Kill the Whale!--Part I

Classic Novels as Violent Video Games


“Inferno” is now a video game, with a brawny, armor-clad Dante as its protagonist…The game’s creators say there’s an audience for it. Their research showed that most people had heard of “Inferno” but few knew what it was about. This, they say, gave them license to make a few improvements.

     — The New York Times


 First Person Slaughter is proud to announce an exciting new line of video games designed to make those old, fusty classics you never got around to reading in college  relevant again! We put the cannon into the canon!

TAGLINE: “Justice comes out of the barrel of a gun.”
CHARACTER: You're Joseph K., a senior hedge-fund analyst. Somebody's been spreading rumors about you on Twitter. Somebody's gonna pay.
MISSION: Fight your way through a nightmarish legal bureaucracy that anticipates the rise of fascism. Kill anyone that stands in your way—corrupt judges, incompetent lawyers, lazy advocates. You are judge, jury, and executioner! 
WEAPONS: Existential dread, religious parables, a shotgun named Felice.
POWER-UPS: Meaningless physical encounters ("booty calls"), schnapps, Max Brod.
BOSS DEMON: A giant talking dung beetle. Watch out for the flaming balls of dung! They do five points hit damage plus two points cleaning bills. Tip: pierce his carapace of complacency with your pump-action of pain.
HIDDEN LEVEL: Confront and kill your philistine father who wanted you to give up all this writing nonsense in the first place and become a butcher.
CHEAT CODE: Ctrl-G unlocks sense of guilt.
SOUNDTRACK: "Peter Gunn," by Emerson, Lake and Palmer; "I Shot The Sheriff," by Eric Clapton; "I Fought The Law And The Law Won," by the Clash.
RATING: A for Angst.


Robert Brenner is a humorist, critic, and ventriloquist. His work has been published in New York Magazine, Open Salon (, and Happy.  

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The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).

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What makes a film actor into a larger-than-life movie star? James Harvey's passionate, freewheeling essays explain why there are some faces (from Greta Garbo's to Samuel L. Jackson's) from which we cannot look away.


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