Uncanny Snoopy

New releases

I had sworn off of buying pirate print-on-demand Peanuts materials, and even cut way down on mentioning them, because I don’t want to promote such materials or reward their creators. But I broke that rule, because when I found the listing for Snoopy’s Midnight Halloween Ride, I thought that there would be something to document, a moment of change, a coming tide.

First off: do I actually know it’s pirate material? I was convinced of that quite quickly. It’s a Peanuts storybook but not listed as being by Charles M. Schulz. No, this one’s credited to “wisdom crush publication” in the online listing. In fact, in the book itself it says “All rights reserved by wisdom crush publication”… which is another giveaway, there’s no crediting the rights to Peanuts Worldwide. And Amazon list it as being “Independently published”, which is their way of telling you it’s someone using Amazon’s print-on-demand system and not paying for their own ISBN codes.

And then there’s the full title: Snoopy’s Midnight Halloween Ride: A snooppy’s Magical Journey through Enchantment and Discovery. Excuse me, “A snooppy”? Is snooppy a species??

But how could it be a knockoff product. That cover looked so lush… which is easy to do if they just swipe a Peanuts image from somewhere, but this one looked unfamiliar, wasn’t even the same texture as any legit Peanuts image that I could think of.

But hey, wait, Snoopy has a mustache? Let me take a close look at that!

That’s not a mustache, that’s the whoopsido of hair from Charlie Brown’s forehead. What’s that doing there?

So I look at the back cover, and let me zoom right in:

Snoopy has:

  • Two tails behind him, and what’s that third thing coming up in front?
  • What’s that on his side, a wing??
  • Too many fingers! Four plus an opposable thumb is one too many.

So now I was pretty sure what I was looking at, and at least a few of my readers will know as well… but I wanted to verify. So I put down the eleven bucks it would take to verify, and I will atone in some way later.

The book is listed as a 42 pager, but the left-hand pages are always blank. It’s really 20 story pages, each with one image and a bit of text. Snoopy’s depiction varies greatly from image to image in all sorts of ways (including that the halloween costume we were told he put on disappears after that panel and is replaced with varying clothes.) And looking at this images, I confirmed every suspicion I had.

Click on that image to see it large, so you can see the bizarre melted faces on the crowd, the strange little pseudo items, and realize:

This is artificial intelligence Peanuts piracy. I’m betting even the text is AI-generated, then fed back in as part of making the images. There is no sign of human thought or human understanding here.

I have no way of knowing whether Peanuts here is a particular target, or if the same folks are generating similar books on a gazillion topics… but I can tell you that people who tell you that this is how all fiction will be generated from now on have not actually waded through something like this. I suspect there will be much experimentation with using AI to create original works and cut out the expense of writers and artists… and that the culture will quickly show that they actually prefer real stories created intentionally.

Ah well. As long as I’m posting about pirated books, I might as well share one more that seems like someone really didn’t think things through.

Happy Halloween: The Easter Beagle Coloring Book. Let’s just all soak that in.

New releases
A pop-up shows up

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New releases
Look! A mook!

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New releases
Bringing up the rear

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