To help myself remember how I felt about various things that I finished
Sunday, April 19, 2015
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Every aspect of everything in my life is about magic. The study, exploration, and application of magic is the primary driver for everything I do. So this book caught my interest. I didn't expect much, I was thinking it would be something like a dark Harry Potter for grown ups, but this was something different. And what makes it different is its unusual approach to the nature of magic. In the story, practical magic has been largely forgotten, replaced with an ivory tower study of the theory of magic. Much of the story is about the exploration of this difference, which to me felt charged with a sort of symbolism. The most vivid parts of this fascinating book involve the descriptions of how magic actually takes place. The part that makes no sense is that it would seem that just about anyone in the story world with an inclination would be able to do some very useful magic... but as it goes, in stories, that just doesn't happen. The dark world of the faeries, and the dark side of using magic are what really keep the story going, and make it truly interesting. I really enjoyed this long book, from beginning to end. A filmed version is in production -- it is hard for me to imagine it will be captured properly, but you never know... sometimes, magic can surprise you.
Jesse Schell has taught Game Design and led research projects at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center (www.etc.cmu.edu) since 2002. Jesse is also the CEO of Pittsburgh’s largest videogame studio, Schell Games (www.schellgames.com), the author of The Art of Game Design: a book of lenses (www.artofgamedesign.com), and the former chairman of the International Game Developers Association (www.igda.org). In 2004, he was named one of the world’s Top 100 Young Innovators by Technology Review, MIT’s magazine of innovation.
Before coming to Carnegie Mellon, he was the Creative Director of the Disney Virtual Reality Studio, where he spent seven years as designer, programmer and manager on several projects for Disney theme parks and Disney Online. Before that, he was a software engineer at IBM and Bell Communications Research, and a writer, director, performer, juggler, comedian, and circus artist for both Freihofer's Mime Circus and the Juggler's Guild. You can email him at jesse(at)schellgames.com.