This continues to be one of my favorite current comics series, and this arc provides another new angle. Having covered interplanetary adventure and nuclear family dynamics, now there’s quotidian workplace ennui out in a world whose contours keep expanding beyond the initial binary conflict of the early issues.
I had seen several of these essays (or perhaps precursors to them) online, but taking them all in again together with the material I hadn’t seen before made for a good reminder of why I enjoy reading Bogost on the material and cultural aspects of technology. Some of these are clear provocations (the iPhone as cigarette, for example), but this sort of experimentation is precisely what is missing from most of the writing happening from more straight-ahead ‘tech’ writers. My favorite covered the changing design biases over Apple history from the Apple ][ as a tinkerer’s machine to the hermetically sealed consumer objects of today. Bogost’s sensitivity to the marketing, documentation, and material design of the products in addition to their technical capabilities made this not-new-to-him argument for more compelling than those I’ve seen from Jeff Atwood or Cory Doctorow. The quickly-produced e-book with cheap print option format of this University of Minnesota Press series was also intriguing. I’m curious to check out other titles.