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X is for eXtropy: As some of you know, I've got a soft spot for the ultra-optimistic claims of the transhumanists. I was planning on reading up on Max More's idea of Extropianism and letting you all know about the bits that I found most interesting.
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Y is for Your Weird: I actually wrote a little bit on this one, so I'll let me-from-March explain more:
In March 1991, sci-fi author Bruce Sterling gave a speech at the Computer Game Developers' Conference in San Jose, California. He titled it "The Wonderful Power of Storytelling" (full transcript here), but it's since come to be known as the "Follow Your Weird" speech. Back in 2011, I blogged about some of the juicier quotes, but I thought I'd recall it here, since it's quite clearly a call to arms... a yelling, screaming screed of hope... a manifesto, for short. :-)
Among many other things, Sterling tried to wean the video game programmers of the day away from trying to ape the tropes of story and narrative in their new medium. If it's good enough, those things emerge naturally without the need for heavy-handedness. His experience at being a genre writer is valuable...
We're not into science fiction because it's good literature, we're into it because it's weird. Follow your weird, ladies and gentlemen. Forget trying to pass for normal. Follow your geekdom. Embrace your nerditude. In the immortal words of Lafcadio Hearn, a geek of incredible obscurity whose work is still in print after a hundred years, "woo the muse of the odd." A good science fiction story is not a "good story" with a polite whiff of rocket fuel in it. A good science fiction story is something that knows it is science fiction and plunges through that and comes roaring out of the other side. Computer entertainment should not be more like movies, it shouldn't be more like books, it should be more like computer entertainment, SO MUCH MORE LIKE COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT THAT IT RIPS THROUGH THE LIMITS AND IS SIMPLY IMPOSSIBLE TO IGNORE!I planned on digging for more gems, but you know the story.
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Z isn't quite for Zoas: There was a bit of a bait-and-switch, here. The title refers to William Blake's concept of Four Zoas, or four fundamental archangel-like principles in the universe. Carl Jung may have gotten his love of alchemical quaternities from this unfinished poetical work...
However, the actual "manifesto" here was going to be Blake's earlier work, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. I've always loved its irreverence, energy, and long lists of pithy proverbs.
This one, I might come back to later. In the mean time, I've got to do some re-evaluation of where I'd like this blog to go, topic-wise. I'm still very much interested in the two main gaming related foundation stones that the blog was built on (RPGs and GBGs), but I think it might be time to broaden the field of view a bit more. Let's see what's out there.