The Key, 1 December, 2010

We’re a day late this week, but bearing an embarassment of riches.

  • What IF is harder and easier than
    Andrew Plotkin
    Hadean Lands Kickstarter Blog
    An analysis of writing interactive fiction is difficult, and also why many non-textual games are badly written:

    I’m just pointing at the sheer amount of work that it takes to get an interactive scene out, as compared to a written scene. How will I ever get enough practice?

  • Chasing the Links
    Niall Harrison
    Torque Control
    A treasury of links of the quality we’re shooting for here.
  • review of Lightborn by Tricia Sullivan
    Farah Mendlesohn
    Strange Horizons
    A thoughtful analysis of a survival novel about teenagers that isn’t YA and seems to be less about survival than political philosophy:

    Lightborn shows us a world in which the argument is about what kinds of cooperation work best (top down or bottom up, anarchic or authoritarian, amongst others), and has little truck with the more individualistic ends of the anarcho-libertarian spectrum.

  • Smug messiah: Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land
    Jo Walton
    An analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of Heinlein’s Stranger in A Strange Land, and why it is not necessarily representative of his work:

    The things I do like would be a much shorter list. I like the beginning, and I regret the book it might have grown into from that starting point. My son once had to write a book report on it for school, and without lying at all he managed to make it sound like the Heinlein juvenile it might have been.

  • Black Sheep of a Diamond Merchant Family
    Edward Gauvin
    Small Beer Press: Not A Journal
    A short profile of Jacques Sternberg, a French writer from the mid-twentieth century who oddly reminds me of Peter Watts:

    And yet in this domain humanity constantly manages to outdo itself, providing him a steady supply of unpleasant surprises. He finds this… reassuring.

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