Monday, June 13, 2011

Piers Anthony on Gaming

I'm a workaholic, more properly writeaholic, living to write my fiction. But I do take brief breaks along the way. Such as by playing computer cards. The game I'm currently on is FreeCell, which I think is the best of them because it's playable; you can win every time of you do it right, but the doing is not necessarily easy. And that's the point of this blog: I see it as an analogy of life. On my Linux system the game has hints, and undo, and an indication whether the game remains viable. I use them all. When I play a card and the Winnable indication changes to No Longer Winnable or to Lost, I back off and try something else. Without that indication I would lose many games, because sometimes the mistake is not clear. What is obvious is not necessarily right. Sometimes I play a red 3 on the Foundation, which ascends from Ace to King, and that's an obvious move, but it's a loser. It seems I need to save that 3 to play a black 2 on, farther along. Okay, we don't have a Winnable indication in real life, so we can make obvious moves that turn out to be losers. Think how much better it would be if you had such a warning! The light turns red for cross traffic, green for the pedestrians, and you are about to step out and cross the street. But then a rogue car careers through in plain violation of the law and public safety, and takes you out. If you had had warning you would have waited and not done the obvious, and saved your life. This example is taken from the experience of Jenny, my paralyzed correspondent, who was taken out in just such an “accident” by a drunk driver. If she had had a little magic warning, maybe just an app on her watch that would flash red when she was about to go wrong, she would be in full health and motion today, instead of confined in a paralyzed body. Maybe if my daughter Penny had had such a warning she could have overruled her doctor and insisted on getting that patch on her shoulder cut out now, instead of waiting until it metastasized and killed her. If someone were about to put his money down on a house, a magic warning could stop him even if he didn't know that he was about to lose his job in the recession and the First National Scrooge Bank would foreclose. So many ways such a little warning could really help. But this is Mundania, where magic is frowned upon if not actually outlawed, and no such devices are on the market. So I guess the handy warnings and undo features will remain restricted to things like computer card games and we will have to continue to muddle through on our own. It's really too bad. But I do enjoy the games.


  1. I'm sorry about both Jenny and Penny. I wish everyone could have those little magic warnings, too.

  2. My name is Mathew Scott Miner. The first book of yours I read was Anthonology. I read as many of your books as I can possibly find. I think your stories are brilliant. I am trying to collect every book you have written and in time I know that I will, I just cant help it.

    Yes magic is frowned apon, but by no means dead. There are those who have precognition as well as premonition. There are also past lives to learn from. Whether a person will choose to admit to any one of these gifts or even all three.. That is another story. Mysticism runs strongly on my mothers and fathers side so I get benifits from all three of these "gifts." It is said that seing the future is unlikely due to an "affect not being able to show before its cause." At least thats what Wikipedia says. Ok imagine this. You get a one second blast of information on a moment. That includes every single thought you think during that time and what you can see at that time. Due to the mind being so radically different from one choice to the next we can not actually know what is happening until that moment is passed. We end up saying. "I knew this was going to happen." its like seeing an entire map but only one small part will show up clearly. One Snapshot of a moment and all the thought and emotion that moment can endow.

    A small help, but far better than nothing. It has saved my life many times... precog always seems to work better during stressfull times, as if it is a battle reflex.

    What these "gifts" have taught me is that every thing does happen for a reason. I have lost friends and family... I've lost true love to heroin as well. We must remember to charish the moments of bliss and love. All we firmly have control over is what we think. Im dredfully sorry for your loss.

    Your smile shows that you have learned to take the sweet with the bitter. Your mind and heart are a power house and please Sir. Never stop writing.

    Your stories have saved me in hard times. I needed a place to excape and Xanth was one of those places. As well as the world in the book of the Firefly. Phthor as well. Almost every one of the Incarnations was with me too :)

    Thank you for sharing your imagination with the world. You trully do hold a nation of imagery inside your mind.

  3. Hi I don't usually stop to comment here, but I thought I'd stop today.

    It is so odd, but I am most of the way through writing a story what built around this premise (sort of). It has been the hardest story I've written. Somedays I wake up to ghosts just sitting in my room waiting for me -- the ones I couldn't save but had to watch as they were destroyed in one way or another.

    I am so sorry for your loss. If I were there I'd give you a hug or hand you beer or whatever you thought you'd need.

    Thinking of you. If you ever find a warning device like that let me know.