Lifeline was a newsletter for “enthusiasts of Conway’s Game of Life” that was published by Robert Wainwright in the early 1970’s. It and a handful of Scientific American articles were some of the only places ever to describe and coordinate the multitude of discoveries in the game during its early years. It ran for 11 issues from March 1971 through September 1973 and it was the first place in which the following discoveries/inventions (among others) were described:
- Several oscillators, such as candleabra, cuphook, double ewe, hustler, Kok’s galaxy, octagon II, quasar, and the twin bees shuttle.
- Several agars, including squaredance and several that are unnamed.
- The three grandparents of the R-pentomino, which are the longest-lived patterns with 5 or fewer cells.
- Immigration, a two-player variant of Conway’s Game of Life.
- The “new gun“, which was the second glider gun ever constructed.
- Bill Gosper’s famous breeder, the first pattern constructed that grows quadratically.
- The switch engine and related glider-producing switch engine.
- And on and on and on…
Unfortunately, Lifeline has been extremely difficult to find because only about 500 copies of the newsletter were distributed and they were distributed some 40 years ago. Thanks to someone who found a set of the newsletters in the bottom of a box somewhere however, I have been able to scan them and get all eleven issues online at the LifeWiki:
All eleven issues have page scans provided as images, the first five issues have been transcribed to text, and the first four issues have had their images updated/pretty-ified a bit. Also, you can download a PDF of the first issue below. So go read and learn about the early days of Life! And if you’re feeling generous, help transcribe some of the later issues to text.
Download: Lifeline Number 1 [pdf — 5.52MB]