Thursday, July 07, 2011

Adventureland and Makers

I find myself recommending Cory Doctorow's Makers to people all of the time. It's really a spectacular novel on a lot of levels, but the reason I keep recommending it is because it presents, in fiction, a world I can imagine, a world shaped by the new forms of social media and technology that now undergird much of how we live our common lives. What if, for example, someone invents a theme park where all the elements of the park are collectively designed, on the spot, by those who visit the park? And what if a computer helps sync up multiple locations so the theme park represents a kind of collective subconscious gestalt of all visitors?

And what if that's just one part of what happens in the novel?

You can purchase the book through Amazon and in your local bookstore, but Doctorow is very innovative in terms of copyright, and he provides the novel for free download here: Makers by Cory Doctorow.

Yesterday we spent the day at Adventureland in Altoona, Iowa. There's something leisurely about spending all day at a theme park. Disney, for example, knows you'll probably make it to about nine rides in a full day at the park. The rest of the time, you're walking, snacking, and of course, waiting in long lines. Adventureland's lines aren't that long, but they're not quite as enjoyable as Disney lines. However, Adventureland is an established theme park, with lots of great shade, and of course, everything about such a park is new and wonderful when you're visiting with your five and three year old.

So here's a fun imaginative exercise I encourage in all readers. Read Makers, then go to a theme park. I guarantee you'll think differently about culture, the "seriousness" of games and play, and much more.

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