Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Can Video Games Be Art?

No. Sorry.

Well, that's what noted movie reviewer Roger Ebert says. Video games are scripted to have a story with alternate story lines and outcomes, so they have potential to be art, if any literature does. Video games also have visual components, so they have potential to be art, if any visual media does. And they have audio components....bad ones, usually, but they have them.

With all this pent-up potential brewing, why does Roger Ebert think they can never be art.

Here is Mr. Ebert's article, videos games can never be art in his column at his home stomping grounds, the Chicago Sun-Times.

It is not surprising that consideration about this is crippled a bit by the difficulty of defining art...you know it when you see it, but people see differently.

Mr. Ebert invited a thoughtful video designer, Ms. Kellee Santiago, to be the foil for this discussion...in fact, so that it can be a discussion rather than an edict. He provided a link to her 15-minuted video on video games, which was made prior to Ebert's stand on the matter. She provides three examples that she considers artful and compares the maturation of video games to the progression of cave drawings to art.

That's said, Ebert remains firm on the matter: a video game is a game and will never be art, but concedes that never is a long time:

"One obvious difference between art and games is that you can win a game. It has rules, points, objectives, and an outcome. Santiago might cite a immersive game without points or rules, but I would say then it ceases to be a game and becomes a representation of a story, a novel, a play, dance, a film. Those are things you cannot win; you can only experience them."

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Van Gogh's Complete Letters

This is not particularly a fiction post, but rather something for anyone interested in literature and the arts. The Guardian online (UK) has a review of an exhaustive translation of Van Gogh's letters and letters received by him. He wrote often, particularly to his brother, Theo. His letters apparently are quite revealing about his creative process:

"In its capaciousness, the book also reminds us of a fundamental truth about Van Gogh: his ambition as a painter depended on words to give it focus and direction. We see this most obviously in the correspondence with Theo...."

The books contain the original letters (902) up to day he shot himself, a translation into English (or other languages) and exhaustive annotations about the letters. The set of books is expensive, about $600 USD, but they may be viewed online: Van van Gogh--The Letters, including a guide and an index of the letters.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Amusing Graphical Look At Twist Endings

Here is an amusing graphical representation of twist endings, plays in this case. Across the top of the graphic are various story ending types, such as deus ex machina, or story elements, such as a MacGuffin. Across the left side are various genres. The title is "Harvet Ismuth's 42 Essential 3rd Act Twists." This was produced by Internet cartoonist Dresden Codak, a pseudonym for Aaron Diaz (which could be confused with the Latin singer/actor of the same name). Codak also has a one off Caveman Science Fiction cartoon.

Bonus: rhetorical piece about the future of traditional book publishing, on the Galleycat blog of Media Bistro.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Storytelling Via Sandpainting

Here is an extraordinary talent at work telling a vivid story via sandpainting to a live audience. She is Kseniya Simonova, a contestant in a Ukrainian version of a "Got Talent" reality TV show. The link provides the background information and a link to a YouTube video of her performance. The sandpainting tells the story of Germany's defeat of the Ukraine in WWII. Turn on the sound because it is an important element of the story.

This video has had a lot of traction on the Internet, but if you haven't seen it, it's worth a look (several minutes).

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2009 Chesley Awards for SF/F Artists

The Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists (ASFA) has named the winners of the 2009 Chesley Awards. Here are a selection of the winners:

  • Best Cover Illustration - Hardcover: Donato Giancola for A Book of Wizards edited by Marvin Kaye (SFBC, April 2008)
  • Best Cover Illustration - Paperback: John Picacio for Fast Forward 2 edited by Lou Anders (Pyr, October 2008)
  • Best Cover Illustration - Magazine: Matts Minhagen for Clarkesworld (April 2008)
  • Best Interior Illustration: Donato Giancola for The Wraith by J. Robert Lennon (Playboy, 11/2008)
  • Best 3-D: Vincent Villafranca for Otherworldly Procession (Bronze)

You can see the winners in the other categories and all the nominees here. Unrelated to the award, is an artist gallery that seems to be in its fledgling stage, but has quite a few samples.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Spectrum Award for SF/F/H Art

Flash Fiction Online has always been proud of the original art work used to illustrate its first-publication stories. This art was created by FFO's artist-in-residence, Rich Ware. The speculative fiction industry recognized the value added to SF/Fantasy/Horror publications by graphic artists through the Spectrum 16 Award, established in 1993. The 16 refers to a gold and silver award for each of 8 categories: advertising, book, comics, conceptual art, dimensional, editorial, institutional and unpublished.

Here are the winners, including the images. (It was not clear to me whether they reckon this to be the 2008 or 2009 winners.)

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Collaborative Drawing on the Web

In December '08 I did a post on EtherPad, which can be used to collaborate with other writers over the web. Now, there is the Rate My Drawings site that has a similar "DrawChat" facility where you can collaboratively view and edit drawings while chatting. You can do this in a public or private web chat room.

This web site is primarily a critiquing site for artists and you have to be a member and have "contributed" at least one drawing to use the chat facility. You'll have to investigate the artist's rights issues before using it.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Vintage Graphics, Book Deals and Eclectic Blogs

From various illustrators and 1890's storybooks, some quality vintage color and B&W graphics, thought to be in the public domain. See Grandma's Graphics.

It's easy to get a book deal these days; just become a Veep candidate.

Eclectic blogs: 3 Quarks Daily and Shaken and Stirred (Bond Girl).

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