Carly Rae Jepsen just reached number 1 on the charts with Call me Maybe. The song’s success is the result of a viral internet meme.
Over the last few weeks the song lyrics have appeared on business cards, advice animal macros (intersecting with other memes along the way), lip-dubbed by Obama (not really by Obama), sung by Colin Powell (yes, really by Powell), and the video was covered by a Corgi.
That’s apart from Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and other celebs who have contributed to the viral plague of maybe faster than a zombie apocalypse.
The spread has been so impressive that I wonder if a PR company is toasting each other with champagne today. Either that or Carly Rae Jepsen owes the internet a beer.
A friend is writing a novel and had been considering using the idea of a game. I advised her against because it’s a well-established trope. While there may be some mileage left in the idea I think anyone considering fiction in this area should be aware of the work already done on this subject.
Here’s a list of the ones I immediately thought of but I bet there are more.
YA novels about games
- Epic by Conor Kostick Everyone on New Earth plays the computer game ‘Epic’ and game currency is used in the real world. In a gesture of protest against the system, Erik creates a female swashbuckler character and spends all his ability points on beauty… with surprising results.
- The Homeward Bounders by Diana Wynne Jones When Jamie trespasses in The Old Fort, a group of mysterious robed figures treat him like a game piece and discard him to ‘the bounds’. Pulled from world to world as a pawn of the gamers known only as Them, Jamie eventually makes friends and allies who will help him challenge Them at their own game.
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins Katniss Everdeen lives in a post-apocalyptic worldwith limited resources. The Hunger Games are an annual televised event where the Capitol chooses one boy and one girl from each district to fight to the death.
- Invitation to the Game by Monica Hughes In the future, machines and robots perform most jobs. Lisse and her friends are unemployable after graduation and, desperate for something to do, compete in The Game – a secret government initiative. As they learn the rules of the game they discover their government has ambitious plans for solving the over-population problem.
- Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett When Johnny plays space-invader style video game Only You Can Save Mankind, the aliens surrender and he finds himself inside the game, where he has to find common ground with the alien civilisation and work out exactly what they’re all supposed to do now.
Adult novels about games
- The Broken World by Tim Etchells The Broken World takes the form of a guide to an imaginary computer game, crossed with a slacker love story. As the walkthrough consumes more and more of the narrator’s time, his life is slowly coming apart at the seams
- Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card Children are recruited to play war games, preparing for an alien invasion. Will the government find their Alexander before the aliens arrive, or do they have another secret objective?
- Phoenix Cafe by Gwyneth Jones Earth after the arrival of the ‘Aleutian’ aliens is a strange place and Catherine, the human reincarnation of the third captain of the alien ship, a strange person. Through her friendship with human aristocrat Misha Connolly she discovers the Phoenix Cafe with its psychedelic games. But Misha, Catherine and the game itself are not exactly what they seem.
- The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks Gurgeh is The Culture’s best game player recruited by Special Circumstances to play the game of Azad in the Empire of Azad to impress the foreign civilisation with the Culture’s prowess. In the Empire skill at the game equals success in life and failure can be deadly.
- The Running Man by Richard Bachman aka Stephen King Ben Richards needs money to buy medicine for his daughter and agrees to appear on The Running Man, the Games Network’s most popular, lucrative, and dangerous program.
- This Is Not A Game by Walter John Williams Trapped in Jakarta by a series of disasters Dagmar recruits the international Alternative Reality Game (ARG) community to help her escape. Their involvement inspires her to create a new game but then the real world begins to intrude on the game world.
I’m sorry it’s been a while since I last updated, I’ve been busy with life and work, but I know that’s not a real excuse. I do think about things to post on this blog and then forget to post them. I’ll try and turn over a new leaf.
Meanwhile here’s a video I found on YouTube, made by someone who liked the Hex books and designed this piece of animation of a flitter in a dark citywith skyscrapers and bridges. The flitter part starts at about seven minutes in.
I am now on Twitter!
You can find me by going to the Twitter site here: http://twitter.com/rhi_lassiter
Follow me and I shall drop all sorts of bird crumbs for you… Although with the character limit they will be crumbs, not loaves of wisdom.
Last night at the Clarke award a nice young woman with a video camera asked me the following question:
If you could live in any science fiction universe which one would you choose?
