(Book Cover) Ghost Sentence by Mary Flanagan

Published by Atmosphere Press

Ghost Sentence

Atmosphere Press 2017
ISBN: 9781640084674
Purchase: Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon France etc.

About the Book

Ghost Sentence has just been released from Atmosphere Press, a new press founded by one of the executive editors of Gold Wake Press, Nick Courtright. The book traverses the political sea change of the 2016 election and 2017 inauguration. The text moves from the personal to the political across the volume, from scrambled texts taken from political websites, to historical recreations of dictatorships; from love letters that accompany the excess surreality of consumerism, to unexpected language that breeds rebellion of the heart during an anthropocenic era of human debris and rising tides…

Critical Praise

Incendiary, dizzying, deadpan, GHOST SENTENCE is a love letter, an ultimatum, a wildly poetic survival guide to the death throes of the patriarchy, our age of bogus authority, white noise, and disembodied menace. Flanagan’s charged lines shimmer between desire and disaster: “everyone knows it’s not safe to/go out on a brimstone night/ especially with you”; “leaves still cling to the trees but/the sun is telling them to drop dead.” This book coins a new language for a world that blazes all around us. GHOST SENTENCE is brilliant, contemporary to the millisecond.
D. NURKSE, author of eleven books of poetry including Love in the Last Days: After Tristan and Iseult (2017), A Night in Brooklyn (2012), The Border Kingdom (2008), and Burnt Island (2006). His recent prizes include a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Guggenheim fellowship. He has also written on human rights and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.

Written under the spell of 2016 election and under the weather of our local dictator’s inauguration, GHOST SENTENCE plunges into the chaos to give us a core sampling, deeply personal and political. Our sentence may be dire, but the phantom grammars, crypt words, semantic branchings, and spectral logics of this hauntology resist the consumerist doublespeak of now. Flanagan’s “voracious mouth” playfully spews “a hot core of knowing” at lovers and dictators alike. She weaponizes poetic structures by loading them with history, philosophy, theory, heart, humor, and an intimate sense of you. Yes, you were waiting for this book.
CHRISTINE HUME, author of Musca Domestica (2000), Alaskaphrenia (2004), and Shot (2010), Hume is also Professor of English at the Creative Writing Program at Eastern Michigan University.

These poems begin with personal concerns which find themselves afloat and submerged in the currents of today’s political waters. “_Are you near_ or / _Can you swim?_” Mary Flanagan asks, posting updates with God, wondering at America’s endless varieties of toilet paper and fake news, and meeting a vampire who is neither teen, nor paranormal, nor romantic. GHOST SENTENCE makes something hauntingly real out of several sorts of profound, contemporary crises.
NICK MONTFORT, author of Autopia (2016), the collaboration 2×6 (2016), #! (2014), and The Truelist (2017). He is Professor of Media Studies/Writing at MIT.

Grief at a lost love, and grief and fury at a lost America, power Mary Flanagan’s compelling, original Ghost Sentence. The private and the public merge: a personal voice and sensibility reacting to a lost, terribly flawed personal love (no less missed because flawed); and a grief-stricken, rage-fueled depiction of what it’s like to be living though this American moment. Ghost Sentence is passionate, original, and oddly bracing—a book not to be missed.
PATRICIA CARLIN, author of Second Nature(2017), Quantum Jitters(2009) and Original Green 2003), as well as Shakespeare’s Mortal Men (1993). She has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony and VCCA. She teaches literature and poetry writing at The New School, and she co-edits the poetry journal Barrow Street.


Values at Play in Digital Games - by Mary Flanagan

Values at Play in Digital Games

Cambridge: MIT Press 2014
ISBN: 9781640084674
Purchase: MIT Press Amazon

About the Book

All games express and embody human values, providing a compelling arena in which we play out beliefs and ideas. “Big ideas” such as justice, equity, honesty, and cooperation—as well as other kinds of ideas, including violence, exploitation, and greed— may emerge in games whether designers intend them or not. In this book, Mary Flanagan and Helen Nissenbaum present Values at Play, a theoretical and practical framework for identifying socially recognized moral and political values in digital games. Values at Play can also serve as a guide to designers who seek to implement values in the conception and design of their games. After developing a theoretical foundation for their proposal, Flanagan and Nissenbaum provide detailed examinations of selected games, demonstrating the many ways in which values are embedded in them. They introduce the Values at Play heuristic, a systematic approach for incorporating values into the game design process. Interspersed among the book’s chapters are texts by designers who have put Values at Play into practice by accepting values as a design constraint like any other, offering a real-world perspective on the design challenges involved.

