• "Trace Holden Caulfield's perambulations around Manhattan in "The Catcher in the Rye" to places like the Edmont Hotel, where Holden had an awkward encounter with Sunny the hooker; the lake in Central Park, where he wondered about the ducks in winter; and the clock at the Biltmore, where he waited for his date." Lovely.
  • "Dreamed up by American and European SF writers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries — at a time when Lamarckian evolutionary philosophy, which posits a tendency for organisms to become more perfect as they evolve (because such change is needed or wanted, e.g., by “life”), remained popular — many of the first fictional supermen were portrayed by their creators as examples of a more perfect species towards which humankind has supposedly long aimed. Radium-Age superman was, that is to say, homo superior, an evolved human whose superiority was mental, physical, or both." Lovely essay; a nice bit of SF history (and originally published on IO9, I believe).
  • "I saw these two videos of Rock Band Network tracks over at RBDLC and couldn’t resist sharing them. The first is a serious jazz tune: “Footloose and Fancy Free” by Bill Bruford’s Earthworks. The thing that’s interesting about this is that the “guitar” track is actually piano — something Guitar Hero has done in the past but Rock Band has generally shied away from. But what’s even neater is that the “vocal” track is actually a sax line, intended (one would assume) to be played with a sax or other horn; the “lyrics” are simply the notes being played." There's no question that building tunes for RBN is hard wokr, but god, this Bill Bruford video is stonking, and the sax-as-vocal idea is cracking.
  • "In five years, the coolest stuff on the iPad shouldn’t be Spider-Man 5, Ke$ha’s third album, or the ePub ver sion of Annabel Scheme. If that’s all we’ve got, it will mean that Apple suc ceeded at invent ing a new class of device… but we failed at invent ing a new class of content. In five years, the coolest stuff on the iPad should be… jeez, you know, I think it should be art."
  • Gorgeous retro-styled, genuinely-3D space combat strategy game for PC and (hurrah!) Xbox 360 Indie Games. Love the jaunty, Jetsons-y typefaces, the gentle piano music as combat plays out, the turn structure, and the hints at what's to come in the preview video. (Although: why anyone would make ships with weak bottoms (as opposed to bottoms & tops) in a genuinely 3D game seems strange. Gravity Bone was delightful, so this could be great; will buy it as soon as it's out.
  • "Over at The Border House, they’re having a bit of a backlash against the constant presence of Stubbly White Male Shepard in the marketing for the Mass Effect series.  (Seriously, who is that guy anyway?) Border House writers are posting details of their Shepards, and I was asked if I’d post mine. So, here is something that might give some idea." I'm rather enjoying this series, although this entry in it is probably my favourite.

Links & notes for this month