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    >My new video "A HARD DAY'S KNIGHT," in which I don chain mail to find glory, donuts and spare change for my quest. BIGGER SCREEN ON YOU TUBE

    CLASSIC BOOK trailer! [bigger screen on YouTube]

    more videos here


    Computer games can save your life


    How was your 1980s childhood affected by early computer games like The Bard’s Tale, Ultima III: Exodus, Beyond Castle Wolfenstein and Elite? In my review of the new memoir "Gamelife" by Michael W. Clune in the New York Times Book Review, I discuss how Clune's story shows that games can offer a way to navigate the perils of a baffling preadolescence.

    All part of the NYTBR's coverage of nerdy/comics/gaming books. 


    See the Sketches J.R.R. Tolkien Used to Build Middle-Earth

    Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings but he also drew it:

    The many maps and sketches he made while drafting The Lord of the Rings informed his storytelling, allowing him to test narrative ideas and illustrate scenes he needed to capture in words. For Tolkien, the art of writing and the art of drawing were inextricably intertwined.

    In the book The Art of The Lord of the Rings, we see how, and why.

    My sneak peek of his sketches for



    A Conversation about Conversation with Sherry Turkle

    An interview I did with Sherry Turkle for the Boston Globe, about the demise of conversation in the digital age:

    Turkle, 67, professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a prolific author, wants to have a conversation. About conversation — and why so few people seem interested in having, or are able to have, that face-to-face anymore.

    The crisis of conversation is at the heart of Turkle’s new book, “Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age.” With it, she hopes to spark a discussion about what we lose when we settle for fleeting texts, sound bites, and status updates, instead of pursuing meaningful, nuanced human connection.

    “I had a question. All these people were saying, I’d rather text than talk,” says Turkle. “What happens if in business, in education, in romance, and child-rearing, you text rather than talk?”

    Read the rest of the story here.


    With Boda Borg, Reality Gaming Comes to Boston

    Is Boston ready for the "Maze of Craziness"? I explore the reality-gaming center Boda Borg Boston for The Boston Globe.

    Boda Borg Boston is a place where completing “quests” isn’t the only challenge.

    One is explaining what goes on there. Recently, a reporter was given a sneak peek of the new facility, which opens its doors Saturday in the building that once housed Sparks department store, a downtown Malden landmark. To bring this “reality gaming” center to the Boston area, Ellis spent close to $4 million renovating the 30,000-square-foot space. Inside, there’s a sleek reception area, a taco restaurant that seats 150, and space upstairs for corporate retreats and birthday parties. But downstairs is the heart of Boda Borg, what Ellis calls “the maze of craziness”: a warren of black-painted hallways leading to 16 real-time,live-action puzzles, or what the company calls “quests.” They await teams of three to five players, who must figure each one out.

    Boda Borg is no Dungeons & Dragons fantasy game, nor is it a haunted house with ghouls. Still, guests should bring a sense of adventure and be prepared for befuddlement. Being stumped by any quest on the first attempt — or 21st — is expected.

    Read the rest of the story here.


    Why Facebook's Proposed "Dislike" Button Is a Bad Idea

    Facebook may finally be getting a button that lets you quickly express something beyond a “like.” In this commentary for WBUR's Cognoscneti, I say "Thumbs Down On Facebook’s ‘Dislike’ Button," and propose something else entirely.


    Follow my insane itinerary?

    Hey Boston travel fans: I dare you to do all this in Boston in a mere 36 Hours. Here's my insane itinerary for the New York Times Travel section "36 Hours in ..." series.


    The Day My Mother Became a Stranger

    In the May issue of Boston Magazine, I write about my mother Sara Gilsdorf. After her sudden aneurysm, she was transformed. Almost 37 years later, I search for answers. Read the story here.



    Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks Released in Brazil as "Tudo que um Geek deve saber"

    I'm thrilled to announce that my book Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks is available in Brazil as Tudo que um Geek deve saber (All a geek should know). Read a sample chapter, in Brazilian Portuguese, here. And it looks like you can order it online here. (Someone, help me with the translation.) Thanks to Novo Conceito for publishing the book. Obrigado!


    Head-Banging, Dice-Rolling, and Summoning Demons: A Talk About

    I'm excited to be part of this three-way reading/discussion with my nerdy pals Peter Bebergal and Chris Robichaud. Hope you can make it. It's on Tues Nov 25, Pandemonium Books and Games, in Cambridge.

    Head-Banging, Dice-Rolling, and Summoning Demons: A Talk about Rock, Dungeons & Dragons, the Occult, and Philosophy

    A Discussion/Author Signing
     with Christopher Robichaud, Peter Bebergal, and Ethan Gilsdorf
    Tues Nov 25, 2014, 7:00 pm
    Pandemonium Books and Games 

    4 Pleasant St, Cambridge, Mass.


    How does Led Zeppelin connect to Gary Gygax? Can rock and roll be a religion? Is the Dungeon Master's guide a holy text? Other than that weird kid who taught you how to play D&D in middle school, is anyone actually chaotic evil? Join three writers and gamers -- Christopher Robichaud (, editor of Dungeons and Dragons and Philosophy; Peter Bebergal (, author of Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll; and Ethan Gilsdorf (ethangilsdorf.comauthor of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks -- for a free-ranging discussion about rock, D&D, the occult, philosophy, dungeonmastery, morality, soul craft, and spiritually. We'll probably talk about the Satan Panic of the 1980s, too, and try to decode that mysterious art on Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy. Followed by a Q&A and book signing with the authors.



    Pilgrim for a Day

    I'm going to be a Pilgrim for a Day! On Mon June 16, noon-1, join me and deputy director of Plimoth Plantation Richard Pickering, for a Google Hangout live-cast and witness my transformation into 17th-Century Pilgrim, Stephen Deane.

    Click to read more ...