NEXT

Interviews

Playing God

We got a lot of flak for putting God in the title.

Was it 1994 or the year of playing God?

Basking in the warm glow of our 1993 success streak and convinced the buying public enjoyed tec books on the "edge," I led the company further across the line separating the safe subjects from extreme exploration. Each of our cutting-edge titles tested the mettle of the bookstores, and each book successfully passed user examination and sales. Waite Group Press expanded, as did its book output. We published ten books that spring, 19 books altogether–a record high.

  • Playing God with REND386
  • Artificial Life Lab
  • 3D Modeling Lab
  • Morphing on your PC
  • Simple C++ Learn C++ using the POOP Method
  • Ray Tracing Worlds with POV-Ray
  • Ray Tracing for the Macintosh
  • Simple Internet
  • The Road to 2015
  • Memory Management in a Multimedia World

This period also declared itself the 'Spring of my contentment,' the season where I would meet my fiancé. As some saw it, she cast a spell. However, I would say that she passed me an insight that changed my attitude about the computer book market.

She declared that the "malling of America" era was ending while the emergence of the superstore paradigm was ascending. Borders, Costco, CompUSA, Best Buy, Wal-Mart. All these stores were displacing the small independent bookstores. This guaranteed a loss of individualization, if not the demise of the homogeneity of consumer choices. [Note: 15 years later, in 2011, the only chain bookstore left was Barnes and Noble. The computer store Best Buy survived. Of course, while Walmart stayed a giant, Amazon became a huge online sensation known as the Everything Store.]

I became fascinated with Huichol Art 1, which influenced my interest in virtual worlds and virtual reality. +
The flying human-robot on the cover seemed the perfect fit with modeling a dream.
Messing with the part of life controlled by nature or God was a step too far but worth it. Rudy got lots of PR from this book and so did we.

The Waite Group was most fortunate to capture the talents of well-known author Rudy Rucker to write a book called Artificial Life Lab. This book was followed by 3D Modeling Lab, which featured a captivating 3D-modeling program. Finally, we published Morphing on your PC.

We negotiated smart deals with shareware, freeware, and low-cost commercial software companies to make such books possible. We went from modeling objects on the computer to playing God with a virtual reality world-building program.

Playing God with REND386 raised eyebrows. Bookstores had a fit! Still, they adapted, and we followed with Ray Tracing Worlds.

The Road to 2015 was our first book about the future, and while it did not fit into the computer book arena, it was exciting to work with an author from a distinguished think tank. He was projecting 20 years into the future, a bold undertaking. It's insightful to look at which of his projects come true.

This author was projecting 20 years into the future, which often missed big trends. John Petersen got a lot right.
We all loved the ideas in this book, especially POOP.

We started experimenting with pushing the line separating the thorny subject of programming in C++ from pure fun by incorporating a dog into our book. Simple C++ uses a technique called Profound Object-Oriented Programming, or POOP. People noticed the book, picked it up, and laughed, which was all we needed to get them to buy it.

I was now age 46. My company had mushroomed to 20 people. I had put away money, purchased my second home, and taken possession of a new Lexus. I had begun thinking about children.

When might I have my own family? Does each of us play our own God? According to our book The Road to 2015, due to future developments in nano and biotechnology, the age span of my baby boomer generation was slated to become 140 years. Thus, only 94 years remained to me for marriage, children, and the "wisdom years."

Our faithful Bruce character from my first book on BASIC inspired Simple C++.