This year is the 50th anniversary of the death of German novelist Herman Hesse, and to mark the occasion, the BBC created a half-hour radio program about his work. I was interviewed about his book the Glass Bead Game, a story set in a future where a priestly class plays a mysterious game that lets them explore the relationships among disciplines like mathematics, music, and astronomy.
I have always been fascinated by the concept of Hesse’s Glass Bead Game, in part because he keeps the actual rules of the game frustratingly ambiguous in his book. As a game that potentially crossed every other cultural domain, the Glass Bead Game was a big influence on the Metagame, a card game I created with Local No. 12 in which players compare and contrast different forms of art, design, media, and entertainment.
You can listen to the entire BBC program here. I come in about halfway through, around minute 18:00. Among other topics, I discuss how our geek-centric, information-dominated age was presaged in the Glass Bead Game’s society of intellectual scholar-monks. Thanks to producer Alan Hall for tracking me down in Berlin this summer for our very enjoyable interview.