Normally I don’t read with a theme in mind but this month it just happened and it was all about sci-fi and the creative space. Adam’s book is a call to make more art, the backstory guide will help craft a better story, and Bandwidth will keep you up at night especially if you finished watching The Great Hack on Netflix.

This might seem like an odd one but hear me out. One of the “asks” at MLive is for me to tell, craft, hone, record or otherwise share stories every day and a good story needs a hero and probably a guide. So, I picked this book up as a fun exercise to build the backstory of a character and then place them into situations and see how they might respond. When you are creating in the “monomyth” space (read: Hero’s Journey) one of the usual prompts is called “save the cat,” which was coined by Blake Snyder. It represents the moment the protagonist, the hero of your story, does something nice. You can use this prompt to mold your character to make all sorts of decisions that ripple through the story, for example, does he/she walk past the cat in a tree because they “aren’t a cat person.” How does that change the shape, depth and feel of your story?

Since it is summer, I tend to look for books that stretch me a bit or call me to take an action and this book did both. If you are looking to play in the writing space, this is worth picking up.

Every Tool’s a Hammer

by Adam Savage

Adam is a bit of a spirit animal for me and this book is an oracle for creativity; one-half memoir and one-half how-to for creating your own maker space. If you’re only familiar with Adam from MythBusters you’ll be delighted by the stories from the rest of his career, his time at Industrial Light and Magic, and his stories about his costume builds for San Diego Comic Con. If you are more well-versed in Adam’s career, you’ll find the system he uses to create his space as a maker insightful. It inspired me to start a bunch of projects “in the deep end of the pool.”

Bandwidth (Analog #)

by Eliot Peper

Imagine a world where a single company controls all the world’s bandwidth, (Hard to imagine right?) Eliot Peper builds a world around his protagonist Dag that seems eerily similar to the events of Cambridge Analytica with far more destructive consequences. In the near future we all have a single “feed” where all of our communication and entertainment lives, each person has a unique feed that is completely secure – until it isn’t. While only the first book in the trilogy, this has been a very fun sci-fi read that reaches into the future with a firm grasp on current events. If you work in marketing and love sci-fi, I cannot recommend this series enough.

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