Critical Praise

Values at Play in Digital Games is an invaluable toolbox for understanding the values embedded in existing games and for making new games that express the values we believe in.
Jesper Juul, video game theorist; author of Half-Real and The Art of Failure

Values at Play in Digital Games gives the reader a powerful set of tools for examining the cultural, ethical, and political meanings of video games, and reminds us that a consideration of the values embodied in digital play is an integral part of the game design process.
Richard Lemarchand, Associate Professor, University of Southern California; Lead Designer, Uncharted


(Book Cover) Critical Play by Mary Flanagan

Read the first chapter and see more at the MIT Press website.

Critical Play

Cambridge: The MIT Press 2009
ISBN: 9780262518659
Purchase: MIT Press Amazon

About the Book

For many players, games are entertainment, diversion, relaxation, fantasy. But what if certain games were something more than this, providing not only outlets for entertainment but a means for creative expression, instruments for conceptual thinking, or tools for social change? In Critical Play, artist and game designer Mary Flanagan examines alternative games—games that challenge the accepted norms embedded within the gaming industry—and argues that games designed by artists and activists are reshaping everyday game culture.

Flanagan provides a lively historical context for critical play through twentieth-century art movements, connecting subversive game design to subversive art: her examples of “playing house” include Dadaist puppet shows and The Sims; her discussion of language play includes puns, palindromes, Yoko Ono’s Instruction Paintings, and Jenny Holzer’s messages in LED. Flanagan also looks at artists’ alternative computer-based games, examining projects from Persuasive Games and Gonzalo Frasca and other games created through the use of interventionist strategies in the design process. And she explores games for change, considering the way activist concerns—among them Darfur, worldwide poverty, and AIDS—can be incorporated into game design.

Arguing that this kind of conscious practice—which now constitutes the avant-garde of the computer game medium—can inspire new working methods for designers, Flanagan offers a model for designing that will encourage the subversion of popular gaming tropes through new styles of game making, and proposes a theory of alternate game design that focuses on the reworking of contemporary popular game practices.

Critical Praise

In Critical Play, Flanagan uncovers a secret history of games buried deep inside folk culture, experimental media, and the world of art. Critical Play should be required reading for anyone who cares about the cultural importance and future potential of games.
Eric Zimmerman, game designer and co-author of Rules of Play

Mary Flanagan has written a marvelous book in Critical Play. As an artist and scholar, Flanagan examines play through sources that range from the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and Johan Huizinga to Marcel Duchamp and the often-overlooked Roger Caillois. Flanagan examines games and play from dollhouses to board games, from Alberto Giacometti to Fluxus, enabling us to see what it is that makes play critical. The core issue of the book is creating forms of play that ask important questions about human life. After a grand romp through the territory and history of play, Flanagan provides a crisp practical theory in her game design model. What a book! I’m ready to shake the dice and start again.
Ken Friedman, Professor, Dean, Faculty of Design Swinburne University of Technology, Australia


re:skin edited by Mary Flanagan and Austin Booth

re:skin

Cambridge: The MIT Press 2007
ISBN: 9780262512497
Purchase: MIT Press Amazon

About the Book

re:skin is a collection of fiction and theory engaging with issues that surround the technological manipulation of the body. From plastic surgery to fur implants, from illegal tattooing to skin grafts, the use of technology to alter the physical body is, for women writers, less a tool for empowerment than a means to construct alternative, multiple selves. Bodily boundaries are malleable, and bodily markers which distinguish bodies are reprogrammable. The pieces gathered re:skin claim that the technologically mutable body is neither simply liberating nor limiting, but offers instead narratives of ways of living in, and adapting to, a technological culture.


reload: rethinking women + cyberculture - edited by Mary Flanagan and Austin Booth

reload: rethinking women + cyberculture

Cambridge: The MIT Press 2002
ISBN: 9780262561501
Purchase: MIT Press Amazon

About the Book

The co-edited collection reload is a volume which mixes women’s cyberpunk fiction (by CL Moore, Octavia Butler, Laura J. Mixon) with theoretical investigations into cyber cultural aspects such as web communities, fan culture, subjectivity in computer games, cinematic representations of cyborgs, and artists’ technological projects. Winner of the 2003 Susan Koppelman Award given by the Joint Women’s Caucus of the Popular Culture/American Culture.


The Sims:. Similitudini simboli e simulacri - by Matteo Bittanti and Mary Flanagan

Similitudini. Simboli. Simulacri:(SIMilarities, Symbols, Simulacra)

Milan: Edizioni Unicopli, 2003
ISBN:9788840008943
Purchase: Amazon

About the Book

This co-authored book, in Italian, explores domestic space, player experience, and the fan culture of The Sims