Adam Christopher's debut novel Empire State is a noir, Philip K Dick-ish science fiction superhero story about a pocket universe that's created when two battling New York superheroes open a vent through spacetime. New York City is reflected through this vent into the pocket, and in the distorted surface of the pinched-off bubble of reality, the city is reflected back in strange, existential form. The new city is called Empire State, and it is a grey, washed-out version of New York, perpetually shrouded in mist, perpetually at war, and the brave lads of Empire State are forever being wired into the bodies of robots and sent off in seagoing Ironclads, warships that never return.
New York and Empire State are imperfect mirrors of one another, and only a handful of people in either city know or suspect of the existence of the other. Some people are mirrored in the new world, versions of themselves that are either convincingly like the original, or their polar opposite, or something in between. The year is 19, nineteen years after the creation of Empire State, and the war slogs on, and the strange, violent bureaucracy that runs the city and persecutes the war tightens up the rationing and prohibition that make life even darker in Empire State.
This is a novel of surreal resonances, things that are like other things, plot turns that hearken to other plot turns. It's often fascinating, as captivating as a kaleidoscope, especially if you don't spend too much time trying to figure out the mechanics of the setup, the physics of the worlds. Just let it wash over you, the way that Jonathan Lethem's phildickian debut Gun, With Occasional Music does, and don't think too hard -- just feel it in all its weird glory.
This is a promising debut, and the publisher, Angry Robot, is pursuing a great promotion: WorldBuilder, "our way of reaching out to the fan creator communities, to invite you to come play in our yard." It's an official, sanctioned place where fans and pros can work together to create new media inspired by Empire State and its superheroes, hard-boiled dicks, traitors, madmen, cult leaders, and endless war.
SOG’s $60 Sync II “wearable belt buckle” multitool isn’t the only multitool/buckle on the market, but it does add a couple very sensible innovations, like a clip-on/clip-off base that lets you use your tool without taking off your belt, and a squared-off form factor (like a pair of folding travel sewing scissors) that adapts the […]
Stories matter: the recurring narrative of radical Islamic terror in America (a statistical outlier) makes it nearly impossible to avoid equating “terrorist” with “jihadi suicide bomber” — but the real domestic terror threat is white people, the Dominionists, ethno-nationalists, white separatists, white supremacists and sovereign citizens who target (or infiltrate) cops and blow up buildings. That’s what makes Brian Wood’s first Briggs Land collection so timely: a gripping story of far-right terror that is empathic but never sympathetic.
The campaign to raise $500K for the UN High Commission on Refugees started with author/comedian Sara Benincasa daring Neil Gaiman to do a dramatic reading of the Cheesecake Factory menu; Gaiman responded that if she raised the half-mil, he’d not only read the Cheesecake Factory’s (notoriously florid) menu, he’d follow up with a reading of […]
Boasting an IPX6 waterproof rating, the Trakk Bullet Ultra Compact Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker resists dust and heavy rainfall. It’s currently available in the Boing Boing Store.The Trakk Bullet offers the same wireless convenience as other portable speakers, but few are built as tough as this one. Its utilitarian construction is designed to be a totally low-maintenance […]
The Ticwatch 2 Active Smartwatch is a simpler take on an active wearable that raised over $2m dollars on Kickstarter and is currently offered in the Boing Boing Store.Somewhere in between the single-day battery life and platform-specificity of the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices, there exists the Ticwatch. Instead of trying to shoehorn another […]
Loot Crate is a subscription service that delivers a box of curated pop culture goods to your doorstep. To sample their geeky wares, you can order a single mystery box exclusively from the Boing Boing Store.Each month Loot Crate sends you 6-7 unique items and apparel, including collectibles, books, and t-shirts. Pulling inspiration from all […]