Why Science Fiction?

Neil Gaimon on Science Fiction:

I was in China in 2007, at the first party-approved science fiction and fantasy convention in Chinese history. And at one point I took a top official aside and asked him Why? SF had been disapproved of for a long time. What had changed?

It’s simple, he told me. The Chinese were brilliant at making things if other people brought them the plans. But they did not innovate and they did not invent. They did not imagine. So they sent a delegation to the US, to Apple, to Microsoft, to Google, and they asked the people there who were inventing the future about themselves. And they found that all of them had read science fiction when they were boys or girls.

So, maybe encourage a little Science Fiction in your child’s menu of reading material.

I probably don’t have to say this, but introduce your daughters to science fiction also. There are some great female science fiction authors  and there’s another list here.  Dad finds that female authors seem to be a lot more likely to include strong & smart female characters that have depth and are thus more interesting.  Peace.

A list of game design books posted to PAGDIG

A list of books that was posted to PAGDIG.org mailing list by N. Maynard as being from his bibliography.  Some of these we’ve read, and most we have not.  Though others might be interested in some of them.

  • Koster, Raph. A Theory of Fun for Game Design. Scottsdale: Paraglyph Press, 2005.
  • DeMaria, Rusel; Wilson, Johnny L. High Score!: The Illustrated History of Electronic Games. McGraw-HillOsborne Media, 2003.
  • Zimmerman, Eric; Salen, Kate. Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. The MIT Press, 2004.
  • Rabin, Steve. Introduction to Game Development. Charles River Media, 2005.
  • Castranova, Edward. Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005.
  • Graham, Paul. Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age. Sebastopol: O’Reilly Media, Inc., 2004.
  • Gee, James Paul. What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
  • Poole, Stephen. Trigger Happy: Video Games and the Entertainment Revolution. New York: Arcade Publishing, Inc., 2004.
  • Crawford, Chris. Chris Crawford On Game Design. Indianapolis: New Riders Publishing 2003.
  • Crawford, Chris. Chris Crawford On Interactive Storytelling. Berkeley: New Riders Publishing, 2005. Miller, Carolyn Handler. Digital Storytelling. Burlington: Focal Press, 2004.
  • Saltzman, Marc. Game Design: Secrets of the Sages. Indianapolis: Brady Publishing, 2000.
  • Tufte, Edward R. Visual Explanations. Cheshire: Graphics Press, 1997.
  • Tufte, Edward R. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Cheshire: Graphics Press, 2001. Friedl, Markus. Online Game Interactivity Theory. Hingham: Charles River Media, 2003.
  • Bates, Bob. Game Design: The Art & Business of Creating Games. Roseville: Prima Publishing, 2001.
  • Ray, Sheri Graner. Gender Inclusive Game Design. Hingham: Charles River Media, 2004.
  • Irish, Dan. The Game Producer’s Handbook. Boston: Thomson Course Technology, 2005.
  • Bartle, Richard A. Designing Virtual Worlds. Indianapolis: New Riders Publishing, 2004.
  • Rollings, Andrew; Adams, Ernest. Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design. Indianapolis: New Riders Publishing, 2003.

Some others that were posted to the list:

The Art of Game Design: a book of lenses. by Jesse Schell

Game Architecture & Design by Andrew Rollings & Dave Morris (first 6 chapters about design, rest of book is about the rest of the process (asset creation, programming, testing, team management, etc and thus may also be of interest).
-Green Ronin’s Hobby Games: The 100 Best is a gold mine, a hundred different designers talking about the hobby games they like and the precise things these games did (mechanics-wise) to make them so interesting.
-If you’re up for looking at games as one of several creative mediums, I highly recommend the works of Scott McCloud and Robert McKee.
-The online musings of Sirlin and Tim Rogers (and the latter’s colleagues at Action Button Dot Net) are what I’d label as “200-level” game design lessons, insightful in ways I wouldn’t have fully appreciated if I hadn’t designed a few games myself at that point.

– Design Workshop by Tracy Fullerton

“For The Win” by Cory Doctorow – insanely good

Wow!  I just finished “For The Win” by Cory Doctorow – insanely good.

I don’t play MMORPGs so I have no idea where the here-and-now ends and the sci-fi starts in this book, but woah.  I sure hope more of it is sci-fi than my gut-feelings suggest… yikes!

This book hit me like William Gibson’s “Neuromancer” did way back when and makes me wonder if it’ll be as big an influence on the future as “Neuromancer”, “Virtual Light” (also by Gibson), and “Snow Crash” (by Neal Stephenson) all were.  It has that feel to it, frighteningly enough.

Here are some Amazon affiliate links that support Geek And Dad, if you haven’t read any of these yet*.

These are all sci-fi or, if you prefer, the “cyberpunk” sub-genre of sci-fi or, again if you prefer, “speculative fiction.”  And there are quite a few others that belong on this list, but other than the brand new “For the Win”, these are some of the books that influenced how the internet and “cyberspace” was actualized (Gibson is attributed as the person who coined the term “cypberspace” according to Wikipedia.  “Neuromancer” is the winner of the science-fiction “triple crown” — the Nebula Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, and the Hugo Award and, again according to Wikipedia, “is considered the archetypal cyberpunk work.”

‘nough said.  Go read! 🙂

* We do encourage you to use your locally owned bookstore (ours is Powell’s) or your local Library.  I read “For The Win” via our awesome Multnomah County Library, but I think I might need to buy it to add to the permanent collection where it’ll sit alongside the “Lensmen” series by EE “Doc” Smith, the others listed above, and a couple dozen other books.

Woah – just realized that the first book in the Lensman series, “Triplanetary,” is available as a FREE eBook!

Some books we’re reading at Geek And Dad HQ

Some books we’re reading:

(these are Amazon links, though we are reading the non-programming ones from the library, and buying most of the programming ones from Powell’s, our local, independently owned bookstore).

Geek:

Dad:

Getting ePub books onto iPad (free books!)

@bbum pointed out some great free eBooks in his recent blog post.  They are at http://www.baen.com/library/ — Thanks Bill!

I just wanted to pass on a tip – when I downloaded a couple of books and then tried to drag these to my iPad in the left source pane, iTunes crashed, every time.  Here’s what worked:

1) download books to the Desktop

2) Drag .epub files into the “Library” in iTunes

3) select the “Books” entry under the “Library” group in iTunes; the books are listed in the right pane.

4) Drag the books from there onto the “iPad” entry in the “Devices” group.

peace
-Dad

Geek says “No time for chores right now!”

Geek finished the book he was reading on the couch and exclaimed, “Wow!  That was a great book!”

On hearing this, I suggested that he might want to do a few of his chores for today before he disappeared into his next book he replied “Not now! I’m in the middle of an exciting trilogy!”  I asked him what he was reading and he said, Six Easy Pieces, Six Not-So-Easy Pieces, and QED all by Richard Feynman.

The full titles are:

Six Easy Pieces:  Essentials of Physics Explained by Its Most Brilliant Teacher

Six Not-So-Easy Pieces: Einstein’s Relativity, Symmetry, and Space-Time

QED:  The Strange Theory of Light and Matter

good books if you’ve a hankering for some reading on physics!

-Dad

(Guess I “guessed” right in getting these from the library for Geek – Ah, success feels so good :-)).