I've got a couple of game related books on my 'someday, someday I'll have time to read these' book list, and I've just added a new one after seeing a post on Grand Text Auto: Jeff Howard's Quests:
Design, Theory, and History in Games and Narratives. While "each theoretical section is followed by a practical section that contains exercises using the Neverwinter Nights Aurora Toolset," something I'll never be using, the meat of the text sounds really interesting, blending literature and game design. Says Nick Montfort, an assistant professor at MIT:
Jeff Howard's Quests is an incisive and highly accessible book that leads the reader on an exploration of literature, computer games, and a connection between them .... The book offers useful discussion of the history of adventure games and detailed analysis of quest elements using concepts from narrative theory, poetics, game studies, and other fields. Quests equips students and scholars as they journey onward to read, play, and fashion games and narratives.
Sounds like a delightful diversion from modernization theory. The book is being published by A K Peters and the hardback is retailing for $US 45.
Jeff Howard's Quests [Grand Text Auto]