The SFFaudio Podcast #110 – READALONG: Dream Park by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #110 – Scott and Jesse talk with Julie Davis about the Audible Frontiers audiobook Dream Park by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes.

Talked about on today’s show:
Scott’s virtual velvet lounge (has a jazz band), Dream Park, Jerry Pournelle, Stefan Rudnicki, Scott ranked it 3/5 stars on GoodReads.com, zombies, cargo cult, murder mystery, World Of Warcraft, LARPing, the wikipedia entry for Dream Park, The Barsoom Project, Seventh Victim by Robert Sheckley, Dungeons And Dragons, The California Voodoo Game, Dream Park is much more interesting than DisneyWorld, Niven novels have robotic personal interactions, misogyny, The Mote In God’s Eye, Lucifer’s Hammer, Around The World In Eighty Days by Jules Verne |READ OUR REVIEW|, the murder provides a plot, California, holographic technology, H.P. Lovecraft, Alex Griffin, “The South Seas Treasure Game”, cementing relationships through gaming, Zork, “open mailbox”, Infocom, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Baldur’s Gate, Tolkien-derived adventure play, the least interesting part of Dungeons & Dragons is the mechanics, too many players (characters), Call of Cthulhu (role-playing game), pen and paper RPGs can be incredibly immersive, consensual hallucination, William Gibson, Community‘s spoof of Dungeons and Dragons, The IT Crowd, Fallout 2, Fallout 3, avoid the “Dunwich Building”, Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn, RPG mechanics can get in the way of RPG storytelling, reality game shows, The Amazing Race, 1980s Dungeons & Dragons hysteria, Mazes And Monsters, comic book hysteria, video game hysteria, StarCraftas a lifestyle, The Guild, the Afterword of Dream Park is missing from the audiobook, Papua New Guinea, Inuit mythology, Mars, has time been kind to Dream Park?, Audible Frontiers, “this is weakest Larry Niven book I’ve ever read”, The Dungeon Master: The Disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III by William Dear, Columbine by Dave Cullen |READ OUR REVIEW|, psychopath, the problem of psychopathy, parental responsibility, The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, Minority Report, gesture control, the Spruce Goose, The Aviator, Martin Scorsese, WWII, HBO’s The Pacific, World War II in HD, the Battle of Saipan, HBO’s Band Of Brothers, Australia, Chicago, Museum Of Science And Industry, submarines, San Francisco, Get Lamp, Helvetica (a documentary on a font), Futura, Gothic doesn’t look gothic in Helvetica, narrators are like the fonts of audiobooks,

ACE BOOKS - Dream Park by Larry Niven And Steve Barnes

ACE BOOKS - TPB - Dream Park by Larry Niven

ACE BOOKS - Dream Park by Larry Niven - Interior Illustrations

Steve Barnes Signature in DREAM PARK

Dream Park Spine

Posted by Jesse Willis

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11 thoughts to “The SFFaudio Podcast #110 – READALONG: Dream Park by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes”

  1. CAST OF CHARACTERS DRAMATIS PERSONAE
    The Creators
    RICHARD LOPEZ: The world’s most respected Game Master, co-author and presently monitor of the South
    Seas Treasure game.
    MITSUKO (Chi-chi) LOPEZ: Richard’s wife, partner, co-author, and public representative.

