Saturday, September 29, 2012


On the British old school RPG Heroes and some homegrown games:
The book itself is typed and mimeographed or photocopied, staple-bound with some awful art. The whole thing - production, erratic rules, bad art - reminds me very much of Arduin Grimoire, and it's obvious that the thing was a labour of love. And I've kept my copy for very many years.... Eventually we came up with a game we called Mazes. As far as I know, this was an original development by us. You drew a maze and someone had to navigate their way through it. Then we added traps. Then an item you could pick up to avoid a trap - you could get past the fire if you had a fire extinguisher, for example. Then monsters: we used Daleks. If you'd found the machine gun, you could kill the Dalek before it got you, and your exploration continued.

(Via Grognardia)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September URLs — or, where I'm appearing this month


Three dates this month:

On Thursday, 9/20, I'll be in St. Louis, reading and talking at Washington University (8 p.m., Hurst Lounge, Duncker Hall, Room 201). More information here.

The following Thursday, 9/27, at 7 p.m., I'll be reading with and talking to Katie Kitamura, author of The Longshot and the new novel Gone to the Forest. It'll be at the Asian American Writer's Workshop—check here for more details.

And then the next day, Friday, 9/28, at 7 p.m., I'll be in conversation with Antoine Wilson, to kick off the publication of his second novel, Panorama City. We'll be at McNally Jackson, 52 Prince St. 

Hope to see you,

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Conversion disorder

The Quarterly Conversation has published a Harry Mathews symposium, to which I've contributed a piece on discovering HM's first three novels at (where else?) Book Ark.* I can't wait to read the other pieces. My fellow World's Least Popular Book Clubber (and New-York Ghost font designer), Dan Visel, delves into Mathews' first book, The Conversions; the novelist (and EP portrait-taker) Laird Hunt writes about My Life in CIA; Believer reviews editor and Oulipo explicator Daniel Levin Becker looks at Selected Declarations of Dependence (one of the few HM books I don't have—I think I read it all while standing at St. Mark's). Plus John Beer on HM's poetry, and AD Jameson and Jeremy M. Davies offering two takes on Cigarettes.

Here is an old picture of the cover of the book in question:

I've noticed an error in my piece: I've transposed the addresses of the store and my apartment!

*I mentioned Book Ark and Mathews in the Days of Yore interview, and wrote about Book Ark for an essay in the Asian American Literary Review. In 2000, I named Book Ark the best used bookstore in New York for the PTSNBN. Here is the (sadly defunct) store's website. I've probably talked about Mathews elsewhere; one place was for "n.b.," which...I'm not really sure what it was, but I wrote a review of the Oulipo Compendium, co-edited by HM.

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