Best Selling Books by Nick Montfort

Nick Montfort is the author of The Future (2017), Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities (2016), Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities, second edition (2021), Twisty Little Passages (2005) and other 33 books.

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37 results found

The Future

release date: Dec 08, 2017
The Future
How the future has been imagined and made, through the work of writers, artists, inventors, and designers. The future is like an unwritten book. It is not something we see in a crystal ball, or can only hope to predict, like the weather. In this volume of the MIT Press's Essential Knowledge series, Nick Montfort argues that the future is something to be made, not predicted. Montfort offers what he considers essential knowledge about the future, as seen in the work of writers, artists, inventors, and designers (mainly in Western culture) who developed and described the core components of the futures they envisioned. Montfort's approach is not that of futurology or scenario planning; instead, he reports on the work of making the future—the thinkers who devoted themselves to writing pages in the unwritten book. Douglas Engelbart, Alan Kay, and Ted Nelson didn't predict the future of computing, for instance. They were three of the people who made it. Montfort focuses on how the development of technologies—with an emphasis on digital technologies—has been bound up with ideas about the future. Readers learn about kitchens of the future and the vision behind them; literary utopias, from Plato's Republic to Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward and Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Herland; the Futurama exhibit at the 1939 New York World's Fair; and what led up to Tim Berners-Lee's invention of the World Wide Web. Montfort describes the notebook computer as a human-centered alterative to the idea of the computer as a room-sized “giant brain”; speculative practice in design and science fiction; and, throughout, the best ways to imagine and build the future.

Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities

release date: Apr 08, 2016
Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities
A book for anyone who wants to learn programming to explore and create, with exercises and projects to help the reader learn by doing. This book introduces programming to readers with a background in the arts and humanities; there are no prerequisites, and no knowledge of computation is assumed. In it, Nick Montfort reveals programming to be not merely a technical exercise within given constraints but a tool for sketching, brainstorming, and inquiring about important topics. He emphasizes programming's exploratory potential—its facility to create new kinds of artworks and to probe data for new ideas. The book is designed to be read alongside the computer, allowing readers to program while making their way through the chapters. It offers practical exercises in writing and modifying code, beginning on a small scale and increasing in substance. In some cases, a specification is given for a program, but the core activities are a series of “free projects,” intentionally underspecified exercises that leave room for readers to determine their own direction and write different sorts of programs. Throughout the book, Montfort also considers how computation and programming are culturally situated—how programming relates to the methods and questions of the arts and humanities. The book uses Python and Processing, both of which are free software, as the primary programming languages.

Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities, second edition

release date: May 18, 2021
Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities, second edition
A new edition of a book for anyone who wants to learn programming to explore and create, with exercises and projects to help readers learn by doing. This book introduces programming to readers involved with the arts and humanities; there are no prerequisites, and no previous knowledge of programming is assumed. Nick Montfort reveals programming to be not merely a technical exercise within given constraints but a tool for sketching, brainstorming, and inquiry. He emphasizes programming's exploratory potential--its facility to create new kinds of artworks and to probe data for new ideas. The book is designed to be read alongside the computer, allowing readers to program while making their way through the chapters. It offers practical exercises in writing and modifying code and outlines "free projects" that allow learners to pursue their own interests.

Twisty Little Passages

release date: Feb 11, 2005
Twisty Little Passages
A critical approach to interactive fiction, as literature and game. Interactive fiction—the best-known form of which is the text game or text adventure—has not received as much critical attention as have such other forms of electronic literature as hypertext fiction and the conversational programs known as chatterbots. Twisty Little Passages (the title refers to a maze in Adventure, the first interactive fiction) is the first book-length consideration of this form, examining it from gaming and literary perspectives. Nick Montfort, an interactive fiction author himself, offers both aficionados and first-time users a way to approach interactive fiction that will lead to a more pleasurable and meaningful experience of it. Twisty Little Passages looks at interactive fiction beginning with its most important literary ancestor, the riddle. Montfort then discusses Adventure and its precursors (including the I Ching and Dungeons and Dragons), and follows this with an examination of mainframe text games developed in response, focusing on the most influential work of that era, Zork. He then considers the introduction of commercial interactive fiction for home computers, particularly that produced by Infocom. Commercial works inspired an independent reaction, and Montfort describes the emergence of independent creators and the development of an online interactive fiction community in the 1990s. Finally, he considers the influence of interactive fiction on other literary and gaming forms. With Twisty Little Passages, Nick Montfort places interactive fiction in its computational and literary contexts, opening up this still-developing form to new consideration.

