Software Engineering and Computer Games is part of Rudy Rucker's approach to teaching programming without boring students to death. If you think games are frivolous, you should try writing one.
I am from the home computer generation, and learnt to program by trial-and-error on my ZX Spectrum, which was ready to program 2 seconds after you switched it on (it's not all progress is it?). In fact every kid I knew could coax the computers in WH Smiths to write "Rudy is Cool!" hundreds of times across the screen (albeit using the now frowned-upon GOTO command). Kids these days don't get that option: just try to program a PC or a MAC without buying hundreds of pounds worth of software and studying reams of manuals. We need more initiatives like Rudy's book to teach kids that computing can be a truly interactive experience, and empower them to participate and contribute.
I have been a big fan of Rudy Rucker for a long time, and the extent of his intelligence is obvious from this list of his publications. He also has a blog that is eclectic and fascinating.