“There are two things that separate reading from other media experiences. One is that reading is better: it’s richer and deeper and more complex and more beautiful. It’s more intellectually rewarding. And I say this as, among other things, a hard-core video gamer. All media have their strengths. I just think reading’s strengths are strongest.”—Lev Grossman, Is Pottermore Good for Harry?
The punk icon Ian MacKaye always wanted to create a tribe. Now an elder statesman of D.C. hardcore, the musician talks about organized religion, breaking toilets, and making peace with his mother’s death.
“Three years earlier in Franconia, it was a certain book that set my parents on this unexpected course of their lives together. Thinking of that book, I imagine it as an old genie’s lamp waiting in that dimly lit health food store. Its magic was of the kind books possess when they come into our lives at the right moment to show us what we need to learn. As my parents opened its worn pages, their future was released.”—Melissa Coleman, This Life is in Your Hands
A great post from Scalzi about finding your own path. It applies to more than just writing, kids.
Which is not to say you can’t have a career as a writer; maybe you can. But you can’t have a career like mine. Because here’s what you would have to do:
1. Start writing freelance in college. 2. Get a movie critic gig right out of school. 3. Have your second job be for the largest online service on the planet. 4. Get laid off and go solo. 5. Start a blog and have it become very popular. 6. Sell four non-fiction books before you sell your first novel. 7. Sell your first novel off your Web site. 8. Have that novel be an award-nominated breakout success. 9. Etc.
Then there’s a recent game like Portal 2 (I’m just plucking examples out of the ether here). I played through it a few weeks ago. Look at the tightness of the plotting, the economy and discipline and humor and sharpness with which they sketch out the characters. These are things we usually look to novels for. But by those standards Portal 2 is the best novel I’ve read this year.
The opposition between books and games feels fake — like something built up by people who either don’t read or don’t game. I know there are other fiction writers out there who game. My brother for one (he actually designs games in his copious spare time). Tom Bissell. Iain Banks. Hm. Anybody else?
I could just as easily have titled this post Marry Me, Lev Grossman, but that seemed a bit forward.
“The rum, which had seemed so delightful the night before, so absolutely good and necessary, had now revealed its true nature as a hideous toxin, a drier of mouths and ravager of brains. He cursed the earlier incarnation of himself that drank so much of it. Then he got up and went in search of water.”—
Quentin Coldwater in Lev Grossman’s The Magician King.
Leave it to Grossman to perfectly encapsulate a hangover in three sentences.