PM Press's Outspoken Authors series is a wonderful line of chapbooks introducing the work of radical science fiction authors; each book is a short mix of essays, interviews and novellas and short-stories (they honored me by producing The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow, based on my work).
The newest volume is Report from Midnight, by Nalo Hopkinson, an absolutely wonderful Canadian-Caribbean writer whom I've known -- and read! -- since we were both teenagers working for the North York Public Library system in Toronto. Tor.com's Brit Mandelo has a great writeup of the book:
Report from Planet Midnight Plus… reprints two stories, “Message in a Bottle” and “Shift,” as well as a transcript of Hopkinson’s 2010 speech to the audience at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, “Report from Planet Midnight.” The volume closes with the quintessential long interview and a detailed bibliography (one of my favorite parts of these volumes, actually!).
The two stories in this little book form an intriguing duet. The first is science fictional in premise and intimate in focus; the second is a riff on Shakespeare’s The Tempest that explores issues of race, identity, and family. “Message in a Bottle” struck me as eerie—primarily because of Hopkinson’s vibrant, realistic use of narrative voice. Though the thought of a child with the mind of an adult, sent back in time to curate artifacts lost to their own world, is discomfiting on its own, it wouldn’t necessarily be so much so without the narrator’s perceptions coloring our initial encounter with the child. The opening scene, where the young Kamla has crushed a hermit crab while collecting shells, is uncomfortable primarily because the narrator finds it so uncomfortable: his voice guides the reader’s own reaction to the fragility of life in the hands of a child who doesn’t know any better.
Report from Midnight
The Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-Up Handbook is a 1965 classic: Famous Monsters of Filmland founder Forrest Ackerman tapped movie makeup legend Dick Smith to create guides for turning yourself into any of three Martians, two kinds of werewolf, a “weird-oh,” a “derelict,” a ghoul, a mummy, Frankenstein’s monster, Quasimodo, Mr Hyde, “split face,” and more.
These Japanese robots’ performance of “Robot’s Delight” — an extended, braggadocios riff on the state of AI learning-through-imitation research, with break-dancing — won Best Video at the 2017 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction. (via 4 Short Links)
Jonathan Coulton is known for a myriad of distinct accomplishments. The tech professional-turned-musician once conducted a Thing a Week experiment, in which he recorded and published a new song every Friday for a year, produced a cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” infamously adopted by the Fox series Glee, regularly contributes to the NPR quiz show “Ask Me Another” as its very own one-man band, and runs his own fan cruise aptly called the JoCo Cruise.
Maybe it’s entirely because of podcast ads, but drag-and-drop tools like Squarespace have gotten immensely popular in recent years. While it’s definitely a great tool for any non-coders who want to get a small website up and running quickly, managing content with a primarily visual interface can become a pain once you have more than […]
When you can’t wait for the world’s longest meeting to end, the mindless leg bouncing makes your boredom obvious and just annoys everybody else. Everyone knows the TPS reports need the damn cover sheet, but some sadistic colleague keeps forgetting, probably on purpose just to eat into your lunch hour. Enough is enough!While serving a […]
What could be more fun than a slingshot that shoots tiny airplanes? A slingshot that shoots tiny glowing airplanes of course! These toy planes are outfitted with ultra-bright LEDs, so you can fly all night without losing them in the trees.Whether you are a regular-sized child, or an overgrown adult one, these light-up flyers offer […]