Crowdfunding the publication of Samuel R Delany's journals

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Samuel R Delany is one of the most important figures in science fiction; one of the first prominent black writers in the field; the first out, queer writer; a titan of imagination and a prose stylist without compare. Read the rest

Judenstaat: an alternate history in which a Jewish state is created in east Germany in 1948

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Theodor Herzl's seminal 1896 essay Der Judenstaat called for the creation of Jewish state as an answer to the ancient evil of antisemitism; its legacy, Zionism, underpinned the creation of Israel; in Judenstaat, Simone Zelitch's beautifully told, thoughtful and disturbing alternate history, the Jewish state is created in Saxony, not Palestine, and takes the place of East Germany. Read the rest

Frankenstein turns 200 this year: write a short story, win cool prizes

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Arizona State University, Nanowrimo, and the Chabot Science Center are commemorating the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein with a series of events, including a short-story contest judged by Elizabeth Bear. Read the rest

Algorithms to Live By: what computer science teaches us about everyday decisions

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Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths' Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions is pitched as a combination of personal advice and business book grounded in the lessons of computer science, but it's better than that: while much of the computer science they explain is useful in personal and management contexts, the book is also a beautifully accessible primer on algorithms and computer science themselves, and a kind of philosophical treatise on what the authors call "computational kindness" and "computational stoicism."

Hong Kong bookseller: I was forced to confess on China TV

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Lam Wing Kee, one of the dissident Hong Kong booksellers who was kidnapped to the mainland by Chinese spies, only to surface on TV confessing to "illegal trading," now says he was forced into the confession. (Image: BBC) Read the rest

Kickstarting a pair of goth cookbooks featuring drawings of Morrissey and Nick Cave

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Elly from Microcosm Publishing writes, "Artist Automne Zingg started drawing pictures of Nick Cave gorging on comfort foods and Morrissey hoarding treats a few years ago to get over a breakup and it turned into an obsession. We got rockstar chef Joshua Ploeg to write lyrics-inspired vegan recipes to go with the books, and the result is... magic." Read the rest

Steeplejack: diverse YA fantasy driven by expert plotting

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AJ Hartley's new YA series opens with Steeplejack, a whodunnit whose unlikely and welcome hard-boiled detective is a young woman who has to beat class and race discrimination as well as the bad guys.

Reminder: Neal Stephenson predicted Donald Trump in 1994

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In 1994, Neal Stephenson and his uncle George Jewsbury published a novel called Interface, about a high-tech, poll-centric election. Read the rest

Science fiction's Radium Age: prewar stories of postscarcity, peace and justice

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For nearly a decade, science fiction historian Joshua Glenn has waged a campaign to resurrect the "Radium Age" of science fiction: the period from 1904-1933 when writers turned their pens to "Air Battles, Antigravity, Interplanetary Voyages, Lost Worlds, Mad Scientists, Time Travel, and Utopias," before writers like Andre Norton and Arthur C Clarke and Isaac Asimov began their careers. Read the rest

30 years on, Roz Kaveney's "Tiny Pieces of Skull, or a Lesson in Manners" is finally in print and winning prizes

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More than 30 years ago, Roz Kaveney showed a draft of her novel Tiny Pieces of Skull to Neil Gaiman, who was "saddened and horrified" that publishers wouldn't put her story of "trans street life and bar life in London and Chicago in the late 1970s" into print. Read the rest

Parfumiers are trying to capture the smell of old books

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We've been writing about the efforts of parfumiers to make book-smell scents (chemistry, product, hoax) for many years, but the reality has been pretty disappointing -- I bought some smell early on and found that I ended up just smelling like vanilla. Read the rest

Neil Gaiman on Douglas Adams

Neil Gaiman's third book was a history of the Hitchhikers Guide the Galaxy called Don't Panic, which Adams described as "devastatingly true - except the bits that are lies." Read the rest

Every Heart a Doorway: Seanan McGuire's subversive, gorgeous tale of rejects from the realms of faerie

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Seanan McGuire is one of science fiction's most passionate voices, no matter whether she's writing under her Mira Grant pseudonym or her own name, you always know that you're going to be reading a story that moves and inflames, illuminating the cause of the underdog and the overlooked with stories that are firmly adventures first and allegories second, the best kind of political fiction, and now, with her new novella Every Heart a Doorway, McGuire shows us that she can weaponize that talent and use it as a skewer to pin the reader, right through the heart.

Class action: publishers paid writers "sale" royalties on ebooks whose fine-print says they're "licensed"

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When you sign a publishing deal, the contract spells out different royalty rates for different kinds of commercial activity; you get so much every time a copy is sold, and significantly more from every licensing deal for the book. Read the rest

Crowdfunding Maximum Plunder, a collection of 1,100 gig posters by Mike King

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Chloe from Portland's Reading Frenzy writes, "Mike King has made more concert posters than any designer in America. This book contains more than 1000 of them. Spanning three decades of music, Maximum Plunder gathers together Mike's work into a comprehensive retrospective. A five-year project, the book presents nearly 1,100 of his remarkable posters from every period in nearly every musical genre, from country to death metal, jazz to punk. You'll see striking examples of Mike's work for both internationally famous bands to barely-known local artists." Read the rest

Geek Feminist Revolution: Kameron Hurley's measured essays on the importance of rage

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Kameron Hurley is first and foremost a talented novelist (see, for example, her critically acclaimed God's War books), but her first Hugo was awarded for an essay, "We Have Always Fought," which is just one of many significant, eloquent, and insightful nonfiction pieces collected in The Geek Feminist Revolution, just published in paperback.

Mirror-filled Chinese bookstore seems infinite

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XL-Muse designed this new bookstore in Hangzhou's Star Avenue commercial center, using mirrors and clever perspective to make its many rooms seem infinite and mind-meltingly weird. Read the rest

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