Essays

February 16, 2012

The Arcades Project: Martin Amis’ Guide to Classic Video Games 76

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Invasion of the Space Invaders is the madwoman in the attic of Amis’ house of nonfiction; many have heard rumors of its shameful presence, but few have seen it with their own eyes.

February 15, 2012

One-Armed Gunslingers and Germans in Teepees: A Brief Guide to the Euro-Western 3

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There is a spectacular scene featuring three Mexican assassins and a devilish monkey. The masterful silent choreography is a vivid reminder that Jodorowsky is the only trained mime ever to write a Western.

February 15, 2012

On Getting Paid: Literary Magazines and Remuneration 42

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The economy of literary magazines appears to be a closed system. Money is tight, payment is low, and subscriptions and institutional support appear to be the final hope for sustenance. Does it have to be that way?

February 14, 2012

Special Effects: Gone with the Wind and Genre Difficulties 5

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If the takeaway from this essay is that Gone with the Wind lacks the status of an epic romance — that it is, in fact, nothing but a love story with two rather bratty protagonists — my wife is not going to be happy with me.

February 13, 2012

Some Other, Better Bernhard, or the Rights and Wrongs of Readership 6

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How did such an unpleasant author fashion such a stunning coup? Is it because he isn’t as unpleasant as everyone says he is?

February 10, 2012

War Games: On Roberto Bolaño’s The Third Reich 16

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A mail-in card in my copy of “Richtofen’s War: The Air War 1914-1918″ reads, “Please send me your colorful brochure describing all Avalon Hill games and Play-by-Mail kits and your exclusive gaming magazine. I swear that I have the necessary grey-matter to enjoy your games.”

February 9, 2012

Lady Parts: Caitlin Flanagan and H.G. Wells on Wayward Girls 16

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Upon completing A Man of Parts and Girl Land, the new offering from Caitlin Flanagan, I know that our young girls are in extreme peril: if they are not succored by their families, they will wind up in nude animal ecstasy with H.G. Wells.

February 7, 2012

This Chart Is a Lonely Hunter: The Narrative Eros of the Infographic 23

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We’ve given today’s visual storytellers considerable power: for better or worse, they are the new meaning-makers, the priests of shorthand synthesis. We’re dependent on these priests to scrutinize, bundle, and produce beautiful information for us so that we can have our little infogasm and then retweet the information to our friends.

February 6, 2012

Bookstore Chronicles: Switch Comedies, Fake Words, Loose Adaptations 2

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I went to the theater with my girlfriend Margie. We bought tickets to see The Firm and sat in the last row making out the whole time. I was trying to do what they say can never be done — go home again or recapture the past.

February 3, 2012

My Twins: On First Children and First Novels 5

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I just had twins. One of them is human — fingers and toes, eyes and ears. The other is a hardcover — 346 pages long, eight years in the making — my first novel. These are very different creatures, yet they were both made somewhere inside me, gestating over months or years.