Today, Fringe managing editor David Duhr interviewed editor-in-chief Lizzie Stark about her new book, Leaving Mundania, which explores the world of live action roleplay or larp — essentially make believe for adults on steroids.
Curious about larp? In April, Lizzie gave a talk in Helsinki about how September 11 affected larp communities in New York City as part of the Nordic Larp Talks:
Of course, David, like the entire Fringe staff, is completely impartial about Lizzie’s book. You should probably consider buying it.
When I discovered that journalist Ethan Gilsdorf had written a book about gaming and fantasy culture, my first reaction was to curse his name for beating me to the punch. But if anything, Gilsdorf’s Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks proves that the topic of why people chose to inhabit imaginary realms is so meaty that a single book couldn’t possibly cover everything.
Gilsdorf’s tome operates as a sort of survey of the fantasy world. He begins with Dungeons and Dragons, which he became involved with as a teen in the 1970s, and which he used to escape the reality of his mother, who survived a brain aneurysm but returned to her family as the “Momster,” crippled, and with short-term memory problems. From there, Gilsdorf fasts forward to the present day, when he rediscovers his old D & D character sheets in a blue cooler in the basement, and sets off on a quest that will take him to Pennsic, gaming conventions, a Georgia LARP, Azeroth, wizard rock shows, and ultimately, to New Zealand to see the land of Lord of the Rings.
He finds that there are many answers to the question, “Why do people get involved in imaginary worlds”? Sure, like his... more »more »
Lizzie Stark is a founding editor of Fringe, and the author of Leaving Mundania (Chicago Review Press, 2012), a narrative nonfiction book about the subculture of live-action role-playing, or larp. Her freelance journalism and writing has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, ... more »