Both are smoking pipes.
As If: Modern Enchantment and the Literary PreHistory of Virtual Reality
Holmes walks towards the spine of the book in search of a clue, magnifying glass in hand. Gandalf holds his wooden staff, making his way to the edge of the right side of the cover as he contemplates the fate of Middle Earth. A monster rises behind them. A hybrid of a kraken and a vampire, it looks like it slithered out from between copies of Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Bram Stoker's Dracula that were jammed together on a musty bookshelf somewhere.
As If: Modern Enchantment and the Literary Prehistory of Virtual Reality
The cover is a less garish version of some of the far gaudier artwork that adorned the covers of magazines such as Super Science Stories in the s Saler In fact, it evokes scenes depicted on books from the fantasy publisher Ballantine Books, not Oxford University Press, Saler's publisher. Tobias and O'Connor, in other words, have gotten the cover of As If just right.
They aim to be neither cool nor sleek. They choose much more appropriately to risk a cheesy nerdiness appropriate to Saler's subject matter: fantasy.
Michael Saler - Google Scholar Citations
For many, fantasy is irresponsibly escapist, a subgenre of fiction stereotypically associated with pathetic geeks somehow convinced that "places" like Middle Earth and "people" like Gandalf are real. Saler productively corrects this view of fantasy in As If, arguing in the end that "we are all geeks now" 3. As the presence of both Gandalf and Sherlock on the cover of As If communicates, however, Saler does not restrict fantasy to the specific genre of fantasy.
That genre is popularly devoted to magical lands where witches and wizards have startling powers; social life is structured by feudal politics; and races of elves, dwarves, men, and the like or, rather, the definitively unlike are kept strictly segregated.
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His research interests include modern European intellectual and cultural history and modern British history. The stern visage of Max Weber looms over discussions of modernity and enchantment, as does the sunnier countenance of Charles…. After all, it's an ethnography of spiritual practitioners in….
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