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SF Ep. 12

October 10, 2008—On arguably the greatest night in Literary Death Match history, the Rickshaw Stop in SF was aflame--a mix of brilliant readings, the best judging free drinks could summon and an enthusiastic crowd. The celebration was an epic one, as the second-ever Litquake edition of the series also doubled as the launch party for Opium7:7, the latest oddball delight from Opium Magazine.

Sponsored by the SF Chronicle, the night saw Zoetrope: All-Story representative Eric Puchner out-Laser Tag duel 826 Valencia rep Tom Corwin in a wacky shootout that scored him the LDM title.

But well before invisible bullets were ever shot, the night led off with rep Katherine Taylor who’s prose wobbled the audience with delight. She was followed by Corwin, who did the impossible (and a LDM first!), when he read his entire book--only going over the 10 minute time limit by a few ticks.

After, the judges--The Believer’s Andrew Leland, comedienne Debi Durst and last year’s Litquake LDM champion Daniel Handler--were hilarious beyond imagination, Handler so inspired by both readings he was moved to read passages from The Aenied. After deliberation, Corwin was selected a narrow winner.

The second round began with darling co-host Sky Hornig introducing the second round combatants, blushing with awe over the accomplishments of Post Road rep Tom Perrotta (“Wait, you wrote Election and Little Children? Wow!”). But it was her second introduction, Puchner, who read first. Puchner was simply astonishing, the crowd riding the wave of his words, and laughing repeatedly at his surprise turns of phrase. Perrotta, though, was not to be outdone. He read from his novel, The Abstinence Teacher, an arresting excerpt that had the hushed crowd hanging on every word.

The final shoot out.
After what will long be considered one of the most difficult choices in LDM history, the judges selected Puchner to advance and square off against Corwin in a rip-roaring shoot-’em up finale. The concluding challenge had Corwin and Puchner sporting Laser Tag-approved eyewear, and holding pistols. After standing back to back, Round 1 had them each walk five paces before blasting one another. Round 2 featured them shooting with their wrong hands. Round 3: wrong-handed and blindfolded!

Oh, wait. The Laser Tag idea flopped, and the finale actually featured the two finalists in a different kind of shooting match, as each was asked to down five shots of tap water. The winner and still champion was ultimately Eric Puchner. Amazing!

See all the photos from this event here!

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