Monday, October 27, 2014

In which Akinator the Web Genius tries to guess Zelazny characters

A friend turned me on to Akinator the Web Genius and I've played with it on and off for a couple years. It's an online program that plays twenty questions with you, and, while it's not infallible, it's pretty good at guessing, and getting better.

I decided to see if I could get it to guess Corwin.

1.) Has your character ever really existed? No.

2.) Is your character from a TV series? No.

3.) Has your character ever been in a movie? No.

4.) Does your character have dark hair? Yes. 

5.) Does your character wear shoes? Yes. He's not a hobbit. 

6.) Is your character from a video game? No. There was the Nine Princes in Amber Computer Game, but we all like to pretend it never existed. 

7.) Is your character a female? No.

8.)Does your character live in America? No. This is a judgment call, as Corwin as Carl Corey lived in America, but I thought answering Yes here would be misleading, and the program is only as good as its information.

9.) Is your character from Homestuck? No. 

10.) Is your character from anime (Japanese animation)? No. 

11.) Is your character less than 25 years old? No. 

12.) Does your character have magical powers? "Misli, gammi gra'dil, Strygalldwir" Yes.

 13.) Is your character a human being? I answered "No" the first time I tried this exercise, as humans generally don't live for hundreds of years and aren't capable of lifting a Mercedes, regenerating their eyes or walking between dimensions, but Akinator hadn't guessed after 43 questions, so I went with "Yes" this time.

14.) Does your character fight with a sword? Yes.

As the rider advanced, his ruddy gaze flicked over my person and halted when it fell upon Grayswandir. Whatever the nature of the mad illumination at my back, it had tricked the delicate tracery on my blade to life once more, so that that portion of the Pattern it bore swam and sparkled along its length. The horseman was very near by then, but he drew back on the reins and his eyes leaped upward, meeting my own. 

His nasty grin vanished. "I know you!" he said. "You are the one called Corwin!"

But we had him, me and my ally momentum.

15.) Is your character more than 40 years old? Yes. "I was older than I appeared to be. (Thirtyish, I'd seemed when I looked at me in the mirror--but now I knew that it was because the shadows would lie for me.)"

16.) Has your character been into space? No.

17.) Is your character an assassin?  No. You're thinking Brust, not Zelazny.

18.) Does your character have a brother or sister? Yes. Getting warmer...

19.) Does your character have a sister? Yes.

20.) Has your character lost their memory? Yes! You're on fire!

21.) Is your character the main character of the work in which he appears? Yes. 

Well done, web genie! I like the picture too, from the Visual Guide to Castle Amber. The genie guessed Roger Zelazny after about 25 questions, but couldn't get Dworkin. I think the problem with the latter is that one of the questions was "Does your character have a last name?" and I answered "Yes", because Corwin names him Dworkin Bariman in 9PiA. "Bariman" is obviously an anagram for "In Amber", (see also "Rebma") but I always assumed it was actually Dworkin's family name and that there is a Barimanways in the Courts of Chaos.

It's a fun way to pass the time. Try it with other Zelazny characters and let me know the results!


  1. I only learned a few days ago that the mission in Avalon with the dark circle was from Guns of Avalon. I guess the Amber series is the last bit of Zelazny I need to read, finally.

    1. Yup. I stole shamelessly from Zelazny for the Mazeworks game.

  2. The game gave up on Snuff, though when it finally asked me which character I was thinking of and gave me a list to choose from, Snuff was #2. So it at least had *some* idea what was going on.

    Then I did Sam from LORD OF LIGHT, and the game got it in 20 questions. When I clicked on the game report, it said that one of my answers wasn't what the genie had anticipated. The question was: "Is your character a god or goddess?", and the game expected me to say "Yes." But, given the opening lines of LORD OF LIGHT, I decided to go with what I deemed to be the more clever response:

    "Don't Know."

  3. Totally stumped it with Fred Cassidy. Dunno if that bodes good or ill for Doorways . . .

  4. I couldn't get it to guess Red Dorakeen either.

  5. I was reading Sign of the Unicorn again today and came across this exchange, which made me think of this thread. I guess Corwin doesn't know the answer to question 13 for sure either.

    "Are you human?" he asked, still gripping my hand, no special expression on his face.
    I started in on a grin, then threw it away.
    "I don't know. I-I like to think so. But I don't really-Of course I am! That's a silly . . . Oh hell! You really mean it, don't you? And I said I'd be honest. . . ."
    I chewed my lip and thought for a moment. Then, "I don't think so," I said.