To continue the trend of three-letter publications presenting reviews of #!, ebr (Electronic Book Review) has just published a review by John Cayley – an expert in electronic literature, an accomplished cybertext poet, a teacher of e-lit practices, and someone who has created digital work engaging with the writings of Samuel Beckett, among other things.
February 1, 2015
January 13, 2015
Steven Wingate’s review of my book #! (pronouonced “Shebang,” Counterpath Press, 2014) appears in the current American Book Review and seems to be the first review in print.
I was very pleased to read it. Wingate discusses how the presentation of code provided a hook for understanding what programs do, much as bilingual editions allow a reader to learn more (at least a bit more) about a different language by skipping back and forth between recto and verso. An important goal of mine was to offer more access to computing and to show that code can be concise and open. I aimed to do this even as I wrore rather obscure and difficult programs, such as the ones in Perl, but certainly when writing Ruby and Python, the languages Wingate finds most pleasing.
January 7, 2015
This Spring, Andrew Plotkin (a.k.a. Zarf) is the Trope Tank’s writer in residence. Andy will be at the Trope Tank weekly to work on one or more of his inestimable projects — as a game-maker, programmer, and platform developer, he has been working furiously for many years. (His home page is modest in this respect; See also his latest game, Hadean Lands.)
January 5, 2015
Happy New Year! My New Year’s poem for 2015 is a one-line BASIC program for the Commodore 64: “The Era Canto.”
December 29, 2014
The first review of Megawatt has appeared, and it’s quite a detailed analysis of the book, its relationship to Watt, and how the code and output text, in their presentation here, relate. The review is by Hannes Bajohr at 0x0a.
It’s in German. Here is the automagical Googly translation.
December 19, 2014
There were so many excellent novel generators, and generated novels, last month for NaNaGenMo (National Novel Generation Month).
I thought a lot of them related to and carried on the work of wonderful existing literary projects — usually in the form of existing books. And this is in no way a backhanded complement. My own NaNoGenMo entry was the most rooted in an existing novel; I simply computationally re-implemented Samuel Beckett’s novel Watt (or at least the parts of it that were most illegible and computational), in my novel generator Megawatt (its PDF output is also available). For good measure, Megawatt is completely deterministic; although someone might choose to modify it and generate different things, as it stands it generates exactly one novel. So, for me to say that I was reminded of a great book when I saw a particular generator is pure praise.
December 16, 2014
Not literally on stickers, no. This technical report from the Trope Tank is “Stickers as a Literature-Distribution Platform,” and is by Piotr Marecki. It’s just been released as TROPE-14-02 and is very likely to be the last report of 2014. Here’s the abstract:
December 11, 2014
Video of my #! reading, which I did at Google Boston on December 2, is now online.
Video of my #! reading, which I did at Google Boston on December 2, is now online.
December 10, 2014
For the past six months I’ve been working with six collaborators,
- Patsy Baudoin
- Andrew Campana
- Qianxun (Sally) Chen
- Aleksanda Małecka
- Piotr Marecki
- Erik Stayton
To translate e-lit, and for the most part computational literature works such as poetry generators, into English from other languages.
After a great deal of work that extends from searching for other-langauge pieces, through technical and computing development that includes porting, and also extends into the more usual issues assocaited with literary translation, the first phase of the Renderings project (13 works translated from 6 languages) has just been published in Fordham University’s literary journal, Cura.
December 9, 2014
… from the Harvard Book Store.
Two pieces on my book #! have just come out in Galatea Resurrects (A Poetry Engagement), number 23.
December 2, 2014
Robert Pinsky writes the first installment, noting the recent death of poet Mark Strand.
I didn’t ever properly meet Strand, but I know many of his poems well and I went to one his art openings and saw him there. His work is mostly surrealist and nostalgic, not my usual cup of joe – and yet I found much of it quite appealing and memorable.
December 1, 2014
Zach Whalen pointed out that it would probably be interesting to compare the reimplementations of A House of Dust that he did early this year and that I did more recently. Whalen’s work to reimplement historical systems is really excellent, by the way, and I in fact showed his animated GIF of “Kick that Habit Man” when I premiered Memory Slam, including a workalike of Gysin and Sommerville’s program and my version of the Knowles and Tenney poem, at NYU ITP’s Code Poetry Slam.
Just as Pinocchio became a real boy, so Megawatt (my generated novel for NaNoGenMo 2014) has become a real book.
The book will be for sale within a few days from the Harvard Book Store.
November 30, 2014
It happened to some extent with LISP, which certainly started out as a software programming language, and the LISP machines, which supported the language with hardware features.
Now, the Z-Machine, which was probably the first commercial virtual machine, developed in 1979 by Joel Berez and Marc Blank for Infocom, has been implemented in hardware using an FPGA. The Verilog code is available, so you can make your own if you like.
It all goes to show you … there is no software.
Note that for the Atari VCS / Atari 2600, only answers #3 and #4 apply, since developers didn’t use “engines” or even compilers, instead writing their code in assembly langauge. (Presumably the assemblers didn’t improve much over the years.) Also, the VCS had no firmware, flashable or otherwise; although refined versions of the hardware were produced over the years, such as the Atari 2600 Jr., such systems were optimized for cheaper manufacturing and didn’t improve performance.
November 29, 2014
Arts at MIT has a nice new article about my book #!, one that is very aptly titled. It’s by Sharon Lacey. I read from the book at the List Visual Arts Center at MIT on October 22.
My next reading, on December 2, will be at Google in the Authors@Google series.
There’s a nice article up at The Atlantic about Flash, written by the two authors of the new Platform Studies book, Anastasia Salter and John Murray. Their new book, I’ll remind you, is Flash: Building the Interactive Web.
The fruits of my National Novel Generation Month (NaNoGenMo) labors are now online; the Megawatt generator is available as a single 350-line Python file, while the novel it deterministically generates can be obtained as a PDF, megawatt.pdf or in epub format, megawatt.epub. From the program’s docstring and from the preface to the book:
Megawatt is the title of both a computer program, the source code
to which you may be reading, and the output of this program, which in
many ways like a standard novel and which you may instead be reading.
This note appears at the beginning of both.
November 27, 2014
November 26, 2014
Some kind comments about World Clock and NaNoGenMo in the article “The Strange World of Computer-Generated Novels” by Josh Dzieza.
Nick Montfort’s World Clock was the breakout hit of last year. A poet and professor of digital media at MIT, Montfort used 165 lines of Python code to arrange a new sequence of characters, locations, and actions for each minute in a day. He gave readings, and the book was later printed by the Harvard Book Store’s press. Still, Kazemi says reading an entire generated novel is more a feat of endurance than a testament to the quality of the story, which tends to be choppy, flat, or incoherent by the standards of human writing.
November 23, 2014
There is much to discuss and celebrate, such as the conclusion of the IF Comp – congrats to Sean M. Shore for his 1st place game Hunger Daemon, and to all the other winners. Besides that there’s the recent release of Hadean Lands by PR-IF stalwart Andew Plotkin. And, today there’s a front-page New York Times article about IF, and Twine games specifically. I’m sure I forgot some things we have to celebrate, so come by to see what those things are.
November 19, 2014
I’m doing two Central Texas readings from my book of programs and poems #! this weekend:
San Antonio: The Twig Book Shop
Friday, Nov 21 at 5pm
The Twig Book Shop
in The Pearl (306 Pearl Parkway, Suite 106)
Austin: Monkeywrench Books
Saturday, Nov 22 at 4pm
(110 N Loop Blvd E)