I’ve made some inept attempts to relate some of what Bryan Alexander opened up in my skull during his ELI presentation on alternate reality games. For the benefit of the poor souls who’ve been on the receiving end of my incoherent harangues, I follow up with a pointer to Bryan’s post on ARG antecedents (just updated) — a short collection of literary works, participatory games and hoaxes that give a sense of the cultural flavour for this emerging genre.
I am haunted by an uncanny sense there needs to be some Poe added, but can’t think of the appropriate tale, some kind of brainlock…
I nominate Ligeia, which has a very strange textual crux. At a moment when the title character seems to be confessing something, one edition says “in the hour of her making them,” which suggests what you’d expect, that they’re Ligeia’s confessions; while another edition says “in the hour of my making them,” which suggests that the narrator is making the whole thing up in classic paranoid-delusional style, a reading for which there is considerable support within the text (a version of the old “unreliable narrator” trope, and in this case the unreliability becomes comprehensive, as is apparent when one reads the story from this point of view).
I haven’t thought about this one in a while–time to dust off the Poe and enjoy some quality time with imaginary lovers….
Hadn’t thought of that one, thanks so much Gardner.
For some reason I keep circling back to one of the Dupin stories, but I can’t say why just yet.
All the more reason to yank my neglected volume of tales off the shelf.
Perhaps “A Tale of the Ragged Mountains” in which the protagonist tells a strange dream of being bit by a snake and dying… which then turns out to be true… kind of.
Dupin? There are only three Dupin stories, I think– Rue Morgue, Purloined Letter– and the third which I can’t recall.