    The Players
    ACACIA (Panthesilea) GARCIA: Experienced fantasy game player. Warrior.
    TONY (Fortunato) MCWHIRTER: Inexperienced gamer, and Acacia’s guest. Thief.
    CHESTER HENDERSON: Famed Lore Master, leader of the South Seas Treasure party.
    GINA (Semiramis) PERKINS: Experienced fantasy gamer. Cleric.
    ADOLPH (Ollie, or Frankish Oliver) NORLISS: Experienced fantasy gamer. Warrior.
    GWEN (Guinevere) RYDER: Fantasy gamer, and Ollie’s fiance. Cleric.
    MARY-MARTHA (Mary-em) CORBETT: Experienced and highly eccentric gamer. Warrior.
    FELICIA (Dark Star) MADDOX: Experienced gamer. Thief.
    BOWAN THE BLACK: Dark Star’s partner, an experienced Gamer. Magic User.
    ALAN LEIGH: Experienced fantasy game player. Magic user.
    S.J. WATERS: Novice gamer. Engineer.
    OWEN BRADDON: Elderly, moderately experienced gamer. Cleric.
    MARGIE BRADDON: Experienced elderly gamer. Engineer.
    HOLLY FROST: Aspiring novice gamer. Warrior.
    GEORGE EAMES: Moderately experienced gamer. Warrior.
    LARRY GARRET: Moderately experienced gamer. Cleric.
    RUDY DREAGER: Moderately experienced Gamer. Engineer.
    HARVEY (Kasan Maibang) WAYLAND: Professional actor. Guide.
    NIGORAI: Native hearer and spy. (Actor.)
    KAGOIANO: Native bearer. (Actor.)
    KIBUGONAI: Native bearer. (Actor.)
    PIGIBIDI: Native chieftain. (Actor.)
    LADY JANET: Damsel in distress. (Actor.)
    GARY (the Griffin) TEGNER: Novice Gamer. Thief. Alias for Alex Griffin.

    The Dream Park Personnel
    ALEX GRIFFIN: Head of Dream Park Security.
    HARMONY: Dream Park Director of Operations.
    MILLICENT SUMMERS: Griffin’s secretary.
    MARTY BOBBICK: Griffin’s assistant.
    ALBERT RICE: Dream Park security guard.
    SKIP O’BRIEN: Dream Park research psychologist.
    MELINDA O’BRIEN: Skip’s wife.
    MS. GAIL METESKY: Dream Park liaison with the International Fantasy Gaming Society.
    ARLAN MYERS: I.F.G.S. official.
    DWIGHT WELLES: Dream Park computer tech.
    LARRY CHICON: Dream Park computer tech. Together with Welles and the Game Masters, he monitors the Gaming Central computer.
    NOVOTNEY: Cowles Modular Community’s resident doctor.
    MELONE: Dream Park security guard.

    DREAM PARK - Afterword

  2. Niven is a really nice guy, but the man is super-shy. I mean, you take me at my geekiest time of life when I was least socialized, and I was still a zillion times more outgoing. He does not give anybody “creepy” vibes, and with men and women he knows well from the old days of fandom he’s a very cool person.

    Of course, female LA fandom still remembers his classic “I own the land under this hotel” defense of their collective honor, when the hotel was going to throw the fannish ladies all out as being obviously all prostitutes. So no, he’s not misogynistic, just very very geeky.

  3. I loved the discussion of the fear that video games make people lose touch with reality. It turns out this line goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks. In Plato’s time, epic poetry was the established, “classical” art form, and theater was new. Plato warned that theater was dangerous because it had too much sex and violence, it was addictive (or words to that effect), and it made people lose touch with reality.

    Paul Cantor lays it all out in his talk Culture as Pop Culture from a series of lectures given for the Von Mises Institute. (Warning: some libertarian political content–which will probably make you lose touch with reality!) The whole 10-talk series is freely downloadable as audio, and I strongly recommend it.

    In this talk, Cantor looks at the long history of art critics getting it completely wrong when new media come along. He describes his own awkward introduction to Grand Theft Auto, but learns from the mistakes of Plato et al. and predicts a glorious future for video games–even though he personally hates them.

  4. I re(re-re-re)read the whole Dream Park series recently, and I still love them. The abrupt change in technology in California Voodoo Game is jarring and unnecessary, but the first pair of books remain classics in my estimation.

    I’m an odd duck in that I prefer listening to casts about stuff I’m familiar with (rather than stuff I haven’t heard of), and I’m quite familiar with most everything in the show notes, so I am really looking forward to listening to this whole cast.

  5. This was a good cast, although I was disappointed to learn that nobody liked the books as much as I did. It does sound like none of the reviewers is a serious gamer, so they may really be missing what was, at the time, the “big idea” present in the book, at least from my point of view. Sure, all the tropes and technology are cliche now, but at the time it was all pretty neat stuff. I’d still love to participate in a Dream Park game.

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