Video Games Protected By the First Amendment; Still Open Season on Zombies

So says the Supreme Court in a 7-2 ruling (about the video games being protected speech, not the zombies part, to be clear). You can see the entire ruling here (pdf link).

This isn’t a particularly surprising ruling, since the lower courts have generally held video games to be covered by the First Amendment (and specifically in this case both the Federal District Court and the Ninth Circuit Court held it to be so prior to the Supreme Court ruling), but it’s still nice all the same to have the issue settled. The down side, I suppose, is that parents now really will have to read the ratings on the game boxes and perhaps even read up on the particular games to help decide whether the game is appropriate for their children, rather than rely on the government to do it for them, but then, isn’t that what they’re supposed to be doing anyway. Welcome to responsible parenting, folks; it’s surprisingly not that difficult if you make a habit of it.

In case anyone’s wondering, why yes, I do monitor my own child’s video game playing. I’m okay with her playing, for example, the Left 4 Dead series of games (and she’s gotten quite adept at dispatching witches with a single auto-shotgun blast, something for which I am appropriately jealous), but I’m pretty sure I’m going to keep Duke Nukem Forever out of her hands. I do not imagine years from now she will do anything but thank me for that particular bit of parenting.

BYOB As You’ve Never Experienced It Before

Via the estimable Greg van Eekhout (see his recent Big Idea piece here), a picture of how the Mysterious Galaxy bookstore in San Diego is promoting my upcoming author event there:

Note: I will not be signing any bacon you might bring. It’s hard for the meat to take ink very well. Don’t ask me how I know this. Just accept it as truth.

ALA 2011 Recap

I spent the weekend in New Orleans for the American Library Association’s annual meet-up, which means I got to hang about with librarians and other authors, two of my favorite categories of people. The big event of my attendance was the panel pictured above (by this person, whose picture I have shamelessly stolen), in which I, David Weber, Bill Willingham, Orson Scott Card, Jim Ottaviani, Carrie Vaughn and Gail Carriger spoke (nominally) on the subject of science fiction/fantasy and information sciences and technology. Don’t look at me like that, it was an interesting panel, and very well attended. Aside from that I signed books, did an interview, hung out with cool people and ate like a king, as one should when one is in New Orleans.

Late June is not necessarily the least hot and humid time one could be visiting New Orleans, but I didn’t mind, and in fact my major problem with the city was not the heat or humidity but the fact that every enclosed space is so aggressively air-conditioned that I ended up shivering more in New Orleans in late June than I did, say, in Ohio in mid-winter. That’s just not right. Dear New Orleans: It’s okay to scale back your air conditioning from “arctic” to “merely cold.”

I am happy to say that I did enjoy my New Orleans visit and hope to head down there again, perhaps on an actual vacation in which I have nothing to do but eat and wander about with the family. That would not be a bad thing at all.