David Foster Wallace's essays on tennis, finally collected between one set of covers

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The Library of America has just published String Theory: David Foster Wallace on Tennis, a slim volume of beautifully written, never collected essays by one of the great tragic figures of American literature, David Foster Wallace, a self-described "near-great junior tennis player" during his own boyhood. Read the rest

Company Town: Madeline Ashby's tale of sex and Singularity cults is a locked-door mystery at sea

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A decade ago, I published the first Madeline Ashby story to see print, "In Which Joe and Laurie Save Rock n' Roll," in Tesseracts 11; four years ago, I reviewed her outstanding debut novel, vN, and then revelled in its sequel a year later: but now, a decade later, Ashby is an overnight success, with a breakout novel about love, labor, shame, sex and Singularity cultists: Company Town.

Revealed: the amazing cover for Walkaway, my first adult novel since 2009

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Next April, Tor Books will publish Walkaway, the first novel I've written specifically for adults since 2009; it's scheduled to be their lead title for the season and they've hired the brilliant designer Will Staehle (Yiddish Policeman's Union, Darker Shade of Magic) for the cover, which Tor has just revealed. Read the rest

Technology's "culture of compliance" must be beaten back in the name of justice

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In 1989, Canadian activist, engineer and thinker Ursula Franklin gave a series of extraordinary lectures on the politics of technology design and deployment called "The Real World of Technology." Read the rest

Bill Gates suggests these 5 books to read over the summer

His picks, with Amazon links:

Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson

How Not to be Wrong, by Jordan Ellenberg

The Vital Question, by Nick Lane

The Power to Compete, by Ryoichi Mikitani and Hiroshi Mikitani

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Noah Yuval Harari

(Gates Notes) Read the rest

Sex Criminals: Robin Hood bank robbers who can stop time when they orgasm

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Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky's creator-owned comic Sex Criminals is a filthy, hilarious heist story about a couple who discover that they can stop time while orgasming, and keep it frozen until they become horny again -- so they use their power to rob banks in order to rescue a library from foreclosure (naturally). The first two series of the comic are collected in Big Hard Sex Criminals, a fabulous hardcover whose plain pink wrapper comes off to make it look like you're reading a book on DIY pet euthanasia.

Read: Strategic Dog Patterning, a story from "Why I Hunt Flying Saucers"

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My latest book just came out: Why I Hunt Flying Saucers & Other Fantasticals. The title comes from the short story of the same name, which was nominated for an Aurora Award in 1991.

Read the rest

A look at digital habits of 13 year olds shows desire for privacy, face-to-face time

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Sonia Livingstone, an LSE social psychology prof, gives us a peek into the results from The Class, a year-long, deep research project into the digital lives and habits of a class of 13 year olds at an ordinary school. Read the rest

We Stand on Guard: in 100 years, America seizes Canada for its water

Brian K Vaughan's varied career in comics has had numerous and diverse hits like Saga, the epically weird and sexy space-opera; Y: The Last Man, an end-of-the-world story; now, with We Stand on Guard, Vaughan dramatically ups his body count in a tale of an American resource war that's a lot closer to home than the invasion of Iraq.

Martin Gardner's 'Science Magic,' fun tricks you can try at home

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Martin Gardner's 'Science Magic: Tricks and Puzzles' teaches fun and easy experiments to demonstrate physics. I'm thrilled with the new tricks I'm learning!

Gardner shares exciting, and generally simple, science experiments with engaging, sometimes astounding results. Play with the adhesion and cohesion of water, magnetism, volume and mass, friction, stiction, pressure, and tons of other fascinating scientific properties, to both learn and amaze.

Some simple effects, like 'three jets' are pretty simple, where you drill holes in a milk carton at different levels to show changes in water pressure, however some are not for younger kids to try on their own. 'The electric pickle' is one that requires adult supervision. A glowing pickle is certainly cool, but spiking a cucumber, and plugging it into a wall socket via a cut extension cord, is something I'd prefer an adult be present for.

My kid and I are having fun playing with 1-2 of these experiments each week. A few of the presentations may become magic tricks I use with friends.

