Land of Lisp

Land of Lisp

Learn to Program in Lisp, One Game at a Time!
by Conrad Barski, M.D.
October 2010, 504 pp.
This book is currently out of stock, but the ebook is still available

Lisp has been hailed as the world’s most powerful programming language, but its cryptic syntax and academic reputation can be enough to scare off even experienced programmers. Those dark days are finally over—Land of Lisp brings the power of functional programming to the people!

With his brilliantly quirky comics and out-of-this-world games, longtime Lisper Conrad Barski teaches you the mysteries of Common Lisp. You’ll start with the basics, like list manipulation, I/O, and recursion, then move on to more complex topics like macros, higher order programming, and domain-specific languages. Then, when your brain overheats, you can kick back with an action-packed comic book interlude!

Along the way you’ll create (and play) games like Wizard Adventure, a text adventure with a whiskey-soaked twist, and Grand Theft Wumpus, the most violent version of Hunt the Wumpus the world has ever seen.

You'll learn to:

  • Master the quirks of Lisp’s syntax and semantics
  • Write concise and elegant functional programs
  • Use macros, create domain-specific languages, and learn other advanced Lisp techniques
  • Create your own web server, and use it to play browser-based games
  • Put your Lisp skills to the test by writing brain-melting games like Dice of Doom and Orc Battle

With Land of Lisp, the power of functional programming is yours to wield.

Author Bio 

Conrad Barski has an M.D. from the University of Miami, and nearly 20 years of programming experience. This includes a stint developing an obscure Atari Jaguar game, and working on many medical software projects. Barski is also an avid cartoonist, having created the popular alien Lisp mascot and many graphical tutorials. He currently develops cardiology software and lives in Washington, D.C.

Table of contents 


Section I: Lisp Is Power
Chapter 1: Getting Started with Lisp
Chapter 2: Our First Lisp Program
Chapter 3: The Syntax of Lisp Code

Section II: Lisp Is Symmetry
Chapter 4: Conditions
Chapter 5: Learning Lisp Text and Console Programming... By Building a Text Game Engine!
Chapter 6: Interacting with the World: Reading and Printing in Lisp
Chapter 6.5: Lambda: A Function So Important It Deserves Its Own Chapter
Chapter 7: More About Lists
Chapter 8: This Ain't Your Daddy's Wumpus
Chapter 9: Advanced Data Types and Generic Programming

Section III: Lisp Is Hacking
Chapter 10: loop and format: The Seedy Underbelly of Lisp
Chapter 11: Printing Text with the format Function
Chapter 12: Working with Streams
Chapter 13: Let's Create a Web Server!

Interlude: Functional Programming Is Beautiful

Section IV: Lisp Is Science
Chapter 14: Ramping Lisp Up a Notch with Functional Programming
Chapter 15: Dice of Doom: A Game Written in the Functional Style
Chapter 16: The Magic of Lisp Macros
Chapter 17: Domain Specific Languages
Chapter 18: Lazy Programming
Chapter 19: Adding Graphics to Dice of Doom
Chapter 20: Making Dice of Doom More Fun

Epilogue: Land of Lisp: Secrets of the Seven Guilds

View the detailed Table of Contents (PDF).
View the Index (PDF).


"Turns out the border between genius and insanity is a pretty cheery place."
Paul Graham

"An excellent book for someone who wants to learn how to program."

"If for no other reason, you should buy Land of Lisp because of the extreme levels of unadulterated nerdery filling its pages. This book will appeal to the long-time Lisper and the neophyte."
Michael Fogus, author of The Joy of Clojure and Functional JavaScript

"By choosing to teach Common Lisp using 1980s style text games the author has come up with an original and clever idea that avoids all the usual boring examples found in computer language books."
John Graham-Cumming, author of The Geek Atlas

"To be honest, I just bought the book for enjoyment but I find myself getting a new perspective and learning more about Common Lisp. Recommended!"
Mark Watson, author of Scripting Intelligence

Extra Stuff 

Check out the Land of Lisp music video!


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