Pasteboard, Blob, and Glop

The publishing industry has seen it before. So too have creative platforms of all kinds.

Pasteboard, Blob, and Glop
Photo by Dan Cristian Pădureț on Unsplash

The publishing industry has seen it before. So too have creative platforms of all kinds. They are, as my title suggests, Pasteboard, Blob, and Glop. There's also what Sir Terry Pratchett [GNU] referred to as "Extruded Fantasy Product", or what I've extended into "Extruded Fiction Product." And we're going to be seeing a lot more of it as generative AI starts flooding the market.

Extruded Fiction Product

This one has existed for a long, long time. Fiction that follows the trends, aims at mass market appeal, and fills in new names for each iteration. Think: the fictions that are churned out strictly for reading on long flights. Bog standard, forgettable, and not the most creative works on the market.

You probably have read like a hundred bog-standard Extruded Fiction Products. Thick paperback books made to briefly entertain, and then be forgotten. And strictly in my opinion, some of the more recent Marvel Movies and a few rehashed TV shows are Extruded Fiction Product.

But at least that has more imagination involved than...


The non-fiction definition of 'pasteboard' is "a thin, firm board made of sheets of paper pasted together or pressed paper pulp". Anyone who's read pasteboard knows it as bland, dull, unexciting, and probably smashed together out of several popular things. Then it's homogenised into the fictional equivalent of cold oatmeal.

When Extruded Fiction Product has all the imagination sucked out of it [probably by accountants] then you get Pasteboard. Same as the last thing that made money with all the uniqueness sanded into smoothness.

It's bland, plain, and boring. And people who produce pasteboard hold it up as proof that the genre in question is dead now.

That said, there is the newer variants thanks to generative AI:

Blob and Glop

People are still deciding on what to call it, but I'm pretty sure we know it when we see it. Nonsensical word salad dressed up in a fiction-type ribbon and sold wherever the standards are low. Owing to the speed of production, the markets there are flooded with keyword-centric texts with little in mind regarding quality.

If the same "author" produces a large amount of "books" in a very short amount of time, that's pretty much an indicator that they've been made with a generative "tool". There's already a swarm of them up on the book site named after a very large, very famous river.

Well, "Nile Books" doesn't care about what it has to offer. It's pretty much already cornered the ebook market and likes to pretend it's enabling independent authors to get their works out there. There's some predatory stuff going on behind the curtain over there. That's another rant for another time.

Thanks to generative text, "Nile Books" now has "books" with gibberish "books" with gibberish titles.

It kind of reminds me of what's happened to Wish, Temu, Alibaba, Shein, Kogan, and so on. Products there are sold with every keyword the seller can think up. They even title them with every keyword they can smash in there. Blobby, gloppy titles and descriptions to sell -well- shit.

The extended texts sold on "Nile Books" look like more of the same.

My Personal Opinion

It shouldn't need to be said, but... I do hate them all.

I never wanted to write Extruded Fiction Product. I certainly refuse to go anywhere near pasteboard.

I've spent a literal lifetime being different, but the only thing that gets any attention is more of the same. Based on, reboot, remake, sequel, prequel, villain backstory, etc. etc. etc.

It takes years for a book to become something everyone knows about. At this stage in the game I sincerely doubt I will ever be anywhere near mainstream. Or at least not near enough to get the love I have for my worlds into everyone's hearts.

Terry Pratchett once said that he'd never believe his words had become part of a screen legacy until he was in the theatre with the popcorn. And even then, he'd still have his doubts.

I guess I'm in the same corner, there. Just... hoping there's enough weirdoes out there who like what I do.