Book of the Week: The Annotated Alice in Wonderland

The Annotated Alice in Wonderland

“Alice had got so much into the way of expecting nothing but out-of-the-way things to happen, that it seemed quite dull and stupid for life to go on in the common way”

I’ve always loved Alice. Maybe I relate to the white rabbit constantly racing against time, or the asking-blunt-questions-keep-getting-curiouser part. Lewis Carroll’s classic is even more awesome in this version, that includes notes by Martin Gardner, as well as the original illustrations by John Tenniel (and is beautifully and thoughtfully designed).

The notes in the book give us context into Lewis’ world, and expands the meaning of the story a whole bunch. By knowing where it comes from, and to whom it was intended, Alice in Wonderland reveals itself as wittier, deeper and enchanting. Gardner links Alice’s questions to the theory of relativity, (Carroll was a fond of Maths), to British nursery rhymes of the day, and even notes about a virtual reality game that stemmed from these pages. 

And this is why I think this book is relevant to my research: a lot of Alice’s questions and what she experienced in wonderland has this magic that we can experience today through technology, such as augmented reality. The media evolves, but the questions remain the same. We will always be curious.

“Oh, my poor little feet, I wonder who will put on your shoes and stockings for you now, dears?… I must be kind to them,” thought Alice, “or perhaps they won’t walk the way I want to go!”

Scale (Alice changes size 12 times throughout the book), perception of time, curiosity…

How can I make games that can put people into what Alice experienced?

Inspiration time. Let the Alice Games begin!

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

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