I'm the lead designer for We Tell Stories - it's a website created for Penguin, in which six authors are telling six stories in ways that are completely original to the web.
Our first story, The 21 Steps (a homage to The 39 Steps) was told over Google Maps; another was written live and displayed in real-time, in five hour-long installments, by Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. This week's was by Matt Mason ('The Pirate's Dilemma') and Nicholas Felton ('Felton Personal Annual Report'), and they created an infographic snapshot of teen life and the new media world.
We're really pleased with all these stories, but the final sixth story is coming out on Tuesday, and it's the one I'm most impressed by. It's basically an unholy cross between a text adventure, choose your own adventure, and dungeon map. Technically speaking, it's not very sophisticated, but it has an interface that I'm sure hasn't been done before.
It's written by Mohsin Hamid - author of the Booker-shortlisted 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist'. I would be the first to say that good novelists or screenwriters don't necessarily make good game writers, but in this case, Mohsin really nailed it and he wrote a story that shows a very deep understanding of interactive storytelling; it's called 'The (Former) General in his Labyrinth'.
Anthropologist Emma Tarlo just published a new book, Entanglement: The Secret Lives of Hair, investigating the weird culture and business surrounding hair, from Jewish wig parlors to its use in Hindu temples to hair loss clinics. In an excerpt at Smithsonian, Tarlo tells of the hair trade, tracing the path from the growers to the […]
In this Scientific American video, Rubik’s Cube master Ian Scheffler, author of the new book Cracking the Cube, explains some of the math behind “speedcubing.” Scheduler’s book sounds fascinating even though the only way I could get my Rubik’s Cube solved is to hand it to my 10-year-old son’s friend Luc who was the first […]
Swim Through the Darkness: My Search for Craig Smith and the Mystery of Maitreya Kali is the much-anticipated story of one of the more esoteric, fascinating casualties of the flower power generation. As told by Ugly Things magazine creator Mike Stax, the book tracks the odyssey of Craig Smith, a musician who evolved from clean-cut […]
Loot Crate is a totally different kind of subscription service that mails subscribers monthly boxes filled with curated geek, pop culture, and gamer paraphernalia. Its cult following awaits a box every month filled with everything from bobble heads to T-shirts to special edition collectibles. But nothing gets Loot Crate fans as excited as the limited […]
The ARMOR-X Mini Flexible Phone Tripod is a smartphone tripod that is designed with flexible legs to rest on virtually any type of surface. Other tripods have proved useless unless I conveniently have a flat surface in front of me, which is why this particular tripod was appealing enough to try out. The ARMOR-X is compact and easy […]
You don’t need to get an advanced degree and take out massive loans to become a coder. This bundle of 10 courses was designed to teach anyone to code at home for less than it costs to go out for dinner. I was particularly impressed with this new 2017 bundle because it includes courses on […]