Bioshock Infinite 'Reading List' - Potential Spoilers

#1 Edited by WalkerTR77 (1348 posts) -

I'm a fan of finding satellite media related to what I'm currently enjoying to add a bit of cultural breadth to the experience. Think reading The Road and playing Fallout 3 or Heart of Darkness after watching Apocalypse Now.

Infinite is stuffed with ideas so lends itself well to this. There's probably even more potential here between the time period and various themes to explore in other media than the original Bioshock had. I'm calling it a reading list for lack of a better term but any kind of media is welcome.

I'll get us started, chip in with whatever the game reminded you of or things you think would be good to get into for those who've finished the game and want something more. I'd like to add to this, these are just the best I can come up with right now.

The Reading List

This seems to me to be a good place to start, since the man himself (Ken Levine) cites it as a primary inspiration for the ideas and setting of the game. Not read it yet but intend to. As far as I know it's about a series of murders taking place against the backdrop of the 1893 Chicago worlds fair.

  • Jim Crow Laws

Jim Crow laws enforced the 'separate but equal' status which pops up a few times during the game such as in the separate washrooms. Good general reading on this can be found here and here.

A particularly good essay also set during the Chicago worlds fair (which happens to be where the city of Columbia debuted to the world) is African Americans in 'The White City:' The World's Columbian Exposition of 1893.

A short story recommended by a user in another thread (can't remember who, sorry) about time travel. Can't say I personally enjoyed it but it's short and worth a look.

A great, period appropriate movie which explores the American exceptionalism/ religion angle with a character not dissimilar to Comstock in many respects.

  • The Prestige

Novel or movie. Fantastical use of science in turn of the century America.

Good for a better understanding of the Luteces and their inspiration.

"A fictional collage of stories dreamed by Albert Einstein in 1905, when he worked in a patent office in Switzerland".

  • America: 1900

A PBS documentary Ken himself recommends. I'm in the UK so can't check this out but it sounds like a good shout.

  • Physics

Multiple Universe docs: Plenty of them to choose from, Youtube has you covered. Maybe this one? Surely there's a Brian Cox one out there somewhere.

#2 Posted by JadeGL (609 posts) -

The Prestige - Christopher Priest

This novel kind of makes me think of some of the themes of the game, namely the use of science in a fantastic and anachronistic way and the time period, obviously. While it's not exact for a correlation, it made a similar impression on me.

#3 Edited by Chaser324 (5945 posts) -

There were several moments where the Lutece siblings reminded me of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard.

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#4 Posted by ahynds (30 posts) -

The Devil in the White City is an excellent read, beyond just its influence on B:I. One book this game made me think of is Alan Lightman's Einstein's Dreams, mainly for the way that both the game and the book play around with concepts of time. And I'm really hankering for some reading on multiple universes.

#5 Posted by JazGalaxy (1577 posts) -

There were several moments where the Lutece siblings reminded me of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard.

Oh totally. The "heads" coin thing is entirely taken directly from the book. In fact, I'm not even sure you can completely understand those characters unless you've read that book. (Bold claim, I know. But the symbolic nature of their state in limbo and the fact that the coin always turns up heads is examined more cleanly in R&G.)

#6 Posted by amlabella (315 posts) -

I was thinking about making a thread like this myself, good stuff. I've added Devil in the White City, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and Einstein's Dreams to my "to read" list for the summer (when I'm not constantly reading novels for college classes).

Anyone have good recommendations for non-fiction works focused on concepts like the multiverse? Preferably something aimed at newcomers, I'm not exactly well-versed in that kind of stuff.

#7 Posted by Bocam (3537 posts) -
  • Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by Wittgenstein
  • Legion of Time by Jack Williamson
  • Flatland by Edwin Abbott Abbott
#8 Edited by gkhan (360 posts) -

I've only read the beginning of it, but Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day begins on an airship during the time of the 1893 World Expo in Chicago. So, you know, that might be relevant.

#9 Edited by Ghostiet (5153 posts) -

"The Garden of Forking Paths" by Jorge Luis Borges - it was already recommended by someone on these forums.

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