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John Cowne

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I feel pretty dumb with this question: I just picked up a 2nd hand book by Gabe Fajuri, called “Mysterio’s Encyclopedia of Magic and Conjuring”. Fajuri weaves a story about a magician called Mysterio (aka Alphonse Zenobius Rekulak) who ‘died on stage in 1936’. In the process of this story, Fajuri presents heaps of tricks describing their effects and performances. So...was Mysterio a real person, or a literary device? With my sad attempts to search out the facts on the web, I’m still wondering if I’m being left out of a joke.
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Tom G

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Reply with quote  #2 
Sounds like fiction.... you could get in touch with Gabe and ask.
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #3 
Based on a brief search, I'm going with literary conceit. All references contain the same blurb from the book. I tried an anagram solver, but came up with nothing. 

Like Tom suggested, write the author... maybe he'll give you a straight answer!

Please let us know if you discover the truth.

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John Cowne

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson
Based on a brief search, I'm going with literary conceit. All references contain the same blurb from the book. I tried an anagram solver, but came up with nothing. 

Like Tom suggested, write the author... maybe he'll give you a straight answer!

Please let us know if you discover the truth.

Av
Thanks Tom and Anthony. I will try to get on to the author.
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John Cowne

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Reply with quote  #5 
Just got a gracious reply from Gabe; yes, Mysterio is a literary device. Sigh (sort of)! The book is great ‘historical faction’, weaving in details of about 300 tricks, which many of you would know, along with stories and some fresh well-explained handlings that are new (to me). If you haven’t read it yet, I think any magician would find it entertaining and educational. Now, when I reread the bits about Mysterio, I can still imagine him as a flesh and blood character taking me back to an incredibly fascinating time in magic history that I missed, being only 63.
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #6 
Cool. Thanks for the clarification. The term historical faction is new to me. Doesn't bode well in an era of alternative facts, huh?

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #7 
Historical fiction, not faction.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_fiction
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John Cowne

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson
Cool. Thanks for the clarification. The term historical faction is new to me. Doesn't bode well in an era of alternative facts, huh?

Av
Yes, Anthony, every time there’s a ‘blurring of reality’, I think it creates a certain unrest in us. I think the first time I heard the term ‘historical faction’ was in the context of novels where the author weaves an invented character in with otherwise historical lives. I think ‘Mysterio’ is somewhat an a example of this, but Gabe did it so well, even with the bio of Mysterio on the book’s back cover, that my guard was down and I was drawn in to his world.The more historically astute reader would have caught on earlier and still happily went for the ride. Of course, Gabe never intended to purposely mislead his readers: what magician would ever do that😉??! Just in case I’m misunderstood, Gabe very graciously and unequivocally informed me of ‘the truth’. I can sleep again. I’m really enjoying this forum.
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John Cowne

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ
Historical fiction, not faction.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_fiction
Thanks for the correction, Ray. I can see how the term might appear to be tautological. I did intend to use the word ‘faction’; it might be a term that has been used more in Australia as a (quasi?)literary term (I heard it being discussed in a radio talk-back session with an author, and had a fascinating discussion with my local librarian)? Perhaps you may have come across a similar idea, using the word ‘factoid’. I wrote a bit more about it in my reply to Anthony.
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Robin Dawes

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My favourite author of historical fiction is Dorothy Dunnett - she wrote a series of novels about a Scottish renegade in the decades around the time of Mary Queen of Scots (though only tangentially related to the intense political intrigue of the times) and another series set somewhat earlier, about a 15th century adventurer from the area now called Belgium.   She also wrote a brilliant retelling of the Macbeth story, in which Macbeth is definitely the hero!  Ms. Dunnett began all of her historical novels with an enormous list of all the characters in her story, separated into "Known to history" and "Unknown to history" .  She was the best I have ever read at weaving a story about invented characters interacting with actual people.
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John Cowne

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Dawes
My favourite author of historical fiction is Dorothy Dunnett - she wrote a series of novels about a Scottish renegade in the decades around the time of Mary Queen of Scots (though only tangentially related to the intense political intrigue of the times) and another series set somewhat earlier, about a 15th century adventurer from the area now called Belgium.   She also wrote a brilliant retelling of the Macbeth story, in which Macbeth is definitely the hero!  Ms. Dunnett began all of her historical novels with an enormous list of all the characters in her story, separated into "Known to history" and "Unknown to history" .  She was the best I have ever read at weaving a story about invented characters interacting with actual people.
Have you read any Jean Plaidy/Eleanor Burford/Victoria Holt /Philippa Carr? I really like the categories, “Known to history” and “Unknown to history”: that would be a very helpful guide to many books.
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ
Historical fiction, not faction.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_fiction


I just assumed it was a neologism, one of which I was unfamiliar. Happens all the time!

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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cowne
Have you read any Jean Plaidy/Eleanor Burford/Victoria Holt /Philippa Carr?


Her names are so familiar that I thought I must have read some of her work, but I've just browsed all of the titles of books she wrote - none of them strike a bell.  I suspect that my parents read them and had them about the house when I was growing up.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cowne
Thanks for the correction, Ray. I can see how the term might appear to be tautological. I did intend to use the word ‘faction’; it might be a term that has been used more in Australia as a (quasi?)literary term (I heard it being discussed in a radio talk-back session with an author, and had a fascinating discussion with my local librarian)? Perhaps you may have come across a similar idea, using the word ‘factoid’. I wrote a bit more about it in my reply to Anthony.


I didn't mean to correct anyone, just assumed it was a typo. I even googled the phrase and came up empty.
I hope to visit Australia someday. But then I hope to go a lot of places!
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John Cowne

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ


I didn't mean to correct anyone, just assumed it was a typo. I even googled the phrase and came up empty.
I hope to visit Australia someday. But then I hope to go a lot of places!
Let me know when you come over...if near us, there’s always a spare bed. BTW, please feel free to correct me, that’s how I learn.
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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #16 
If you search Wikipedia for "faction" it takes you to a disambiguation page.  One of the recognized meanings is "non-fiction novel"
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #17 
Well that's a new one on me.  I thought faction was fiction but ended up being off a fraction.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Dawes
If you search Wikipedia for "faction" it takes you to a disambiguation page.  One of the recognized meanings is "non-fiction novel"


BTW Robin, thanks for the heads-up.  I've never done a search on Wikipedia that way, so I learned something new!
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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ
Well that's a new one on me.  I thought faction was fiction but ended up being off a fraction.


Nice!
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