Sunday, February 12, 2012

Half-rambling Sphere-Park Life

I never realized before that the 'chapter' titles in Half-Life are very much like those of Michael Crichton's books. Prosaic headers like "Office Complex" and "Blast Chamber" or vaguely foreboding single-word titles like "Apprehension". That and the industrial / wilderness alternation of setting. Oh well. That's neither here nor there i suppose. Crichton's books were still at the height of popularity when the game was launched, and any similarity more likely reflects shared pop-culture. Still, chapter title style is just slightly too specific to be simply a 'zeitgeist' deal, so i have to wonder who on Valve's team was a big Jurassic Park fan.

To derail that train of thought: Crichton's schtick is tapping into the masses' paranoia about new technology. He feeds off the mad scientist archetype without using it specifically.  I haven't kept up with his novels (the luddite overtones wear thin after a while) but i don't remember any of them dealing with an invasion from an alternate universe. I mean, ok, there's been no news item about interdimensional travel to start the mass hysteria he uses as free advertising (like cloning, prions or nanotech) but still, you'd think he'd get around to it.

Huh. Training that thought-derailment a bit farther, i wonder at the relationship between Sphere and A Brief History of Time. Apparently they came out in reverse order so it's not a direct link, but i don't know what other news items might have spurred both books. Then again, the late 80s were full of time travel stories, a la Terminator.

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