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James Dallas Egbert III: The Dungeon Master
08.27.2009
05:02 am
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When I was about 14, I discovered a copy of “The Dungeon Master: The Disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III” in the local library used-book bin. Noting that it had something to do with Dungeons and Dragons (don’t act smug!), and also noting that it cost about $1, I bought it.

That book stuck with me for a long time.

Egbert, for those who are not versed in their nerd history, was the kid who disappeared in the Michigan State University steam tunnels in 1979, apparently as the result of a live-action Dungeons and Dragons session, provoking a nation-wide scare about the then-new role-playing game that would be unrivaled in sheer stupidity levels until the Satanic Panic…

READ ON
Posted by Jason Louv
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08.27.2009
05:02 am
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Ernest Hemingway Marinades
08.22.2009
01:30 am
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While an African safari or a European tour may not be on your calendar for this year, there is a simple way to appreciate Hemingway?

Posted by Tara McGinley
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08.22.2009
01:30 am
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The Secret Sex Life Of William Golding
08.17.2009
04:42 pm
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Disturbing news from England today as The Guardian describes the sexual past of Lord of the Flies author and Nobel laureate, William Golding.  Apparently, Golding’s private papers detail his attempted rape of a 15-year old girl when the author himself was 18.  Golding went on to justify his behavior by calling his target “depraved by nature” and, at 14, “already sexy as an ape.”  (Hold on—is that VERY sexy, or sexy not at all?!)

And if that wasn?

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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08.17.2009
04:42 pm
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Inherent Vice: The Infomerical
08.04.2009
11:21 am
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Thomas Pynchon‘s largely well-received 7th novel, Inherent Vice, drops today and if you’re still unsure as to whether or not it’s worth your while, Jason Boog over at Galley Cat cobbled together a “commercial” of sorts using “vintage footage of 1970s California, private detectives, old-time computers, and some choice passages” from the novel itself.  Whether or not it persuades you to plop down your $15.37, I’m always fascinated by how Pynchon inspires the type of fanaticism that yields such DIY projects as Zak Smith’s illustrated Gravity’s Rainbow, or home-movie versions of The Crying of Lot 49.  The internet certainly makes it easier to indulge all this (see today’s already thriving Inherent Vice wiki), but apparently Pynchon needs the web just as much as the web needs him.  Searching for just the right Vice cover, Pynchon found his surfboard-toting hearse here.

 

 
Updated, Pynchon speaks: The Penguin Group USA just released an Inherent Vice promo piece featuring “unconfirmed” voice-over work from the man himself!  Keep watching until the very end, though, where Pynchon mocks the high cost of his own book, and sighs, “That used to be like 3 weeks of groceries, man!  What year is this again?”
 

 
(Thanks, Frank Smith!)

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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08.04.2009
11:21 am
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Website dedicated to forgotten bookmarks
08.03.2009
09:03 pm
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Forgotten Bookmarks is an amusing blog where the content consists of rather personal bookmarks found in used books.  The writer of the blog says, “I work at a used and rare bookstore, and I buy books from people everyday. These are the personal, funny, heartbreaking and weird things I find in those books.”

I had a great time going through the endless entries of found bookmarks. However, I did find some of the lost love letters and old photographs kinda sad.  

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Forgotten Bookmarks

Posted by Tara McGinley
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08.03.2009
09:03 pm
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Moore/Gebbie: Lost Girls
08.03.2009
06:28 pm
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Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie’s gigantic pornographic comic Lost Girls has just been published in one affordable hardback for $45. Nice.

I just finished it. It’s up there in the Moore canon, but shows so much of the collaborative process with his wife that you’ll be hard pressed to detect his voice. The book follows the erotic lives of three Lost Girls?

Posted by Jason Louv
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08.03.2009
06:28 pm
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John Burdett’s Bangkok Trilogy
08.01.2009
03:15 pm
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Now that there’s no such thing as journalism any more, I get the feeling that fiction is increasingly taking on a greater importance as one of the few places where people can get an un-corporate-filtered view of what’s actually going on in the world. It’s fiction that can say the things that non-fiction can’t, and which also isn’t burdened by things like “objectivity” or non-involved narration. Increasingly, I find myself turning to modern fiction?

Posted by Jason Louv
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08.01.2009
03:15 pm
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Seth: George Sprott (1894-1975)
07.29.2009
01:59 pm
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Over the weekend I saw a talk by Canadian cartoonist Seth, whose work I’d heard about for a long time but hadn’t gotten around to actually reading. His stuff is great?

Posted by Jason Louv
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07.29.2009
01:59 pm
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7 Days To Vice!
07.28.2009
01:20 pm
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One of my more interesting vacations involved a weekend in Palm Desert with Thomas Pynchon‘s just-released Mason & Dixon.  Fueled by coffee, date shakes and excitement, I plowed through that book’s 773 pages in 3 days, and emerged from it shaken…dazzled…moved.  Yep, moved.  What seems to get lost in the shuffle when those of us who still talk about Pynchon talk about Pynchon is how gracefully he can knit together a moment of Maximum Emotional Devastation.  I’m thinking now of Mason receiving comfort from his estranged son in the wake of Dixon’s death, or Zoyd Wheeler’s understanding that after so many wrong turns in life, in coming to Vineland, he was finally, FINALLY, guiding his family somewhere right—and good.  I could go on and on, and probably will, when next Tuesday sees the release of Pynchon’s seventh book, Inherent Vice.  The early reviews are in, and they do look promising—especially if you’ve been waiting for a Pynchonian take on Raymond Chandler set in the very beach towns where he presumably composed Gravity’s Rainbow.

And if you’re interested in that book’s construction, you might want to check out
A Journey Into The Mind Of [p].  The more interesting parts of Fosco Dubini’s (!) documentary trace Pynchon’s footsteps all the way to the apartment he was living and writing in.  The least interesting parts revolve around the chase for the man himself.
I mean, we (old fans) all know what he looks like by now, don’t we?!

Louis Menand on Inherent Vice in The New Yorker

Tim Martin on Inherent Vice in The Telegraph

Oh, and big FYI: the Inherent Vice wiki goes live next Tuesday morning!

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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07.28.2009
01:20 pm
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Alan Moore: 25,000 Years of Erotic Freedom
07.24.2009
12:51 am
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Spotted at Nerd Prom today: an advance edition of 25,000 Years of Erotic Freedom, a hardcover non-fiction book by comic author Alan Moore, copiously laid out with photos and illustrations. As it was announced (just now, apparently):

With each new technological advance, pornography has proliferated and degraded in quality. Today, porn is everywhere, but where is it art? 25,000 Years of Erotic Freedom surveys the history of pornography and argues that the success and vibrancy of a society relates to its permissiveness in sexual matters.

This history of erotic art brings together some of the most provocative illustrations ever published, showcasing the evolution of pornography over diverse cultures from prehistoric to modern times. Beginning with the Venus of Willendorf, created between 24,000-22,000 bce, and book-ended by contemporary photography, it also contains a timeline covering major erotic works in several cultures. 25,000 Years of Erotic Freedom ably captures the ancient and insuppressible creative drive of the sexual spirit, making this book a treatise on erotic art.

Moore says:

Sexually progressive cultures gave us literature, philosophy, civilization and the rest, while sexually restrictive cultures gave us the Dark Ages and the Holocaust.

The book is out in October.

Posted by Jason Louv
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07.24.2009
12:51 am
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