Racing the Beam

release date: Jan 09, 2009
Racing the Beam
A study of the relationship between platform and creative expression in the Atari VCS. The Atari Video Computer System dominated the home video game market so completely that “Atari” became the generic term for a video game console. The Atari VCS was affordable and offered the flexibility of changeable cartridges. Nearly a thousand of these were created, the most significant of which established new techniques, mechanics, and even entire genres. This book offers a detailed and accessible study of this influential video game console from both computational and cultural perspectives. Studies of digital media have rarely investigated platforms—the systems underlying computing. This book (the first in a series of Platform Studies) does so, developing a critical approach that examines the relationship between platforms and creative expression. Nick Montfort and Ian Bogost discuss the Atari VCS itself and examine in detail six game cartridges: Combat, Adventure, Pac-Man, Yars' Revenge, Pitfall!, and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. They describe the technical constraints and affordances of the system and track developments in programming, gameplay, interface, and aesthetics. Adventure, for example, was the first game to represent a virtual space larger than the screen (anticipating the boundless virtual spaces of such later games as World of Warcraft and Grand Theft Auto), by allowing the player to walk off one side into another space; and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back was an early instance of interaction between media properties and video games. Montfort and Bogost show that the Atari VCS—often considered merely a retro fetish object—is an essential part of the history of video games.

10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10

release date: Aug 29, 2014
10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10
A single line of code offers a way to understand the cultural context of computing. This book takes a single line of code—the extremely concise BASIC program for the Commodore 64 inscribed in the title—and uses it as a lens through which to consider the phenomenon of creative computing and the way computer programs exist in culture. The authors of this collaboratively written book treat code not as merely functional but as a text—in the case of 10 PRINT, a text that appeared in many different printed sources—that yields a story about its making, its purpose, its assumptions, and more. They consider randomness and regularity in computing and art, the maze in culture, the popular BASIC programming language, and the highly influential Commodore 64 computer.

The New Media Reader

release date: Feb 14, 2003
The New Media Reader
A sourcebook of historical written texts, video documentation, and working programs that form the foundation of new media. This reader collects the texts, videos, and computer programs—many of them now almost impossible to find—that chronicle the history and form the foundation of the still-emerging field of new media. General introductions by Janet Murray and Lev Manovich, along with short introductions to each of the texts, place the works in their historical context and explain their significance. The texts were originally published between World War II—when digital computing, cybernetic feedback, and early notions of hypertext and the Internet first appeared—and the emergence of the World Wide Web—when they entered the mainstream of public life. The texts are by computer scientists, artists, architects, literary writers, interface designers, cultural critics, and individuals working across disciplines. The contributors include (chronologically) Jorge Luis Borges, Vannevar Bush, Alan Turing, Ivan Sutherland, William S. Burroughs, Ted Nelson, Italo Calvino, Marshall McLuhan, Jean Baudrillard, Nicholas Negroponte, Alan Kay, Bill Viola, Sherry Turkle, Richard Stallman, Brenda Laurel, Langdon Winner, Robert Coover, and Tim Berners-Lee. The CD accompanying the book contains examples of early games, digital art, independent literary efforts, software created at universities, and home-computer commercial software. Also on the CD is digitized video, documenting new media programs and artwork for which no operational version exists. One example is a video record of Douglas Engelbart's first presentation of the mouse, word processor, hyperlink, computer-supported cooperative work, video conferencing, and the dividing up of the screen we now call non-overlapping windows; another is documentation of Lynn Hershman's Lorna, the first interactive video art installation.

The Truelist

release date: Jan 01, 2018
The Truelist
Poetry. Art. THE TRUELIST is a book- length poem generated by a one-page, stand-alone computer program. Based around compound words, some more conventional, some quite unusual, the poem invites the reader to imagine moving through a strange landscape that seems to arise from the English language itself. The unusual compounds are open to being understood differently by each reader, given that person's cultural and individual background. The core text that Nick Montfort wrote is the generating computer program. It defines the sets of words that combine, the way some lines are extended with additional language, the stanza form, and the order of these words and the lines in which they appear. The program is included on the last page. Anyone who wishes is free to study it, modify it to see what happens, and make use of it in their own work.

Riddle and Bind

release date: Oct 01, 2010
Riddle and Bind
Riddle & Bind is a book of poems to solve. The first section, "Riddle," consists of poems written as riddles the reader is invited to solve by guessing the subject of the poem. The third section, "Bind," is a selection of constrained poetry written using traditional and nontraditional poetic forms. The second section, "&," combines both approaches in a sequence of poems inviting the reader to guess how they were constructed.

