Type Travels: Leigh Alexander’s Mona

Mona is a short story by Leigh Alex­ander with gor­geous illu­stra­tions by Emily Car­roll. The story is part sen­sual urban hor­ror, part hom­age to the game Silent Hill 2. The story recent­ly went on sale, and I pro­vi­ded the design for the e-book ver­sions. Have a look at the design below, and don’t for­get to buy a copy of the story! […Read more…]

Memory Insufficient: Language and Games

Recently, I had the hon­our of being guest editor on Memory Insuf­fi­cient, the games his­tory ezine. I edited the spe­cial issue on Lan­guage and Games. You can read the edit­or­ial from the issue below, but really you should just go and down­load the whole issue here [pdf], because it’s free. […Read more…]

Type Travels: The Sword of Welleran

Recently, I’ve become more and more inte­res­ted in book design and type­setting, and I deci­ded that I wanted to become bet­ter at it, and offer it as a ser­vice to other people. In the grow­ing world of e-books and digi­tal read­ing, there is some­thing of a dearth of good design, and the aes­the­tics that I admire in prin­ted books have for the most part not found their way into the digi­tal realm. As an exer­cise, I’ve star­ted play­ing around with some pub­lic domain fantasy lite­ra­ture that I wanted to read any­way, such as the (early) works of Lord Dun­sany. In that spirit, I’ve recent­ly com­pleted a PDF set­ting of The Sword of Welle­ran And Other Stor­ies, origi­nally pu­blished in 1908. […Read more…]

Nordic Larp (Book Review)

Over on First Per­son Scholar, I’ve pub­lished an extens­ive book review of Nor­dic Larp, an im­pressive and beau­ti­ful over­view of the Nor­dic live-action role­playing scene. In it I dis­cuss how the book shows the diversity and experi­mental drive of the LARP scene in Scan­dinavia, and approach it briefly from a play-theoretical per­spect­ive. […Read more…]

On Norbert Wiener’s ‘God & Golem, Inc.’

While read­ing Annalee Newitz’ intriguing blog post on io9 about the his­tory of the word cyber, I came across the name Norbert Wiener (not Weiner — get it straight, you Eng­lish­ers) who had intro­duced the term Cyber­net­ics as “the study of con­trol and com­mu­nic­a­tion in machines and liv­ing beings”. His other works include the book God and Golem, Inc.: A Com­ment on Cer­tain Points Where Cyber­net­ics Impinges on Reli­gion, and that title imme­di­ately caught my eye. Stud­ies of the inter­ac­tion between sci­ence, tech­no­logy, and reli­gion always interest me a lot, as do Golems and Jew­ish folk­lore, so Wiener had sold it to me eas­ily. […Read more…]

No Control: on The Wasp Factory

Few nov­els com­pelled me as much to imme­diate­ly write my thoughts down as The Wasp Fact­ory by Iain Banks. Usu­ally I enjoy nov­els a lot while read­ing them (or not), but quick­ly dive into a new one after­wards. In this case, I felt the need to spend some words on it be­fore mov­ing on. I’m pretty sure this means that the book has some sort of cla­rity and com­pact­ness of style that brings across its messa­ges very dir­ectly. I sure wasn’t the only one rea­ding The Wasp Fact­ory this month. Banks passed away after a battle with can­cer on June 9th, and a num­ber of my online friends and ac­quain­tances made a grab towards his debut novel, like I did. […Read more…]

Living Through Our Errors

It’s been a while since I wrote any­thing ser­i­ous about lit­er­at­ure, but recently I was reminded of an essay I wrote in 2008, about the ques­tion of author­ship in the cyber­punk works of Kenji Sir­atori. I never did any­thing with the piece at the time, but felt it was inter­est­ing enough to brush it up and give it another chance. In short, I ques­tion how we should apply the “death of the author” as pro­claimed by Roland Barthes to lit­er­at­ure that pro­vokes strong ques­tions about the nature of its own author. […Read more…]

2012: A Year in Books

What did I read in 2012? I’ve found look­ing back at my last year in books helps me chart some themes and devel­op­ments in my (men­tal life), so I’ve decided to do it again this year. I read 92 books in 2012, a little fewer than in 2011, but they were big­ger books, and my page total ended up higher. This doesn’t count all the art­icles I’ve read, but we’ve got to draw the read­ing ner­d­age line some­where. It’s all slightly arbit­rary any­way. […Read more…]

Right Up Yonder

Through­out human his­tory, in art and reli­gion, we find a long­ing for deliv­er­ance, the view of a prom­ised land just out of our cur­rent reach, whether some­where else on some part of (myth­o­lo­gised) Earth, or in a world bey­ond. […Read more…]

Science Stories: The Mythology of Evolution

Most people will be at least passingly famil­iar with the ‘war’ between ‘sci­ence’ and ‘reli­gion’ that has been a cent­ral theme in the his­tory of the West in the past few cen­tur­ies. My quotes are inten­tional because each of these con­cepts is far more com­plic­ated than com­mon usage would sug­gest. The prob­lem is: most, if […Read more…]