Cheap Complex Devices purports to concern the Hofstadter Prize in Machine-Written Narrative, so when I published the book in 2002 I sent Prof. Hofstadter a copy of the book and we exchanged a few brief emails.
When I decided to do the mashup (also discussed here and here) I wrote to him and asked if he would like to read a few pages aloud for the effort. He wrote back that had not read the book, but had at least looked at it, and he remembered our email exchange. He said that he might try to find his copy to take another look, but in the meantime would be willing to chat on the phone about minds and storytelling machines & so forth.
So he called up today and we talked. Week after next he’ll be in Boston & I’m going to try to get together with him to continue the conversation. Maybe I’ll see if he’s interested in doing an interview for K5.
By the way, I never did make it to the O’Reilly Etech conference. I’m setting my sights on the Open Source conference in August.