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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

HTML Giant Takes on "Magic: The Gathering as Literature"

Posted by Alison Hallett on Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 10:29 AM

I'm treading in unfamiliar (to me) geek territory here, but I don't think we have any token Magic-playing interns running around at the moment, so I'll try to wield this thing gracefully:

Lit-site HTML Giant has an interesting series from the Magic tournament Pro Tour Philadelphia, with the predictably self-conscious title "Magic The Gathering as Literature." Their most interesting post, to my mind, is the second one, which looks at the body of writing generated around the game. Take, for example, this bit about prolific Magic columnist Patrick Chapin:

Consider Chapin’s 2009 article “A Void But Nothing Missing,” a year-in-review column obviously inspired by Georges Perec’s lipogrammatic novel La Disparition (1969; translated as A Void, 1995). Like Perec, Chapin avoids all use of the letter e:

It was 365 days ago that I put out a crazy work to top off 2008. Today, I will hark back to that tradition. Happily, this work will not consist of a difficult-to-grok format; it will stay smooth, and scanning it will stay a snap. I only fall victim to this folly for 1 day out of 365, and I am most thankful to you for your stoicism.

The 2008 column Chapin’s referring to, “Reverse Read Magic Theory for Everyone,” was itself a palindromic article whose paragraphs make more sense when read backwards (a fact not directly revealed until the very end).

It's of interest to word-nerds and game-nerds and the presumably vast swath of Venn diagram where the two overlap.

(All interested parties probably saw both last week's OK Cupid/Magic kerfuffle and regular Blogtown commenter Kiala Kazebee's great response. But just in case.)

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