Odysseus, Sacker of Algorithms

After a weightier post and experiment about race, today is light (but epic) fare. I am currently reading Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey, and it is proving just as good and important as billed. The Odyssey is a text that has always been significant to me. One of my undergraduate honors seminars was on Homer (the Fagles translation of The Iliad had just been published), and my Master’s thesis is partially about The Odyssey. Every time I read it, I learn something new and important. For example, in my previous 20 readings or so, I have missed the quickly mentioned fact that Odysseus has a sister named Ctimene. A sister! How did I not know this?

Anyway, here is what Dall-E, Stable Diffusion, and Midjourney return when prompting them with the single word “odysseus.” Dall-E, by a mile, wins this round by making me immediately laugh out loud.

Dall-E: Odysseus, Raider of Buffets
Stable Diffusion, playing it safe
Midjourney, continuing to dominate

For the sake of having some fun, I added “woman” to the prompt, using “woman odysseus.” Again, Dall-E wins the day for making me laugh out loud, adding a nice pirate flare to the rendering.

Dall-E with “woman odysseus” Alternate caption: “Ahoy! Sirens.”

Finally, I simply used “Ctimene” (the name of Odysseus’s sister) in Midjourney. As expected, Midjourney delivers.

Midjourney renders “Ctimene”
Midjourney renders “woman odysseus”

If the two images immediately above were the covers of novels about Odysseus’s sister, or about Odyseeus reimagined as a woman, I am 100% invested.

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