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Posts by Thomas Knowlton

NYPLarcade: Jenova Chen & thatgamecompany

What is NYPLarcade? Think of it as a book club, but for video games. Together we'll play, watch, and discuss a selected title (following the schedule listed below) each week at the Mid-Manhattan Library.

Our first series will explore the experimental video games of thatgamecompany's Jenova Chen, starting with this year's critically-acclaimed Journey, a digital pilgrimage that can 

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Game Review: Unstoppable Gorg

Futuremark's Unstoppable Gorg is a refreshing take on the tower defense genre that swaps fixed turrets for rotating orbits, tweaks the typical resource management mechanic, and borrows its aesthetics straight from a 1950s science fiction B-movie.

What will probably grab players first are the game’s stunning production values and campy, overacted cut-scenes that generally feature one of three arch-villains: seductive femme 

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Mystery Summer

Films of Krzysztof Kieslowski

Director Krzysztof Kieslowski, although best known for his Three Colors trilogy (Blue, White, and Red) and the French/Polish production Double Life of Véronique, produced the vast majority of his work in 

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Films of Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog's singular, uncompromising career in filmmaking spans over four decades and has included feature films, documentaries, and even two works (Little Dieter Needs to Fly and Rescue Dawn) that offer, respectively, a nonfiction and fictional retelling of the same event.

Regardless of genre, each of his films seems preoccupied with the place of humans 

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Science Fiction eBooks: Now Available for Kindle!

If you missed the big news, The New York Public Library now offers free ebooks for your Kindle! To celebrate, I've put together a somewhat exhaustive list of science fiction ebook titles to make it easy to browse them at a glance.

Click to go directly to any author: Douglas Adams, Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, China Miéville, Kim 

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NaNoWriMo 2011 at The New York Public Library

Every November, thousands of aspiring authors and literary daredevils from around the world attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days as part of National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short.)

The New York Public Library is hosting NaNoWriMo Write-ins all over the city, creating an opportunity for you to meet other participants, work on your novel, and be cheered on to the lexical finish line. Some do it for the digital certificate and sense of achievement, while other NaNoWrimo novelists eventually go on to have their works published. Why you write, what you write, and how 

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Reader's Den: "Software" by Rudy Rucker (Discussion #4)

Thank you for joining us for the June edition of Reader's Den. We hope that you have enjoyed reading (and discussing) Software by Rudy Rucker and that you will return for E.M. Forster's A Room With a View in July!

Some final discussion questions:

    What did you think of 
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Reader's Den: "Software" by Rudy Rucker (Discussion #3)

For our third installment of this month's Reader's Den, let's take a look at what Rudy Rucker's Software has to say about humans, technology, and what it means to exist.

In several places in the text, the author explores the idea of software being analogous to the soul. When Sta-Hi meets an attractive robot-remote stewardess on his way to the moon, she gives him a crash course in this new, technological metaphysics:

"You wanted to know who I am. I gave you one answer. A robot-remote. A servo-unit operated by a ... Read More ›

Reader's Den: "Software" by Rudy Rucker (Discussion #2)

Thanks for tuning in for the second discussion of Reader's Den for June! This month we are discussing the science fiction classic Software by Rudy Rucker, which is the first book in The Ware Tetralogy.

This book exemplifies a style of writing Rucker has termed "transrealism." In his 1983 Transrealist Manifesto, he argues that the tropes of science fiction can be viewed as symbols for the "modes of perception," i.e. time 

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Reader's Den: "Software" by Rudy Rucker (Discussion #1)

[[{"fid":"305661","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"450","width":"300","style":"float:right","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Welcome to the June edition of Reader's Den at The New York Public Library!

This month we will discuss Rudy Rucker's Software (1982), the first book in the Ware Tetralogy science fiction series, which also includes Wetware (1988), Freeware 

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Sci-Fi Summer Reading 2011

Summer Reading is not just for aliens, kids, or cyborgs anymore! Here at Mid-Manhattan Library, we are gearing up for a universe of different events for older teens and adults this summer.

NEW! You can also log all of your summer books, movies, music, and even video games by creating an account at

NEW! Follow us on Tumblr for free sci-fi downloads throughout June, July, & August. Take 

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Best Creative Commons Music of 2010, Part 2

For the first half of this list, see Best Creative Commons Music of 2010, Part 1 featuring recent releases by Pixelord, Girl Talk, Geotic, Kristin Hersh, and Gepel.  As with the initial post, all of the music below is available as a free download under a Creative Commons license.

Also, if you are interested in learning more, sign up for the Friday, March 18 Creative 

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Best Creative Commons Music of 2010, Part 1

All of the music below is available as a free download under a Creative Commons license. To learn more, sign up for the Friday, January 21 Creative Commons class at Mid-Manhattan Library.

1) Pixelord - Lucid Freaks Pt. 1 & 2 (Error Broadcast)

One of the most exciting stories of the past year was the growing visibility of Russian electronic music. Pitchfork highlighted many of the emerging artists in a

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NaNoWriMo 2010 at The New York Public Library

Did you know that November is National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo for short?

Now in its 12th year, this annual event challenges aspiring writers, closet novelists, and literary hobbyists all around the world to write 50,000 words in only 30 days.  Those who complete this daunting task can submit their work through the NaNoWriMo web site before midnight on November 30th and receive a digital certificate celebrating their achievement.  Some participants have even gone on to publish their works 

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