Stella and Combat

release date: Jan 10, 2014
Stella and Combat
The Atari Video Computer System dominated the home video game market so completely that "Atari" became the generic term for a video game console. This BIT examines the interplay between computation and culture in the Atari emulator Stella and the Atari VCS game Combat.

Number, Exclamation Point (#!)

release date: Apr 16, 2014
Number, Exclamation Point (#!)
Poetry. Media Studies. #! (pronounced "shebang") consists of poetic texts that are presented alongside the short computer programs that generated them. The poems, in new and existing forms, are inquiries into the features that make poetry recognizable as such, into code and computation, into ellipsis, into ways of representing ?, and into the alphabet. Computer-generated poems have been composed by Brion Gysin and Ian Sommerville, Alison Knowles and James Tenney, Hugh Kenner and Joseph P. O'Rourke, Charles O. Hartman, and others. The works in #! engage with this tradition of more than 50 years and with constrainted and conceptual writing. The book's source code is also offered as free software. All of the text-generating code is presented so that it, too, can be read; it is all also made freely available for use in anyone's future poetic projects.

Golem

release date: Dec 29, 2020
Golem
Shaped of silicon and animated by language, this slim computer-generated book seems at first to be built of increasingly complex progressions of similar, cycling sentences. Some of them, even though they are syntactical, seem so elaborate as to exceed human understanding. Nevertheless, the way each section is stamped out seems easy-at first-to discern. Is the text doing something other than shuffling about, dumb? What of the parts of it that are written in a script more arcane than English, in code? Even expert readers who have encountered extensive traditional, constrained, and conceptual writings may find much in this computational project to challenge them. They may also be surprised by what they eventually unlock

Generating Narrative Variation in Interactive Fiction

release date: Jan 01, 2007
Generating Narrative Variation in Interactive Fiction
Generating narrative variation in interactive fiction.

"US" Poets Foreign Poets / Noi poeți "americani" poeți străini

release date: Jun 11, 2018

Theoretical Perspectives on the Substance Preceding

release date: Oct 07, 2012
Theoretical Perspectives on the Substance Preceding
[out of nothing] is an electronic publication featuring new works in image, sound, text and the digital arts, as well as works located at the intersections between these media. [out of nothing]is published in online installments as well as occasional print editions, on an irregular but roughly semiannual seasonal basis that nevertheless remains chronically TBD. Each issue is theme-based, and is introduced by a special M.C.; or, emcee. [out of nothing] is edited by Lee, Janice, 1956–1984; Lindley, Eric, 1952 –1982; and Milazzo, Joe, 1932 –1972. email: shelling.peanuts@gmail.com. For more information, please visit: http://www.outofnothing.org/. [Anthology.] [out of nothing] #0: "theoretical perspectives on the substance preceding [nothing]." / [Various authors.] p. cm. 1. Literature, Experimental. 2. Literature, Modern —21st century. 3. Multimedia (Art). I. Baudrillard, Jean, 1929-2007. II. Benjamin, Walter, 1892-1940. III. Derrida, Jacques, (1930-2004). IV. Kierkegaard, Søren, 1813-1855. V. Title. PN6014 .O98 2012 808.8/0047 Copyright © 2012 [out of nothing]. Authors hold the rights to their individual works. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. 0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

2 X 6

release date: Oct 11, 2016
2 X 6
Poetry. Translation Studies. 2x6 consists of short "stanzories"—stanzas that are also stories, each one relating an encounter between two people. Appearing in English, French, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, and Polish, the stanzories are generated by a similar underlying process, even as they do not correspond to one another the way a translation typically does to a source text. These sixfold verses are generated by six short computer programs, the code of which is also presented in full. These simple programs can endlessly churn out combinatorial lines that challenge to reader to determine to whom "she" and "he," and "him" and "her," refer, as well as which is the more powerful one, which the underdog. As John Cayley writes, "Gender is the chief generative obstacle here—making more than two times six—distributed across the natural grammars of these micro- dramas, with their psychosocial, vocational, and hierarchical narrative vectors."