Immediately my head was filled with places I definitely do NOT want to live such as Peter F. Hamilton’s Night’s Dawn universe. I stammered out an answer about Tanith Lee’s Drinking Sapphire Wine world but that’s a worryingly hedonistic answer. So I’m throwing it open to my readers. If you could move anywhere in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, where would you like to live?
It’s been a while since I listed ten science fiction titles. Those are still valid but I thought I’d add to them by listing ten current SF authors (people writing good work right now) who I’d recommend.
- Greg Egan, author of Permutation City, Schild’s Ladder and Quarantine and other titles
- Mary Gentle, author of Golden Witchbreed, the White Crow quartet and other titles
- Peter F. Hamilton, author of the Night’s Dawn Trilogy and other titles
- Gwyneth Jones, author of the Aleutian trilogy and other novels
- Ursula Le Guin, author of The Dispossessed, The Left Hand of Darkness, Four Ways to Forgiveness and other titles
- Rachel Pollack, author of Temporary Agency and Unquenchable Fire and other titles
- Adam Roberts, author of Stone, Salt and Gradisil and other titles
- Michael Marshall Smith, author of Only Forward, Spares and other titles, now writing horror novels under the name Michael Marshall.
- Neal Stephenson, author of The Diamond Age, The Big U and other titles
- John Scalzi, author of Old Man’s War and other titles
Please note that these are adult SF titles and as such may contain adult content including scenes of violence and/or sexual activity. Rachel Pollack is also recommended as an author of LGBT fiction – another list I should write at some point.
Bad Blood has been longlisted for the 2009 Manchester Book Awards. The shortlist will be decided by the young people of Manchester in November and there will be an award ceremony at the City of Manchester Stadium, Wed March 11, 2009, for the shortlisted authors.
Last week my beautiful silver tabby cat Ghost was killed by a car. I had her for nine years and it’s still difficult to believe she’s gone. She will be very much missed.
My black cat Shadow, Ghost’s sister, is still with me and we are comforting each other. Anyone who has ever been owned by a cat will know how I’m feeling right now.
Happy new year to everyone. I spent Christmas mostly with family and most of that time eating. Mmm, Christmas food. My mother makes the most fantastic hazelnut roast for us veggies and it wouldn’t be Christmas without it.
This year I plan to submit another contemporary novel, another horror novel and my first adult novel. I also want to try and get at least one book published through print-on-demand, because it’s an excellent way of getting something published that wouldn’t normally get seen. I even have something that never found a publisher although I was very proud of it and it would be nice to see it in print. I’m also planning to get other authors on board an edited collection I’d like to do (still very secret so I’m not announcing the title yet.)
Revisions to Bad Blood should be finished soon and that comes out this autumn. I also want to write another Super Zeroes book, so stay tuned for more news about that.
I am also determined to escape the clutches of uk2net and remove once and for all their banner over my website. That, I think, will be new years resolution number one.
Years seem to go by faster as you get older and come February 2007 I will be passing the Rubicon of 30. But first there is Christmas and I must do all those Christmassy things like making lists, buying presents, putting up the decorations and planning parties.
I have less time than usual this year because in addition to writing I have a part-time job working at a local university. So I’m not sure when everything’s going to get done by. Not to mention the Armadillo that will need to be finished soon and some writing projects that need to be turned into official submissions. I’m actually not under contract at the moment for the first time in years, which is curiously liberating and yet makes me feel that the pressure is on to make sure that the next book I write is as good as the one I’ve just finished.
For those not yet in the know, that’s Bad Blood, forthcoming from OUP in 2007. I’m incredibly pleased with it and with myself. I feel as if my writing has reached a new level, but this makes it all the more difficult to decide where to direct my energy next.
People often ask writers where their ideas come from. Seriously, the problem isn’t having the ideas – it’s deciding which will fly. I have something called my ideas file in which I keep draft submissions and draft chapters for ideas I’ve had but I’m nit yet sure I’m ready to write, really want to write, or feel as if they generally need a bit more time percolating before they’re ready to serve. The trouble I have at the moment is that my head is full of ideas that need to be unloaded into the file and I don’t have enough time to pour them out. Ah, if only we had neural nanonics and could just plug a USB pen drive into our brains…