Commonplace

“Readers of [J.R.R.] Tolkien often recall the strange narrative impulse engendered by those marginal regions named and labeled on the books’ endpaper maps, yet never visited or even referred to by the characters in The Lord of the Rings.  All enduring popular literature has this open-ended quality, and extends this invitation to the reader to continue, on his or her own, with the adventure.  Through a combination of trompe l’oeil allusions, of imaginative persistence of vision, it creates a sense of an infinite horizon of play, an endless game board; it spawns, without trying, a thousand sequels, diagrams, and Web sites.  In this sense the Sherlockian Game anticipated, and helped to invent, the contemporary fandom that has become indistinguishable from contemporary popular art; it was the Web avant la lettre.”

—Michael Chabon, “Fan Fictions: On Sherlock Holmes,” Maps and Legends

About Walter Biggins

Walter Biggins is a writer based in Athens, GA. His work has been published in RogerEbert.com, Bookslut, The Comics Journal, Salon, The Baseball Chronicle, Jackson Free Press, and Valley Voices: A Literary Review. Follow him on Twitter (@walter_biggins), and check out his bimonthly newsletter (https://tinyletter.com/Walter_Biggins).
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