books and pools don't mix, but maybe you just need to open your mind a little.
Now that we've shaken free of society's stifling conventions, I figured we could put some libraries in the sky.
Thanks for joining me on this generative art journey. Next newsletter I'll be ranking all the science fiction short stories that were published in professional venues during the month of July!

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