We have made the move from the hustle and bustle of the Fraser Valley to the quiet and calm of Sechelt, on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. We love it here. We are on the inlet side of town, and this has me thinking about corridors, those geographic passageways that Donna Haraway writes about in Staying With the Trouble (2016) as “essential to [the] being” of symbiont life. “The restoration and care of corridors, of connection, is a central task” for the communities that inhabit and travel them. Corridors are “practical and material, as well as fabulous and enspirited.” I want to cultivate “corridor thinking.”
I have been reading Werner Heisenberg’s Physics and Philosophy (1958) as part of my ongoing book club with my brother. It’s good, so far, accessible for a non-physicist. Puts to rest a lot of misreadings of quantum mechanics as irreparably subjectivist or correlationist. He carefully lays out the order of nature > humanity > science, emphasizing the unilaterality of this order (compare my book club entry on Heraclitus, “Generic Science: Heraclitus, Intelligence, and the Common”). He also takes pains to dismiss shallow interpretations of quantum mechanics as anti-realist, considering it instead an updated theory of the real against a dogmatic or reductive realism. We’ll see where the book goes as Heisenberg tries to generalize to the level of human experience.
For pleasure, I’ve been reading Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (1992), book four of The Wheel of Time. I started the series last summer, and read the first three books relatively quickly. This one is a monster, and has been slower going. But, after a couple hundred pages of prologue, the plot finally got moving and reading has been brisker. I’ve been using Bookwyrm by @tripofmice to track my fun reading, and though I’m not very active there, I enjoy my time on the site. As per usual, I’m @steinea.
I just finished reading and reviewing Tom Tyler’s Game: Animals, Video Games, and Humanity (2022) for the Ancillary Review of Books. That should be up soon. Next for ARB is Cameron Kunzelman’s The World Is Born From Zero: Understanding Speculation and Video Games (2022). I’ll likely start reading that once I’m done with Heisenberg.
I started playing Sable (2021) from Shedworks and Raw Fury last night. Though buggy, the art, animation, and music are gorgeous, and I’m already quite enticed by the story the game is weaving. The Perpetual calls…
What else, what else… I watched season one and two of For All Mankind recently, and have been watching season three as it airs. The show rekindled a love for space that has been somewhat dormant throughout the pandemic, and led me to stumble across NASA’s Artemis program, which somehow I hadn’t heard about. Lunar settlement, Mars exploration, fiction and dreams finding purchase in reality. I recall the “slow cancellation of the future” and David Graeber’s brilliant analysis of this state of affairs in The Utopia of Rules (2015). Amidst fires and floods and plagues and wars, it has been so hard to dream, to imagine a future at all.
I work on EA’s FIFA, and was struck today, as I frequently am, by the interconnectedness of things, and the precarity of the global stack. A data center in Dublin experienced some hardware failure that sent over five hundred VMs offline, one of which we needed for a FIFA deploy. Everyone was in a panic, and everything was out of our control.
In my other life, I teach game design and production, and I am very excited to be teaching interactive storytelling in the fall once again. I started work on my syllabus yesterday, thinking about the games we’ll play and discuss as a class. I’ve arrived at three loose groupings: Wordless Stories, Chatty Stories, and Environmental Stories. I’ll be using Alexander Swords’ Forest Paths Method for Narrative Design (2020) as a textbook, as I have in previous iterations of the course. I think it does an excellent job of teaching the mechanics of drama in the interactive space, providing writers of all backgrounds with simple, extensible tools for applying their craft to writing for games.
I’ve written this according to m15o’s spec for HTML Journals, and hope to get it up on The Neon Kiosk soon. I’ll continue to use Atom for longer notes, but I’m looking forward to experimenting with this looser, shorter format (well, shorter for future entries, hopefully…).