GAM3R 7H30RY — And Near-Future Books

In collaboration with The Institute for the Future of the Book, McKenzie Wark, professor of cultural and media studies at the New School is book-blogging his new book GAM3R 7H30RY, an examination of single-player video games that comes out of the analytic tradition of the Frankfurt School (not surprising..) Here’s an interest aspect of the experiment:

As with Hacker Manifesto, Ken has written Gamer Theory in numbered paragraphs, a modular structure that makes the text highly adaptable to different formats and distribution schemes — be it RSS syndication, ebook, or print copy. The obvious thing to do, then, would be to release the book serially, chunk by chunk, and to gather commentary and feedback from readers as it progressed. The trouble is that if you do only this — that is, syndicate the book and gather feedback — you forfeit the possibility of a more free-flowing discussion, which could end up being just as valuable (or more) as the direct critique of the book. After all, the point of this experiment is to expose the book to the collective knowledge, experience and multiple viewpoints of the network. If new ideas are to be brought to light, there ought to be a way for readers to contribute not just in direct response to material the author has put forth, but on their own terms..

Why do I blog this? We were just talking this evening about how ideas are shared, admiring Bruce’s Shaping Things for its evocative content, certainly, but also for the process of going to press in a lickity-split 6 months, and with a beautiful design, to boot. New kinds of publishing models that are more amenable to my rapid-prototyping version of authoring ideas — you have an idea that gets you hopped up and you have words to share about it, so why can’t you have a book, maybe a near-future form of book? and the blog isn’t tangible the same way (you can’t hold it and admire it; but it can be a Spime, but the pleasure of the design process still holds some value for me, or the “container” of the paged book is desirable?)

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