88 Names

88 x 3

Today is the third anniversary of the publication of 88 Names.

Thanks to COVID, March 2020 was a lousy time to be bringing out a new novel, though I was certainly luckier than other authors in the same situation. Because of the book’s futuristic theme, we’d arranged a lot of online promotion, including a podcast and an interview in virtual reality, so when my real-world book tour got eaten by the plague, I had a back-up plan and all the hardware I need to start Zooming. The Lovecraft Country TV series also helped cushion the blow—I knew my wife and I would be OK financially regardless of what happened with the new novel.

Still, I’ve always felt that 88 Names got short-changed by the bad timing. So if you’re looking for a Friday read—something lighter in tone than The Destroyer of Worlds, but still topical and thoughtful—please consider checking it out. The Big Idea essay I wrote for John Scalzi’s Whatever blog will give you a good sense of what the story is about and whether it’s for you.

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A visit to No Proscenium

No Proscenium founder Noah Nelson, who was our guest on episode 7 of the 88 Names podcast, invited me and my co-host Blake Collier to come hang out on his podcast last week. You can listen to the conversation here.

If you haven’t already, I’d also highly recommend checking out the rest of the No Pro website. It’s an incredibly useful resource for learning about immersive technology and art, and now that the pandemic lockdown is almost over (fingers crossed), I look forward to experiencing a lot more in-person immersive entertainment.

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88 Names podcast: season 2 wrap-up

On this week’s special finale episode, Blake Collier and I close out the 88 Names podcast with a freewheeling conversation about virtual reality, what we learned from our guests on the ‘cast, and the very strange pandemic year we’ve all just lived through. Although this is the end of the road for this particular project, Blake and I will be teaming up again in a couple of weeks for an appearance on the No Proscenium podcast, hosted by Noah Nelson.

Big thanks once again to Blake, to our producer Darryl A. Armstrong of the Threaded Zebra Agency, to our host site, Rise Up Daily, to our sponsors, and to the many smart and creative people who agreed to talk to us. Take care, everybody!

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88 Names podcast bonus interview: Johanna Pirker

Today on the 88 Names podcast site, we have a written interview with Johanna Pirker, a professor and researcher for games and VR experiences at the Graz University of Technology in Austria. Johanna is also the director of the Game Lab Graz. In 2018, she was selected by Forbes for their 30 Under 30 list in Science. You can read the interview here.

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88 Names podcast bonus interview: Keram Malicki-Sanchez

photo by Tim Layes

Today on the 88 Names podcast site, we have a written interview with actor, filmmaker, composer, and “VR evangelist” Keram Malicki-Sanchez. As the founder of the VRTO Virtual & Augmented Reality World Conference and the founder and executive producer of FIVARS, the Festival of International Virtual & Augmented Reality Stories, Keram knows a lot about recent and forthcoming developments in VR technology, and his answers to our questions cover a wide range of topics. You can check out the interview here.

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88 Names season 2, episode 5: Drew Stone

On this week’s episode of the 88 Names podcast, we talk with Drew Stone, the founder of Locusium, a company that helps organize and facilitate events in virtual reality. Drew is also an old friend of the pod — last year, he helped set up my author appearance on AltspaceVR.

This will be our last regular podcast episode. Next week, I’ll be returning to AltspaceVR for another live reading and Q&A (details here). And the week after that, Blake Collier and I will be doing a special wrap-up episode where we talk about this very strange year we’ve just lived through.

We also have a couple of bonus written interviews that will be posting soon. Stay tuned!

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Live reading and Q&A in AltspaceVR next Tuesday (4/13) at 5 PM Pacific

Next week, to celebrate the publication of the 88 Names trade paperback edition, I’ll be returning to AltspaceVR for a live reading and audience Q&A. The event is free and open to anyone with internet access.

To attend, you’ll need to download the appropriate AltspaceVR client software. Download links are on the AltspaceVR homepage (if you don’t have a VR headset, choose “2D mode”). Once the client is installed, you’ll need to create an account and spend a few minutes creating your avatar. The final step is to RSVP for the event, which you can do here.

I hope to see you there!

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88 Names season 2, episode 4: Dr. Todd P. Chang

On this week’s episode of the 88 Names podcast, Blake and I talk with Dr. Todd P. Chang, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. Dr. Chang has done extensive research into the use of VR and other immersive technologies in medical training, particularly as it relates to his specialty. This was a great discussion, and as I mention at one point, prepping for the interview led me down some fascinating internet rabbit holes.

On our next episode, we’ll be talking to Locusium founder Drew Stone.

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Part 2 of my adventures in the Dungeons of Drakkenheim tomorrow, 3/30, at 3 PM Pacific

Tomorrow at 3 PM Pacific I’ll be rejoining Montgomery Martin and Kelly McLaughlin, aka the Dungeon Dudes, on their Twitch livestream for part 2 of my epic adventure as Mr. Big in the Untold Tales of Drakkenheim. You can watch part 1 right now on the Dungeon Dudes’ YouTube channel, here. And if you haven’t done so already, I’d also recommend listening to last week’s 88 Names podcast interview with Monty and Kelly.

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88 Names podcast season 2, episode 3: the Dungeon Dudes

On the latest episode of the 88 Names podcast, we speak to Kelly McLaughlin and Montgomery Martin, aka the Dungeon Dudes, whose YouTube channel offers advice and role-playing tips for 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons. They also have a weekly Twitch stream on which they broadcast live sessions from their Dungeons of Drakkenheim campaign. If you like their work and want to support them, you can do so through their Patreon, or through their forthcoming Dungeons of Drakkenheim Kickstarter.

On our next episode, we talk to pediatric emergency physician Dr. Todd Chang about his research into the use of VR in medical training.

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