Reading with a Soundtrack

I recently entered a competition over at Booktrack, an e-reader platform that features synchronized music and sound.

I love this concept, and I love the fact that, like a game or movie, the music reflects the tension and emotional tone of the very scene you’re reading (Booktrack lets you control your reading speed, so the appropriate music and sound effects occur as you read the words).

I’m a huge fan of audiobooks, and despite my off-kilter linguistic processing, they’ll likely remain my medium of choice for books. I occasionally enjoy reading the “old fashioned” way, as it allows one the opportunity to imagine the story’s own signature soundscape as well as the voices of its characters.

But when done right, it may be difficult to beat Booktrack in terms of immersion in a reading experience. One can, of course, mentally create the eerie atmosphere of H.P. Lovecraft’s Dagon while reading the traditional way. But it’s another experience entirely to actually hear the lapping waves, the rain, the wind, and an unsettling, tension-building score in your headphones as you read.

The contest that Booktrack recently held called for music and sound for the science fiction novel, Half Way Home. I chose to compose music for a chapter that functions mainly as an escape scene. Here’s a link to my entry.

If you like stories, I encourage you to check this site out, and if you create music or write fiction yourself, then Booktrack might well be a new medium for your craft.

Thoughts on Far Cry 3’s Ending

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Far Cry 3 is probably the most fun I’ve ever had in a first person shooter. It’s also the first action game I’ve played in which exploration and immersion took precedence over satisfying an itchy trigger finger. While the core element of Far Cry 3’s gameplay is filling modern-day pirates with lead, most of my favorite moments involved simply exploring the vast, beautiful, and meticulously crafted tropical archipelago of Rook Island. Continue reading