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The greatest work IN English literature, now in the greatest format OF English literature: a chooseable-path adventure!
The greatest work IN English literature, now in the greatest format OF English literature: a chooseable-path adventure!
The greatest work IN English literature, now in the greatest format OF English literature: a chooseable-path adventure!
15,352 backers pledged $580,905 to help bring this project to life.

Updates! Also, my head.

Hi everyone, welcome to 2013! Here are some EXCITING UPDATES!

ADDRESSES: I've gotten a few emails asking "I'm about to move: how do I update my address?". The answer is: don't worry about it! We're going to send out a survey when the books are ready, asking you for your most current / preferred shipping address. Until them, move till your heart's content!

PROGRESS: everything is on schedule so far!  Stickers and tattoos have been finalized and sent to printers. The Poor Yorick prequel is about half-way done and I'm feeling pretty chuffed about it. Illustrations are coming in and no artist has missed a deadline yet! Also, guys, these illustrations are being knocked out of the park. Here's one of Ghost King Hamlet, painted by Becky Dreistadt of Tiny Kitten Teeth:

EXPLOSIONS: last night me and Jenn went down to the Site 3 Colaboratory which I can basically describe as "a wonderland of amazing inventions, cool tools, and rad people". Derek Quenneville met us there and showed us around. And our plan to "literally explode" is to do the following:

  • scan my head.
  • 3D print a version of my head.
  • blow up that head.

It speaks to Site 3's awesomeness that they have all the equipment necessary to do this on site. A 3D printer looks like this:

aka "the future"

Basically, you "draw" the object in liquid plastic (or metal, or even wood(!)), building it up layer-by-later. Here's a tiny sculpture that was quickly printed (at slower speeds you can get more detail):

I call her, Dead Astronaut In My Hand

But we're not at that stage yet!  We need some DATA. So we went upstairs and by applying some non-Microsoft-approved software to a Kinect, we turned it into a handheld 3D scanner. No big deal, right? It's 2013, stuff like this happens all the time.

I stood still while Derek moved the Kinect around my body. In real time, the software took the data of the scene the Kinect seeing and transformed that into a 3D model. The more you scan, the data it has, and the better the model becomes!

(it didn't actually hurt, I just REALLY commit to blinks)

Less than a minute later, we've got a full 3D model of my torso to play with:

That exclamation point means "Warning: HULKING OUT IN PROGRESS"

Over the next little while Derek's going to polish up the 3D model and then we'll go to print. Then: explosions!  In the spirit of this book, when we're done my completed head model will be uploaded to Thingiverse so that anyone else with a 3D printer will be able to download, remix, and print out my head. My digital topography of my skull may live on... forever??

My Head As a Greek Sculpture

Oh also To Be Or Not To Be is being edited and revised too, it's not ALL skulls all the time over here!


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    1. Amanda YourCat Morrison on January 17, 2013

      I would also like to see the painting and/or hear about the phone conversation, if that person is willing to share! If they want it kept private that is also cool.
      Ryan I am so excited about this literal-head-exploding! I have to agree with Jota, would be great if you could fill the inside with something, like fake blood, fireworks, candy... the possibilities, they are endless!
      Love this project so much

    2. Aston Ramsden on January 14, 2013

      Is there any way of using your head as the skull in the Poor Yorick speech.

    3. BearPerson on January 11, 2013

      Note that Kickstarter does not actually resize images in posts.
      That is, they instruct your browser to display the image scaled to the width of the kickstarter post, with CSS.
      The browser will still cheerfully download the full-resolution image from the server, though, then promptly dropping most of the pixels on the floor and displaying a scaled-down image, once it's done downloading a gazillion pixels.
      At the very least, this causes pages to build up more slowly than they should, you'll also be causing some unnecessary download traffic from whatever server hosts these images.

      TL;DR: If you care about your imagehost's or your backers' bandwidth,
      please scale images to kickstarter size even for update posts.

    4. Missing avatar

      CPE Gaebler on January 11, 2013

      Welp, time to get a 3D printer and fill it with chocolate. I do believe "Eating a chocolate Ryan North head" counts as winning at life.

    5. Reid Harris Cooper on January 11, 2013

      This is all kinds of awesome!

    6. Missing avatar

      Anthony Robusto on January 11, 2013

      This is all very exciting. Does anyone have a fainting couch I could borrow?

    7. Missing avatar

      nin on January 11, 2013

      LOVE the Ghost King painting, and using the kinect like that is pretty cool!

    8. Missing avatar

      Sonia Koval
      on January 11, 2013

      So glad you're having fun.:-)

    9. Missing avatar

      Alia Bye on January 11, 2013

      I've missed getting these updates in my inbox! I'll be sad once they end altogether. Separately re:3D Printers, the future is now! The world in Cory Doctorow's Makers will converge with reality pretty soon. Still waiting for my Back to the Future hoverboard though.

    10. Billy Seguire on January 11, 2013

      I also don't mind massive picture file sizes when they're of the forthcoming art. This looks gorgeous.

    11. Billy Seguire on January 11, 2013

      I have to admit, this is a WAY cooler implementation of "I will literally explode" which has now also become "I will digitally live on forever" as soon as somebody figures out how to Max Headroom this bust of yours by combining it with some sort of AI...

    12. Missing avatar

      Joshua Fischer on January 11, 2013

      Wondered what was going on with the email - thought I'd messed something up when I saw the pictures were so huge!

    13. Missing avatar

      Jota on January 11, 2013

      Would it be possible to leave a cavity inside the skull when the head is printed out, which could then be filled with some sort of viscous red fluid before the explosion, for added verisimilitude?

    14. Stephen Reeves on January 11, 2013

      "You wouldn't download a head..."

    15. Ryan Huff on January 11, 2013

      I think the fact you're going to allow total strangers to print your head (and trust me, I'm going to find a way to do so) more than makes up for the large file sizes.

    16. Missing avatar

      David Petersen on January 11, 2013

      I'm excited to see this happen.

      Also, I noticed that you had someone back at the UCIAPT2K level! If that person is willing to share will you please let us see your painting and know about the phone convo etc? If that person wants to keep it personal, then that is also good.

    17. Gally on January 11, 2013

      I have a 3d printer at work, you can rest assured I am going to print out a tiny Ryan North of my very own. Probably in hot pink.

    18. Missing avatar

      Luca Hibbard-Curto on January 11, 2013

      This is pretty awesome.

      I kinda want to get a 3D printer now, just to play with your head...

    19. Ryan North Creator on January 11, 2013

      Sorry about the giant JPEGs in your email, everyone! Kickstarter resizes images for display here and I assumed they did the same for the emails that go out. I'll resize them myself in the future!