Sunday Links

A crackling fire, hot soup, Lord of the Rings, and you.

First, a Comic-con coming to Chicago in 2010? That ought to make up for the all the fun with Blago and Burris. Makes it being worth two hours away. Now if we can just bring Worldcon to Chicago, life would be ducky.

Bummer. Google Notebook is no longer in development, which means that if you’ve been thinking about using it, but haven’t gotten around to the site, it won’t let you, since they aren’t taking on new users. Luckily, those who do use it, like me, will still be able to use the service. We won’t just get new updates or anything. Sad.

Hey, Inanimate Alice fans! The British Council is looking into using the game as a vehicle for teaching English. To help boost this on, they’re asking people to play the game and rate how good it is. The more high ratings they get, the likelier the chance that we get new episodes. Go vote!

Writer’s Digest has a good article: "10 Disciplines for Fiction Writers". I found a good motivational tool these past couple of weeks.

And for fun:

I didn’t know that Mur Lafferty was a They Might Be Giants fan. She’s taken to writing flash stories for each of the tidbits in the "Fingertips" song from the TMBG album "Apollo 18". Right now, I’m banging my head, thinking, "Why didn’t I think of that." Of course, the last time I wrote a story based on a song, it became much longer than a flash…

And what’s Garfield minus Garfield? Actually, pretty hilarious, and slightly disturbing. Check it out!

Saturday Fun: Inanimate Alice

“My name is Alice. I am eight years old.”

And thus begins “Inanimate Alice“, an interactive story/game that I found through the Jay is Games website. Alice tells her story through moving snapshots, journaled words and haunting music. We never see Alice, but we know that she has lived all over the world, her parents may or may not be involved in some type of shadowy employment, and she keeps herself entertained through her ramped up phone/ipod gizmo called a “ba-xi”, which she uses to create a playmate called Brad.

Each chapter (there are currently four) contains a mini-game that’s not essential to win in order to finish the story. My favorite is Episode 3: Russia, where you collect nesting dolls. The narrative gets a little dark sometimes–from Alice’s anxiety as she waits for her parents to come home in Italy, to going through an abandoned laberinthine building in England. But the darkness doesn’t get too dark; just enough to add atmosphere to a wonderful story.

I wonder if anyone remembers “Madeline’s Mind”, an interactive game from Digital Planet that came out when Java was brand new. “Inanimate Alice” reminds me a lot of that old game in its haunting play, its feeling of loneliness. But Alice is beautiful in that we start to forget that it’s a just a game and we began to connect with her, all her fears and hopes, and her joy too.

Go play “Inanimate Alice“. Right now.