Ark Fantastic staff recommends their favourite books

It’s still quarantine, and you somehow have to kill this boring period

So, you’re stuck at home, watching boring TV shows over and over, playing those boring games while waiting for the best RPG adventure out there (ha, see what we did there), and you’ve tried every possible recipe that contains flour. What to do… what to do? Read books, of course!

We are also in the quarantine, and while we are not working on Trip the Ark Fantastic, we are also trying our best to kill time, so, therefore, we are bringing a series of “Our favourite” which contains our favourite books, games, films and TV shows. In today’s repertoire?

Our favourite books

For this “Our favourite” blog, we have gathered six of our staff to tell us what are their favourite books in their life, and why. So if you’re looking for something great to read, look no further!

Piet Bronders

Piet, who came to Zagreb to work on Ark Fantastic all the way from Brussels is our lead programmer. Piet has developed several games and tools for Godot engine before, and is now working exclusively on our game, which is also based on Godot engine. Let’s see what are his favourite books. Also, make sure to read his blog about our FOSS (free and open-source software) pipeline of importing backgrounds into the game.

Malazan Book of the Fallen (Steven Erikson)

What is there to say about Malazan? Except for the fact that it is the best fantasy series ever written? Characters, story and prose blend together perfectly in this epic fantasy series spanning 10 books. My favorite book of the series is Deadhouse gates, in which the Malazans, occupiers and colonists serving an anti-hero role, get driven out of their conquered province giving the reader a crazy blend of the Helvetian Immigration and the Trail of Tears… with some magic thrown in for good measure!

Get it on Amazon

The First Law (Joe Abercrombie)

The underlying premise of this trilogy of fantasy books is all about the illusion of choice. It’s difficult to explain why I like this trilogy so much, but it’s a blend of having an interesting and complex cast, an amazing plot that wraps up in a very unconventional way and a crippled inquisitor who tortures people to death with the help of a mute albino.

Get it on Amazon

Mistborn Trilogy (Brandon Sanderson)

While the premise of the Mistborn Trilogy (There’s an evil tyrant lord who needs to be overthrown) is rather bland at first glance, this series sets itself apart by its intricate and unique magic system (Eating metals to gain powers) and by the fact that (spoiler warning!) the evil tyrant lord actually gets killed at the end of the first book and the rest of the story deals with the aftermath.

Get it on Amazon

Aleksandar Gavrilovic

Alex is the CEO of Gamechuck, and project lead of Trip the Ark Fantastic. He has years of experience in writing, coding and game design, with various award-winning and critically acclaimed projects in his portfolio, and now he’s going to share which three books basically affected him and perhaps changed his life? Alex has also written a lot of development blogs for our game, and the latest one is one of the most intriguing yet. It’s about the science of society in Ark Fantastic, and why we did it the way we did.

Wittgenstein’s Poker (David Edmonds, John Eidinow)

My introduction to Ludwig Wittgenstein, Karl Popper, and also to the scientific method in general. It’s very light reading but touches on many ideas of modern philosophy, epistemology, philosophy of science and so on, all in a fun and anecdotal way. Also, a great character study in two of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century.

Get it on Amazon

Summerhill (Alexander Sutherland Neill)

An autobiography of the Summerhill school’s principal and leader A.S. Neill. Neill had a revolutionary idea that children could self-organise without the need for teachers imposing authority. It greatly inspired my way of thinking about organising and about people in general, and what makes us tick.

Get it on Amazon

Gödel, Escher, Bach (Douglas R. Hofstadter)

This gigantic book changed the way I view and think about almost everything. It talks about science, philosophy, mathematics, art… The themes present in the book (evolution, linguistics, game theory, games, neuroscience, programming…) are things that interest me to this day and have brought me to what I’m doing now. Also, it’s a Pulitzer award winner.

Get it on Amazon

Fenton Hutson

Fenton is our UK-based part of the team, and our esteemed music composer. Fenton is a graduate in Composition from the Royal Northern College of Music, and has composed for numerous professional orchestras and ensembles. He has also received various prestigious awards, including Ralph Vaughan Williams award. Additionally, take a look at his first part of how he makes music for Trip the Ark Fantastic.

Hallelujah Junction (John Adams)

An autobiography of the composer John Adams which kept me inspired throughout my last year of undergrad. His notes on music and experience in his life as a composer taught me a lot about my own music and as simple as it is, following what you feel is the right thing will ultimately lead you to create what you should be creating.