The First M Numbers

release date: Jan 01, 2013

'Selected Poems' and Other Poems

release date: Jan 01, 2001

From All The Way For The Win

release date: Jan 01, 2016

A Conversational Computer Character to Help Children Write Stories

release date: Jan 01, 1998

California diet

release date: Jan 01, 2017

New Novel Machines

New Novel Machines
My Winchester's Nightmare: A Novel Machine (1999) was developed to bring the interactor's input and the system's output together into a texture like that of novelistic prose. Almost fifteen years later, after an electronic literature practice mainly related to poetry, I have developed two new "novel machines." Rather than being works of interactive fiction, one ( Nanowatt , 2013 ) is a collaborative demoscene production (specifically, a single-loading VIC-20 demo) and the other ( World Clock, 2013 ) is a novel generator with accompanying printed book. These two productions offer an opportunity to discuss how my own and other highly computational electronic literature relates to the novel. Nanowatt and World Clock are non-interactive but use computation to manipulate language at low levels. I discuss these aspects and other recent electronic literature that engages the novel, considering to what extent novel- like computational literature in general is becoming less interactive and more fine- grained in its involvement with language.

The Trivial Program "yes"

The Trivial Program "yes"
A trivial program, one that simply prints "y" or a string that is given as an argument repeatedly, is explicated and examined at the levels of function and code. Although the program by itself is neither interesting or instructive, the argument is presented that by looking at "yes" it is possible to better understand how programs exist not only on platforms but also in an ecology of systems, scripts, and utilities.

Hard West Turn

release date: Jan 01, 2018
Hard West Turn
A computer generated novel from a permissive free software license that re-creates the thinking of a mass shooter, such as that of the gunman who opened fire in 2017 on a crowd of concertgoers on the Las Vegas Strip in Neveda.

Carrying Across Language and Code

Carrying Across Language and Code
With reference to electronic literature translation projects in which we have been involved as translators or as authors of the source work, we argue that the process of translation can expose how language and computation interrelate in electronic literature.

No Code

No Code
To continue the productive discussion of uninscribed artworks in Craig Dworkin's No Medium, this report discusses, in detail, those computer programs that have no code, and are thus empty or null. Several specific examples that have been offered in different contexts (the demoscene, obfuscated coding, a programming challenge, etc.) are analyzed. The concept of a null program is discussed with reference to null strings and files. This limit case of computing shows that both technical and cultural means of analysis are important to a complete understanding of programs -- even in the unusual case that they lack code.

Creative Material Computing in a Laboratory Context

Creative Material Computing in a Laboratory Context
Principles for organizing a laboratory with material computing resources are articulated. This laboratory, the Trope Tank, is a facility for teaching, research, and creative collaboration and offers hardware (in working condition and set up for use) from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, including videogame systems, home computers, an arcade cabinet, and a workstation. Other resources include controllers, peripherals, manuals, books, and software on physical media. In reorganizing the space, we considered its primary purpose as a laboratory (rather than as a library or studio), organized materials by platform and intended use, and provided additional cues and textual information about the historical contexts of the available systems.

XS, S, M, L

XS, S, M, L
Creative text generation projects of different sizes (in terms of lines of code and length of development time) are described. "Extra-small," "small," "medium," and "large" projects are discussed as participating in the practice of creative computing differently. Different ways in which these projects have circulated and are being used in the community of practice are identified. While large-scale projects have clearly been important in advancing creative text generation, the argument presented here is that the other types of projects are also valuable and that they are undervalued (particularly in computer science and strongly related fields) by current structures of higher education and academic communication -- structures which could be changed.

Megawatt

release date: Jan 01, 2014
Megawatt
"Megawatt is the title of both a computer program, the source code to which you may be reading, and the ouput of this program ... 'Megawatt' is based on passages from Samuel Beckett's novel "Watt", first published in 1953"--Preface

Videogame Editions for Play and Study

release date: Jan 01, 2013
Videogame Editions for Play and Study
We discuss four types of access to videogames that are analogous to the use of different sorts of editions in literary scholarship: (1) the use of hardware to play games on platforms compatible with the original ones, (2) emulation as a means of playing games on contemporary computers, (3) ports, which translate games across platforms, and (4) documentation, which can describe some aspects of games when they cannot be accessed and can supplement play. These different editions provide different information and perspectives and can be used in teaching and research in several ways.

ReRites

release date: Jan 01, 2019
ReRites
"ReRites is a project consisting of 12 poetry books (generated by a computer then edited by poet David Jhave Johnston) created between May 2017-18. Jhave produced one book of poetry per month, utilizing neural networks trained on a contemporary poetry corpus to generate source texts which were then edited into the ReRites poems. (The limited edition boxset) is a conceptual proof-of-concept about the impact of augmented creativity and human-machine symbiosis. This book contains 60 pages of poems selected from the over 4500 pages of ReRites poems; some of the Raw Output generated by the computer; and 8 Response essays."--
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