Martin Gardner's Science Magic: Tricks and Puzzles via Amazon Read the rest

Kickstarting the third Oh Joy Sex Toy anthology

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Following on the hugely successful publications of books one and two, Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan have launched a crowdfunding campaign for a third volume, collecting the excellent sex advice, erotica, and reviews from their brilliant webcomic. Read the rest

Brian Wood's REBELS book one -- read the first issue here!

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Today marks the publication of Rebels: A Well-Regulated Militia, the first collection of Brian Woods comic about the American revolutionary war that tells "the epic story of the colonists, explorers and traders, wives and daughters, farmers and volunteer soldiers who, in a few short, turbulent years, created the brand-new nation of America."

Lumberjanes: ground-breaking, wonderful, hilarious comic about adventurous girls

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I'm late to the party on Lumberjanes: I bought the first collection when it came out last summer, then promptly lost it in my overseas move; last weekend, I read it and the next two books and fell head over heels in love with this series of graphic novels for kids and adults.

Nebula Award swept by record number of women writers

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The Nebula Awards -- voted on by members of the Science Fiction Writers of America to recognize excellence in science fiction and fantasy -- were given out in Chicago yesterday, and every prose award went to a woman (the film award went to the writers of feminist action film Mad Max: Fury Road). Read the rest

Famous writers with their first word processors

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U Maryland English professor Matthew G. Kirschenbaum has a new book called Track Changes: A Literary History of Word Processing that tells the story of word processing from writers' perspectives; an accompanying gallery collects photos of famous authors with their first word processors (mine was an Apple //e). Pictured above: Stephen King with his Wang System 5 Model 3 word processor in 1982. Read the rest

Katherine Dunn, author of "Geek Love," RIP

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Katherine Dunn, the author of the incredible macabre comedic novel Geek Love, about the strange shenanigans in a circus sideshow, has died at age 70 from lung cancer. From a Los Angeles Times profile of Dunn at the time of the book's release in 1989:

As Dunn's tale goes, Aloysius Binewski, proprietor of a traveling circus called Binewski's Fabulon, gets the notion to breed mutant children who will perform as sideshow freaks. His theory is that, along with boosting business, he will be bestowing upon his children "the inherent ability to earn a living just by being themselves..."

Dunn said she got the idea for "Geek Love" in 1979 while she was walking in the experimental rose gardens in Portland. Admiring the hybrid roses, she conceived Papa Al and his hybrid children.

She was thinking about her son at the time and the whole issue of "the things we do to our children--most of the evil in the world is not done with bad intentions but with the best intentions ever," she said.

Dunn said "Geek Love" also reflects her concerns with "the volcanic and terrifying possibilities of genetic mutation and the whole issue of the cult." (In the book, flipper-boy Arty starts a cult in which converts have their arms and legs amputated so they can become more like their leader.)

At first, Dunn was shocked by her own terrifying characters. Now and then she'd read a passage to her son, who invariably shook his head and responded: "Weird."

"Katherine Dunn has died; the 'Geek Love' author once took the world by storm"

Read the rest

Alien Invasion in My Backyard – From slobbery robots and aliens with briefcases to didgeridoo lessons

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Alien Invasion in My Backyard: An EMU Club Adventure by Ruben Bolling Andrews McMeel Publishing 2015, 112 pages, 5.3 x 8 x 0.4 inches $12 Buy a copy on Amazon

TV will tell you the truth is out there. Decades ago folks would warn you to “Keep watching the skies!” But kids know the truth: The mysteries aren’t out there, they’re right here. They are in every bump from the attic, that weird locked door in the basement, and, especially, the often mystifying backyard. Kids know that’s where the real mysteries lie, and we’re all lucky that Ruben Bolling knows it, too.

Alien Invasion in my Backyard, the first in the EMU Club series, is a fun and ridiculous (in just the right way) story of the creation of the Exploration Mystery Unbelievable Club. The book itself is intended to be the Official Report of their first mystery and written by eleven year-old President Stuart Tennemeier who, other than planning on a growth spurt in college, is planning to document all their amazing adventures. His best friend, CEO Brian, and his little sister Violet (no title because Mom makes them let her join) join him to solve all of life’s important mysteries. And we can’t forget Sergeant at Arms Ferdinand, Stuart’s loyal dog who proves critical to cracking the case. As an Official Report the reader gets direct access to the EMU Club files, including photos of their whole adventure lovingly taped to the lined graph paper it’s printed on. Read the rest

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