September 22, 2011
R.E.M. has officially broken up.
Q: One of the interesting backstories in the book is how T’Rain was developed and the unique talents behind it—especially the writers who devised its bible. What connections do you see between an MMORPG like T’Rain and literature—storytelling? Would you consider that kind of game to be a kind of participatory literature?
NEAL STEPHENSON: The two writers are a kind of self-parody; I've taken two literary tendencies that are always competing for control of my keyboard, and made them flesh.
All role-playing games are a kind of improvisatory literature. It's easy to make fun of RPG dorks. But those games wouldn't be interesting unless the people playing them were coming up with interesting characters and spinning tales with legitimate narrative qualities--some of which are at least as good as what gets published as officially sanctioned literature.
As I watched, Megafaun continued to calibrate the dusky rainbows of harmony that anchor their unique Americana. Phil kept to his feet, cradling Ellis in his arms. Brad strummed open chords on an acoustic guitar. "Start real fast ..." they all sang, lightly stomping, letting the beat pull them along rather than pushing it forward. "Gonna end real slow." The vocal harmonies were a constant negotiation, with each member using his strengths to bolster the others' weaknesses.
The Guardian Children's Books Blog lists the top 10 author/illustrator pairings.
On sale for $3.99 at Amazon MP3:
The Guardian profiles author William Gibson.
Flavorwire lists 10 things that are killing indie music in 2011.
The Armed Garden and Other Stories is the witty, finely executed work of an artist uniquely capable of capturing both the fervid ecstasy of belief and the dull, heartsick ache left behind once it cools.
Fresh Air interviews Ken Jennings about his new book, Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks.
FACT lists the 20 best albums released in the third quarter of 2011.
The Millions reviews the book.
Amazon MP3 has 100 albums on sale for $5.
also at Largehearted Boy:
previous Shorties posts (news and links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics & graphic novels)
daily mp3 downloads
Largehearted Word (the week's best new books)
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from this week's CD releases)
weekly music & DVD release lists