Monday, 13 November 2017

Wordcloud - The Titles of The 87th Precinct novels

We switched K.E.N.N.E.T.H. into "Word Cloud" mode over the weekend. We fed in the titles of all of the 87th Precinct novels, stoked his boiler, pulled the lever marked "Go" and then interpreted the resulting punched-card output as follows:
The process removes common linking words, to try and highlight which words are used more often. It's an interesting result in that "Money" appears to be one of the main words but it simply features three times as the title of one book ("Money, Money, Money", 2001). "Hail" also appears three times, but again as a duplicate ("Hail, Hail, The Gang's All Here", 1971 and also "Hail To The Chief", 1973).

"Lady" is similar - appearing in two titles as a duplicate and singularly ("Lady Killer", 1958 and "Lady, Lady I Did It", 1961). "Killer's" appears as a result of the three early novels, the Killer's Trilogy, if you like, but otherwise it's clear that Evan/Ed was great at coming up with unique titles for the books, picking out words or phrases that were memorable enough that in most cases they were either released as single word titles ("Ice", "Lightning", "Vespers" for example) or had a key single word element (Heckler, Hand, Ransom). 


  1. In 1973, the 87th Precinct novel "Bread" was published in Argosy Magazine under the title "Money, Money, Money"; that along with the 2001 novel makes six times money was used. I've always hoped a condensed version of the 2001 novel would be published under the title "Bread".

    1. It's fascinating how stories find themselves in different forms, different places (such as the ideas for plays that become books). I must get hold of "Learning To Kill".