After this year's San Diego Comic Con, I talked to Joelle Jones, the artist and creator of Lady Killer, a hit comic about Josie Schuller, a midecentury housewife who also happens to be a professional killer. Read on to find out the secret long con of Jones' career, the difference between drawing and writing, and Josie's top tip on parenting. Read the rest
Amazon's book editors compiled their list of "100 Science Fiction & Fantasy Books to Read in a Lifetime."
It's a compelling list, even if they skipped two of my favorite SF authors, JG Ballard and Rudy Rucker. Who else did they miss? Share in the comments!
"100 Science Fiction & Fantasy Books to Read in a Lifetime" (Amazon) Read the rest
In 1969, my friend Jacques Vallee published Passport To Magonia, the first study of how modern UFO sightings are just the latest interpretation of weird "visitation" experiences that people throughout history have experienced in different forms: angels, demons, fairies, devils, Our Lady of Fatima, and on and on. (No, Jacques doesn't think UFOs are extraterrestrials who traveled here in spaceships.) This folkloristic study of UFOs has become a Fortean classic. Recently, Jacques and co-author Chris Aubeck followed that thread further, cataloging and analyzing hundreds of reports of mysterious aerial phenomena dating back all the way to ancient Egypt through 1879. Guess what? People have seen strange lights in the sky since way before Roswell, Communion, and the X-Files. The witnesses just described them using the language and metaphors of their time, instead of calling them flying saucers or gray aliens. And this phenomena, whatever it is, influenced religion and culture in profound ways.
Jacques and Chris collected their latest research in the book Wonders In The Sky and have now launched an Indiegogo campaign to publish a magnificent Collector's Limited Edition! The slipcased tome features more than 100 color photos and illustrations and includes a print portfolio of rare 17th and 18th century broadsheets documenting strange celestial events, and a facsimile of a 1648 French coin depicting a "legendary shield from the sky." Only 500 of these signed, numbered copies will ever be made.
Indeed, this edition of Wonders In The Sky is an objet d'art that exemplifies why the printed page will never die. Read the rest
See sample pages at Wink.
The term "cabinet of curiosities" means different things to different people. For the author of this wonderful book for kids, it was a cigar box full of treasures that he started accumulating at the age of six, beginning with the found skull of a skunk. For my brother, it was the annual gift I sent him from The Evolution Store in Manhattan: a shark, bat, crab, scorpion, and a black widow. (Yes, I forced a curiosity cabinet onto him.) For me, it’s a combination of anything small, old, and interesting, human-made or nature-made, and preferably a bit on the bizarre side. This book, however, focuses on the natural wonders only, and, specifically, those waiting out there to be found by the young scientists, collectors, and curators of tomorrow.
Nature writer Gordon Grice starts with a bit of history about cabinets of curiosities and the Age of Exploration, during the 1400s-1600s, when seekers of fortune brought home fascinating items from their travels. Many of these items that made up small private collections ended up being the biggest cabinets of curiosities of all: museums. He tells us what we can use to make our own mini cabinets and shows how we can even build one from scratch. From there he introduces us to the classifications of life, with a brief description of the taxonomy – still in use today – created by Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish biologist in the 1700s.
The rest of the book is divided into three main sections: Animalia, Plantae, and Mineralium. Read the rest
When I was a kid, I was terrified of farting in class. At home, it was no big deal: it was a daily fart festival with my family. But at school? TOTAL FEAR OF FLATULENCE. But then it dawned on me: EVERYBODY FARTS. And that's one of the reasons why I've decided to write a graphic novel about how our bodies work. It's about all the stuff that goes on inside our bodies daily, or throughout our lives, and that this stuff - whether it's digestion, or respiration, or defecation - is necessary for us to live. And it gives you excellent come-back material if anyone teases you for farting in school!
I thought it would be impossible for an eBook to inspire me to get me working on a watch.
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The concept of Big Bear little chair is a common one: teaching kids to differentiate between large and small. We start off with “Big Bear, little chair,” move on to “Big Plant, little cocoon,” and carry on with this theme until the end, with “Big Snowstorm, little village, tiny bird,” and, “Big Bear, little bear.” What makes this simple book so compelling is the striking art by author and illustrator Lizi Boyd. The bold illustrations are dramatic yet whimsical, with a formal color scheme of black and white (and gray) that is playfully broken up with gumball red. Each tall and skinny page is as stunning as the next. Big Bear little chair makes me happy every time I open it up, and if my kids were still in their pre-school years this would definitely be a frequent read.
Big Bear little chair
by Lizi Boyd
2015, 32 pages, 6.3 x 12.3 x 0.3 inches
$10 Buy one on Amazon Read the rest
Peter from the National Coalition Against Censorship writes, "Some say book banning isn't even a problem anymore, so we should ditch Banned Books Week altogether. That's a terrible idea."
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You know, every once in a while you run into a real gem on Amazon. A self-published work by an “outsider” author who must also function as their own publisher. When you find a gem like that, you drop to your damn knees and thank Jeff Bezos for creating a space where this sort of thing can happen.
It happens in this synopsis of a book published by P. Arden Corbin of Topeka, Kansas.
Here is his own synopsis of his self-published novel, “Unanswered Letters,”
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A very young boy writes letters to his parents, who never answer them. Then when this person grows into an adult, he writes letters to his first wife, his second wife, and lastly to his fourth wife, of which she never answers any of those letters. Because this wife never talks to that husband, like a wife is supposed to do. But while all of this is happening, this male person is also taking care of his various positions in his life, trying to earn a living with all of the many things that he does. And while he is doing this, he is also raising a family of six girls and four boys. Not all of them are naturally born to his family. Meaning some of them he has adopted as a single father, even when he was a married man. Trying to keep his sanity while doing all of these things has put a lot of stress and strain on this person.
My favorite sex toy review/sex ed/reproductive health webcomic has just released its second collection, with 328 pages' worth of comics by Erica Moen and her guest-comics-creators.
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Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes's Secret Coders
is volume one in a new series of ingenious graphic novels for young kids that teach the fundamentals of computer science.
Scott Westerfeld's YA canon is huge and varied, from the Uglies books
to the excellent vampire parasitology book Peeps
to the dieselpunk Clankers
trilogy, and the new one, Zeroes
, breaks new ground still: it's a collaboration with Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti about teens with powers.
Paul Holdengraber, host of the New York Public Library's legendary literary interview series, has started a new podcast called "A phone call from Paul," which he has inaugurated with a two-part interview with Neil Gaiman.
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Daniel Jackson Lim is the youngest kid in a huge family of overachievers, and he hardly surfaces in his family's consciousness -- which is a good thing, because he's just found a kid in silver underwear who can't remember anything before the moment he hurtled through a hole in space and hit the ground so hard he made a crater, but didn't hurt himself.
Souris "Hustler of Culture" Hong has followed up on her amazing 2013 coloring book Outside the Lines with a second edition: Outside the Lines Too.
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Edd writes, "I am a professor at Ithaca College in New York. Recently for a research study I tracked almost every Role Playing Game Book circulating in every public and academic library in the world."
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