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Interviews | April 8, 2014

Shawn Donley: IMG Gabrielle Zevin: The Powells.com Interview



Gabrielle ZevinThe American Booksellers Association collects nominations from bookstores all over the country for favorite forthcoming titles. The Storied Life of... Continue »
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    The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

    Gabrielle Zevin 9781616203214

Interviews | March 17, 2014

Shawn Donley: IMG Peter Stark: The Powells.com Interview



Peter StarkIt's hard to believe that 200 years ago, the Pacific Northwest was one of the most remote and isolated regions in the world. In 1810, four years... Continue »
  1. $19.59 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

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Tech Q&A

T. L. Taylor

Describe your latest project.
I am currently researching the global professional computer gaming scene where players compete for money. There have been some popular press articles on this emerging "sport" which generally focus on just the players. I have been interviewing them as well but am also very interested in the whole world that has had to grow up around players to support the activity at a professional level. Organizations and competitions like the Cyberathlete Professional League and the World Cyber Games, referees, coaches, agents, teams, and even fans also make up a big part of the pro-gaming world. I'm also very interested in the ways technology changes to accommodate professional play (how people are trying to make watching computer games an interesting spectator activity or refining anti-cheat methods). I am really drawn to the ways pro-computer gaming (much like the powergamers I write about in my book) pushes us to think about what we consider play versus work, or how what we often think of as something quite simple — playing a computer game — can actually be a pretty diverse and complex activity.

What inspires you to sit down and write?
I generally want to write for much the same reason I enjoy giving a talk on something — it gives me a way to contribute to whatever ongoing topic has my attention at the moment. As a researcher that also means I am most inspired to write when I have something I want to tell about fieldwork I have done and things I have observed. For me, then, the inspiration for writing comes from imagining my words and arguments in conversation with the work of others and our larger cultural debates. Of course, then there is the hard work of actually making that happen.

Chess or video games?
Definitely video games.

What do you do for relaxation?
Hmm, should I be worried that the word "relaxation" doesn't really resonant with me? But I can say that when I want to unwind, hide out from the world, zone out, be playful, or whatever else along those lines, I do things like play games, watch favorite cartoon series and movies, and read detective novels (King, Cross, Paretsky, etc.).

What was your favorite book as a kid?
I read a fair amount as a kid but I can't really identify one single book that way. I zipped through a lot of stuff and my tastes changed quite a bit over the years (though I was always was a sucker for books about the Loch Ness Monster and weird "unexplained" mysteries). In general I am probably more likely to be able to tell you my favorite TV show or movie from any given era.

Describe the best museum of science and/or industry you've ever visited and what made it great.
I enjoy "object" museums best, especially ones that showcase machinery, tools, technology, and gadgets (though period-based and natural history museums are also pretty great). There is something always fun about marveling over old devices or admiring past design. The old Boston Computer Museum was pretty neat on this count and I really appreciate the work people like Bruce Damer and his DigiBarn have done to keep not only old machines, but all the assorted documents and ads and peripherals archived. Last year I also visited the Technical Museum in Stockholm and got a kick out of seeing their display of telephones (some I would still love to have!), huge engines, old motorcycles, and other odds and ends.

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