I'm still on a semi-enforced vacation from academia, but I couldn't resist reading some of the essays found on electronic book review. The essays are a selection from two MIT Press books, First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game and Second Person: Role-Playing and Story in Games and Playable Media. There are a bunch of interesting essays (and some not-so-interesting ones, I'm sure), on topics ranging from IF to WoW to more general ruminations on narrative, stories, gaming in general:
The First Person thread is a collaboration among electronic book review, MIT Press, and editors Pat Harrigan and Noah Wardrip-Fruin. It explores a new model for connection between online publishing and traditional edited books in which printed works are not only reproduced electronically but also substantially expanded via responses to the collection (ripostes) and enriched by incorporation into the ebr database. This thread includes almost all the contents of a trilogy of edited collections published by MIT: First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game, Second Person: Role-Playing and Story in Games and Playable Media, and a not-yet-announced final volume. The material in these volumes and on ebr represents a new level of dialogue between creators and critics about emerging forms of fictional and playable experience.
This is very cool, because books from academic presses are frequently (a) hideously expensive and (b) hard to get. I'm one of those people that likes to purchase my books, so I can underline and bracket and dog ear to my heart's content, but there are a couple of classics that will not be part of my personal collection since they now go for $US 250+ thanks to small publishing runs. I think it's a great move to offer these sorts of books that do hold interest for a wider audience for free, and in an electronic format. Part of a new trend, perhaps?