Get it on Amazon

Into the Wild (Jon Krakauer)

A book that details the rejection of society by Christopher Mccandless and his embracement of the wild, which ultimately leads to his death and his realisation of a simple truth around happiness. Its appeal for me is in the resonance that is felt with the simple and instinctual views of human curiosity and adventurousness, and what humans have done to explore such feelings.

Get it on Amazon

The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien)

It’s on the list because it was the first book I ever owned, read and re-read (not including nursery books of course). Perhaps this is what sparked my love for all things fantasy – who knows? But it encouraged me to wonder and imagine and I haven’t stopped since.

Get it on Amazon

Matija Malatistinic

Matija is an interesting fellow. A former school teacher is now working as a sound designer for Gamechuck and Trip the Ark Fantastic. In his free time, he plays (and growls) for a death metal band, and usually comes to the office in t-shirts displaying beheaded people. Make sure to read Matija’s blog where he described how exactly he makes sounds for Trip the Ark Fantastic!

Post Office (Charles Bukowski)

This book was suggested by a friend at the best possible time: while I was working a summer job during high school. It bought me with it’s “to point” writing, dark humor, self destructive personality of the main character… Henry Chinasky gets into absurd situations while doing a mundane job as a postman with an always present hangover.

Get it on Amazon

Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)

This dystopian novel is a classic. It shows a cold society with genetically modified citizens born into a strict hierarchy.

Get it on Amazon

The Stranger (Albert Camus)

Ordinary man who is drawn into murder. Novel that makes you think about your actions and what could your simple action say about you in the future.

Get it on Amazon

Jan Juracic

Jan Juracic is a lead writer for Trip the Ark Fantastic and a Master of Creative Writing from Brunel University London. There are more interesting stuff about Jan. He has published a book of short stories “Brunelleschi, don’t leave me stranded”, wrote the dialogue for the Humble Bundle Original video-game “vApe Escape”, and if you come from Croatia (specifically, Zagreb), Jan’s brother Vid, runs his a super-popular series of documentaries “Kvart priča” (the hood talks) on YouTube.

Jan also wrote a great piece on dialogues in video games, and how are we dealing with the topic in Trip the Ark Fantastic. Check it out!

The Teleportation Accident (Ned Beauman)

Egon Loeser (what a name, eh?) is a theatre stage designer in 1929’s Berlin whose only interests in life are the works of an obscure set designer in Renaissance Italy, and finally getting laid. This book manages to be both intricate and ha-ha funny–like a naughty arabesque.

Get it on Amazon

Collected Fictions (Jorge Luis Borges)

The short stories by Borges are labyrinths of erudite references and obscure allusions, but at their centres you find wonders that transcends any requirements of education. Someone could crawl out from under a rock, raw and soft as a baby, and stumped about who Shakespeare was, and still be struck by their strange gifts.

Get it on Amazon

Superintelligence (Nick Bostrom)

As precise and unyielding as the tungsten-tipped claws of our inevitable robot overlords, Nick Bostrom’s book is the go-to argument for why we should be scared of the rise of AI. It is unnervingly well written: it anticipates the readers’ thought-process with an almost oracular accuracy, and as soon an objection rises in their mind its very next paragraph is already delivering a cold and surgical retort. Masterful.

Get it on Amazon

Igor Gajic

Igor is Gamechuck’s marketing and community manager, with a large experience in IT and gaming journalism, and has previously worked for several smaller gaming studios in Croatia.

It can’t always be caviar (Johannes Mario Simmel)

A perfect book for those times when you’re lying in a hospital bed with a broken knee. A crime/comedy/recipe book that follows Thomas Levin who is driven out of London and made to work as a spy for four different countries during and after World War II. One of the best things about the novel is that contains quite detailed recipes for different meals Thomas cooks while off his duty.

Get in on Amazon (but you could probably find it in your local library much cheaper)

Dreamcatcher (Stephen King)

I’m a big fan of Stephen King and his work. Movies are also good, although Dreamcatcher the movie was crap, unfortunately. The novel is about an alien invasion, your own body abduction and manipulation, and a lot of creepy, creepy gore. Love it.

Get in on Amazon

1984 (George Orwell)

I’m also a fan of dystopia, and George Orwell mastered it with 1984. Part of the reason why I liked Half-Life 2 that much.

Get in on Amazon

What are your favourite books?

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