Interview 25: Joshua AC Newman on Science Fiction and Gaming

Kevin gave Joshua A.C. Newman a call last week to talk about science fiction and how it intersects with gaming. As you can see from the show notes, what follows is a sci-fi bonanza. Enjoy!

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5 Responses to “Interview 25: Joshua AC Newman on Science Fiction and Gaming”

  1. Kevin Weiser Says:

    For those curious, I got 100/100 on this “final”. Here were my professor’s comments:

    “It was very enjoyable to listen to your honest conversation about sf. You made many excellent points about the definition and the difficulty/issues with categorizing. The conversation showed the depth of your knowledge about sf. I am glad to learn that most of the stories were new to you. I couldn’t really appreciate some of the discussion of gaming, but I enjoyed your observations about the attitudes needed to keep the humanity in the games. That was a great story about your school mate who ran into Adams in a pub while hiking in Europe. Wonderful.

    I so hope that you go on to teach one day. I am still very much a pen and paper teacher (reading and writing), but your skills on the computer would appeal to most students. You certainly have the knowledge you need.”

    Personally, I think Joshua made most of the points and observations, but, hey, an A’s an A!

  2. Zeronine Says:

    Excellent Kevin,

    Congratz on the A! Nice branch from the usual.

    I’ve previously read almost every story that you guys referenced and largely agree with the perspectives however I do think there was a bit of over-analysis in some stories e.g. Tom Goodwin dropping the ball on the The Cold Equation because the Captain could have jettisoned other materials besides the girl from the pod The mission’s primary objective was to deliver all of the cargo.

    Another theory that I think overreached was that there is a difference in basis between sic-fi and fantasy. To paraphrase, scifi is world-centric and fantasy is character centric in regards to the implications the complications conflict. You could swizzle this all over the thematic maps of sci-fi and fantasy stories although since sic-fi does encompass a vaster scope of time and space it seems the impact on worlds and cultures is greater but truly great sci-fi will tell the story through the lens of characters, Foundation by Asimov comes to mind. The take on the cast sounds empirically driven.

    Undoubtedly, everyone forms their opinions from the works they’ve consumed. If you haven’t already, check out the work of Thomas Disch, On Wings of Song and Camp Concentration to start. For me, he is one of the greatest and has a very unique voice in the scifi medium.

    You should also check out a superb rare work called None But Lucifer by Horace L. Gold and L. Sprague de Camp.

    Fascinating story with an equally fascinating background of its creation.

  3. JDCorley Says:

    The Cold Equation discussion I think leaves out a big question: why roleplayers will work their ass off to find a way out of moral dilemmas instead of engaging them in a dramatically satisfying way. “If you believe it was really your father’s ghost, why wouldn’t you believe in what your father’s ghost tells you?” And so on.

    This urge is highly developed in my current group, I think because we all have ridiculously morally challenging jobs, involving tough educational situations, child abuse, Alzheimer’s, etc. We don’t want to make a tough choice at the end of the week. We want to overcome, triumph, win and win big. When someone unjustly suffers, we don’t necessarily need a bad guy to hate – the fictional world can be very dark on its own – but we don’t want it to be our fault and if suffering HAS to be our fault, we throw up our hands. Fuck it, why pretend to be someone else at the end of the week if that person’s trapped worse than I am in a worse situation?

    Great show, very thought provoking (as you can see.)

  4. Zeronine Says:

    JDCorley: very thought provoking post!

  5. The Walking Eye Podcast » Blog Archive » Dog Eat Dog Says:

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