Monday, December 5, 2011
Memewar: Table of Contents
It's such a little thing, but it really makes the whole magazine more accessible. The four primary pieces of writing have a separate table of contents with a two to three line summary of the story, while there's a regular table of contents right across the binding with just the title and author or artist listed. While I can see why not every piece has a summary--it could get quite long, and I'm not sure how you'd summarize images or poetry--the descriptions give enough of a preview to convince me that a story like issue 11's "Investing in Gold: Orcs, Farmers, Warcraft, and Economics" might actually be an interesting read. This is especially important in a magazine like Memewar, which covers a wide variety of genres. When we read "A Statistical Abstract of My Hometown" in McSweeney's, I knew that the statistics would be part of a story--but in Memwar a piece of that name might very well be exactly what it says on the label.
There are two other things I would like to see added to the contents. First, I would love it if genre was included. I enjoyed "Class Coffin" immensely but am not sure whether it's supposed to be fiction or nonfiction. This did not hamper my enjoyment of the piece, but I would have liked a solid idea about whether or not the titular object is imagined or an actual medical device, like a pressure chamber. Second, I'd love a list of photographers and artists right up front with the written work. Some story illustrations are listed with the writer, but not all; artist names appear next to most of the images in the magazine, but not all; and only a few of those artists have brief bios on the "Contributors" page.