Book Review: Leviathan (AdventureGame Comics)

The book is a game, and the game is afoot!

Jason Shiga, the comic creator whose Meanwhile interactive comic book a few years back amazed me and my sons for its innovative use of a choose-your-own-story theme (complete with more than 3,800 choice possibilities), has a new book (and a new series, it seems) that builds on the concept that was in Meanwhile (which Shiga later turned into an app built on the concept of the Infinite Canvas idea of Scott McCloud).

Leviathan: AdventureGame Comics is a non-linear tour of story that is wrapped up in a sort of game, where the reader makes choices by following the “tubes” that lead to different pages in the book. Sometimes, Shiga leaves places for the reader to choose their own page, leaping back into the story at random points. Some pages have multiple story lines grouped together, with “tubes” running in different directions. Some pages are maps, with streets that lead to other sections of the book.

You never know what you’re going to land on when you turn to a page.

Here’s the book blurb:

Leviathan is set in a medieval coastal village, where residents live in fear of a giant sea creature. Your goal as a reader is simple: defeat the Leviathan! As you wander through the open world, the town’s backstory is revealed. You can attempt to visit the library to try and learn why the Leviathan destroyed it years ago. You can stop by the castle to discover the town was once riddled with crime and theft—and how that’s stopped as the Leviathan will wreak havoc on the town for the smallest misdeeds. If you’re lucky, you may find your way to the old wizard who may possess the one thing that could keep the Leviathan at bay. But not everything is as it appears in this village. Can you discover the secrets and stop the Leviathan before it’s too late?

I’ve been spending time wandering the book, zipping through the pages, following the adventures but have yet to find the ending point. I suspect, for many fans of Interactive Fiction, the end is not the point, anyway — it’s the journey that counts.

I could see middle school readers, in particular, enjoying Shiga’s new book (and Meanwhile, too) and its creative use of comic panels and narrative tubing makes for a very different kind of reading experience.

Here is Shiga, talking about the book (I can’t even begin to fathom how he planned it out and put it all together!):

Peace (connecting the tubes),
Kevin

Write Out: Not Just A Tourist Passing Through (Tom Wessels)

Tom Wessels Quote

As we come to an end of Write Out 2022, I am still thinking on different texts about the natural world in light of the many outdoor activities we did during the two weeks of the project. In the NWPStudio space, a shared article some weeks back led to a mention of Tom Wessel’s Reading The Forested Landscape (A Natural History of New England), which I then borrowed from the library.

I scanned and read Wessel, and slowed down at times to think deeper, and I discovered lots of interesting tidbits about how to “read” a forest (and in New England, where I live, in particular). This ending passage from Wessel seemed like it had a resonance about understanding the lands around us, so I pulled the quote out.

Peace (and landscapes),
Kevin

Write Out Collaborative Poems

A Daily Create for DS106 and for Write Out the other day invited people to add a “small poem” to a collaborative slideshow, with a nature theme. This video gathers them together.

Peace (and poems),
Kevin

Write Out: Poems From Listening To A Landscape

Listening to the Landcape poems

As Write Out 2022 wraps up this weekend, I am revisiting a piece of music I composed and shared right before the start of the two week inquiry into place. The piece of music — A Quiet Walk In Four Paths: Listening To A Landscape — was inspired by a piece of writing by my NWP friend Bryan C. (read more).

Days later, I was listening again, and realized that each path or movement or section could inspiration for a small poem, so I set about over the course of a few days of Write Out to write the poems, and then gathered them together into another music video, where each poem is layered on each path/section of the composition.

Peace (walking the world),
Kevin

Write Out At Spar: Making Notebooks, Seed Bombs and More

We held a live event for Write Out yesterday afternoon on the grounds of the Springfield Armory National Historic Site. Participants made science journals with stick bindings, formed Seed Bombs and launched them into a pollination area, and measured and gathered data on temperature differences for an inquiry into Urban Tree Canopies.

Peace (tossing it),
Kevin

Before The WMWP/SPAR WriteOut Event

Sun Shade Temperature Data Collage

Later today, the Western Massachusetts Writing Project and the Springfield Armory National Historic Site is hosting a live event for the national Write Out project. We’ll be at the Springfield Armory grounds, facilitating activities for educators on Climate Change, STEAM, Data Journals and more. It’s going to be a beautiful day and our two hour session will be outdoors, using the park property as our classroom.

One of the activities will be centered on understanding the impact of tree plantings as part of heat mitigation efforts and Urban Tree Canopies. We’ll be doing some measuring of temperatures, and creating data charts. I figured I should try it out myself, so yesterday, I did a little research around my own home. (see above).

There really is a huge difference between shade and sun areas, even during this Autumn time of year when things are cooling off.

Meanwhile, this morning’s Daily Create for DS106 was to design a launcher for Seed Bombs, which are made of special clay and hyperlocal seeds. We’re going to be making and launching Seed Bombs today at our event, but I went creative with another saxophone music seed for the design prompt.

Sax Seed Bomb Launcher

Peace (and plantings),
Kevin