“Toward a Theory of the Megatext: Speculative Criticism and Richard Grossman’s ‘Breeze Avenue Working Paper,'” the first essay of from a new project on what I have been calling megatexts, will appear in Scale in Literature and Culture, edited by Michael Tavel Clarke and David Wittenberg. The collection of essays will be published by Palgrave Macmillan and will hopefully come out later this year. More information to come.
I am happy to announce that my second volume of poetry, The Shape of Things, will be published this summer by Salò Press. More details to come.
“2015.17,” a poem from my ongoing sonnet sequence, just appeared in volume 17 of The Offbeat.
On today of all days, I have a short essay, “Mobile Games, SimCity BuildIt, and Neoliberalism,” up at First Person Scholar.
I am pleased to announce that another essay on videogames, “Metaproceduralism: The Stanley Parable and the Legacies of Postmodern Metafiction,” just appeared in Wide Screen. The essay is part of a special issue on videogame adaptation, edited by Kevin M. Flanagan, and includes articles by Jedd Hakimi, Cameron Kunzelman, Kyle Meikle, Bobby Schweizer, and Kalervo Sinervo. It’s also open access, so anyone can read it.
Abstract: Most critics of contemporary literature have reached a consensus that what was once called “postmodernism” is over and that its signature modes—metafiction and irony—are on the wane. This is not the case, however, with videogames. In recent years, a number of self-reflexive games have appeared, exemplified by Davey Wreden’s The Stanley Parable(2013), an ironic game about games. When self-awareness migrates form print to screen, however, something happens. If metafiction can be characterized by how it draws attention to its materiality—the artificiality of language and the construction involved in acts of representation—The Stanley Parable draws attention to the digital, procedural materiality of videogames. Following the work of Alexander R. Galloway and Ian Bogost, I argue that the self-reflexivity of The Stanley Parable is best understood in terms of action and procedure, as metaproceduralism. This essay explores the legacies of United States metafiction in videogames, suggesting that though postmodernism might be over, its lessons are important to remember for confronting the complex digital realities of the twenty-first century. If irony may be ebbing in fiction, it has found a vital and necessary home in videogames and we underestimate its power to challenge the informatic, algorithmic logic of cultural production in the digital age to our detriment.
I have just published a review of Ian Bogost’s How to Talk about Videogames (2015),“The Function of Videogame Criticism,” in The b2 Review. The review signals a slightly new direction in my work–toward game studies–and will be the first of three pieces of videogame criticism that will appear in 2016. I have been teaching games for the past few years, so I am excited to be writing about them now.
“2015.01,” a poem from my ongoing sonnet sequence, was just published in TXTOBJX. The journal, edited by Andrew Kiraly, publishes what it calls “text objects,” which are “pieces of automatic fictoidal writing produced in one or two sessions.” A text object will be up on the site for a few days and then “the text object sinks into the shuffle and is accessible only randomly via the ‘nxtobjx’ link.” You can read more about the journal here.