I decided to re-read it because I was looking for material from which to construct my one-on-one role playing games I play with my thirteen-year-old grandson.
Long story short, the novel was too involved for me to mine anything useful for what I had in mind. But having only a vague recollection of the book, the re-read was thoroughly enjoyable.
Imagine a future where role playing games have evolved with such sophistication, they can be played out live in a huge, high-tech amusement park. Games are big business because Dream Park, which puts a bunch of money into them to begin with, recoups its dough with movie, book, and other game deals based on the live-action game. The players must be in relatively good shape since, although lives are never lost and most of the danger is simulated, they must still withstand the stresses of “camping out” in a (simulated) wild environment for several days amounting to hard labor. There are also personal and professional reputations on the line.
I follow the blog of African-American author Steven Barnes, largely because his commentaries on writing were recommended by another author. Mr. Barnes has an an impressive set of credentials and has written novels with such Science Fiction luminaries as Larry Niven (look right) and the late Jerry Pournelle. But while I find some of what Barnes presents on his blog interesting and useful, I can’t say I agree with him about everything (although to be fair, I’m sure he wouldn’t agree with me on a lot of things as well).
However, in a recent blog post of his called What Are You Offering the World?, he made two seemingly unrelated points that I found highly useful. I’ll present them over two blog posts here because each topic deserves individual attention.
The first is about masculinity. Now, given many of the topics upon which Barnes writes, I can reasonably assume he leans more left on the social and political scale than I do, probably quite a bit more, but here’s the important part. The important part is that we shouldn’t stereotype (and I’ve been as guilty of this as anyone) and here’s why.
I read a wide variety of information sources, including conservative and liberal news, social media, and blogging outlets, in an effort to stay informed. I find that no one bias tends to render the world as it truly exists (in my opinion), so I try to find a balance between them all.
Finding that balance isn’t easy, since the creators of these information sources don’t seem to want to understand any viewpoint that differs even slightly from their own.
Okay, that probably isn’t fair, but that’s how it seems as I do my reading.
I put an image at the top of this blog post to illustrate the relative biases of the significant news agencies (I don’t necessarily agree with the exact positioning of some of these “elements,” but overall, it’s a pretty good indicator).