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flying hoaxes and magic carpets

The newest hoax out of Australia's a lot more fun than the last one, and it has a happy ending. (And didn't really try to pretend it wasn't a hoax.) But if you ever wondered about the truth behind flying carpets, I think this is as good an answer as you're going to get:

According to Abidi, newly discovered 13th-century Persian scrolls he had translated have 'shed new light on the real story behind the flying carpet of the Arabian Nights'.

'Their existence was denied, their science suppressed, their manufacturers persecuted and any evidence about incidents involving them systematically erased,' Abidi writes.

Abidi says Genghis Khan ordered his Mongol hordes to destroy these miraculous inventions, save for one, which he wanted buried with him to journey heavenward.

Pull the other one.

Literary journal Meanjin's chief sub-editor did not twig until he began checking the sources cited by Abidi, whose travelogues the magazine had published previously. On the trail of Australia's latest literary hoax, the sub-editor rang editor-in-chief Ian Brittain.

Brittain laughed and confessed that Abidi was an honourable trickster 'taking readers for a ride', in the tradition of Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges, who created parallel worlds with mock footnotes, imaginary anecdotes and hypothetical texts.

And the happy ending? Abidi's contracted with Penguin to publish a novella in the U.S.

And there's still probably a flying carpet steampunk story in there for somebody.

(Via TEV -- word on the street is he's a sexy MF.)

worm "I Don't Blame You," Cat Power

namecheck Chris "Excellent Taste No Matter What He Rereads" McLaren


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