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AlterWorld (Play to Live: Book #1)

AlterWorld (Play to Live: Book #1)

Virtual reality becomes reality for folks afflicted with the Perma Effect. D. Rus' AlterWorld is the story of a terminal cancer patient who transfers his life into an MMO.

This is genre I've meant to explore a bit and Rus sets up a great series in this, his first installment. Humans, NPCs and AI mix to create a vivid world where loot and twinks abound. Max and his friends are permanent fixtures in a video game. While this gives him a new lease on life there is a lot to watch out for.

This is translated from Rus' native Russian. There are a few rough spots but this is an engaging and fast read.

AlterWorld (Play to Live: Book #1)

Timebound (The Chronos Files Book 1)

Timebound (The Chronos Files Book 1)

Timebound by Rysa Walker is an excellent time travel adventure!

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The Je Suis Charlie Humble Bundle


Name your price for six titles, including the Wil Wheaton audiobook of my novel Homeland, all money goes to benefit the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

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Review: Meta, The Meta Superhero Novel Series Book 1

Meta (The Meta Superhero Novel Series Book 1)

It has been a while since I read a superhero novel. Meta, by Tom Reynolds, was all the fun I expected.

Metas, or superheroes, haven't been seen in 16 years. After the "Big Battle" in which two heroes duked it out and a number of normal people were killed, the Metas simply disappeared. Our protagonist Connor lost his parents that night. Nearly two decades later, Connor does a good deed and wakes up a Meta. He soon finds he is more powerful than any who've come before, and that he is certainly not alone.

Meta is a quick read. Reynolds is just finding his ground and defining his characters, while doing a good job at world-building. I will certainly be picking up the second in this series.

Meta (The Meta Superhero Novel Series Book 1)

Consumerist on Information Doesn't Want to Be Free


Consumerist's Kate Cox has turned in a long, excellent, in-depth review of my book Information Doesn't Want to Be Free, really nailing the book's thesis. Namely, that extremist copyright laws don't just mess up artists, but actually endanger all our privacy, freedom and whole digital lives.

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The Apocalypse (The Undead World Series Book 1)

The Apocalypse (The Undead World Series Book 1)

I'm back to reading about zombies! Peter Meredith's The Apocalypse is a very different take on the standard zombie story.

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The Vintage Tea Party Book: complete guide to hosting your perfect party

This whimsical, girly, and very informative book covers two of my favorite topics – vintage style and traditional English tea. Author Angel Adoree (yep that’s her name) owns and operates Vintage Patisserie in London where she hosts adult tea parties with a retro spin. The Vintage Tea Party Book includes Angel’s recipes, beauty tips and decorating ideas for the perfect tea party at home.

The Vintage Tea Party Book is separated into chapters for planning brunch, afternoon and evening events. Included are very British-y and easy recipes such as Lemon Scones with Lavender Cream, Onion and Potato Flowers, Crown of Lamb, and Engraved Earl Grey Truffle Hearts. There are also sample invitations, how-tos on retro make-up and hair styles, like the Victory Roll, and directions on how to make your own Queen Elizabeth stencil for wall decorations (a must for every English party!).

With all these helpful tools at your fingertips, The Vintage Tea Party Book makes planning your next extra special celebration easy and fun.

P.S. Even more old-school tips and treats are included in two other books from the same author – The Vintage Sweet Book and The Vintage Tea Party Year. – Carole Rosner

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

License Expired: an unauthorized James Bond anthology

Now that the James Bond novels and character have entered the public domain in most of the world (but not the USA), David Nickle and Madeline Ashby teamed up to edit "License Expired," an anthology of unauthorized 007 stories for the Canadian press Chizine.

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Fingerboard Theory for Guitar: A Music Theory Text for Guitarists

Mel Bay Fingerboard Theory for Guitar A Music Theory Text for Guitarists

Want to understand how music and your guitar work together? Fingerboard Theory for Guitar taught me that music is as much math and science as it is a kind of magic.

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I Think You'll Find It's a Bit More Complicated Than That

Over the past decade, pharma-fighting Dr Ben Goldacre has written more than 500,000 words of fearlessly combative science journalism.

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To Serve Man: it's a notebook!



Thinkgeek's $13 To Serve Man notebook is a replica of the prop used in Damon Knight's classic 1962 Twilight Zone episode To Serve Man.

Damon was one of my Clarion instructors in 1992 and I had the immense pleasure of the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode that sent up his script, on the big TV in the common-room. Damon laughed his ass off, I'm pleased to report.

To Serve Man

Mercy Watson: Adventures of a Porcine Wonder

Mercy Watson Boxed Set: Adventures of a Porcine Wonder

This collection of Mercy Watson books is all my seven-year-old daughter wants to read. They are cute stories with thoughtfully challenging vocabulary.

Mercy Watson is a pig who lives with her adopted human family. She loves toast with a great deal of butter and has wonderful adventures. The stories are entertaining enough that as an adult listener I chuckle quite often. The vocabulary and character names are well chosen, requiring a bit of effort but expanding her grasp of our language.

We had a hard time finding books that Hannah wanted to read. Now she reads me bedtime stories.

Mercy Watson Boxed Set: Adventures of a Porcine Wonder

Finding book ISBN numbers in Pi

Geoff wrote a program to search Pi to find ISBN numbers. The first three books are Licentiate seminar on environmental engineering and biotechnology, Sneeuwwitje en Rozerood, and The Healing Knife.

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Birdscapes: A Pop-Up Celebration of Bird Songs in Stereo Sound

I’m filled with wonder at the engineering and imagination needed to create the magical eye candy of pop-up books. Elaborate scenes come alive as I unfold each page. I’m always surprised the first time I open a pop-up book, but with Birdscapes more than my eyes were opened. There are bird songs and bird calls, tweets and warbles, sounds of nature from the Arctic Tundra to the Great Plains of North America – all in stereo from the back pages of this book!

Birdscapes presents seven intricate, delicate and very realistic pop-up bird habitats along with the sweet melodies of the birds that live there. Each soundscape is pared with text about ecosystems and bird species that’s easy to follow for the novice and specific enough for the expert. Spotted Owl, Western Meadowlark, Ruffed Grouse and even a Woodpecker are seen and heard. This is definitely one book filled with lots of oooh and aah moments.

Batteries are included in the book for long lasting listening pleasure. – Carole Rosner

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Pacific Edge, the most uplifting novel in my library

This utopian story, about a world where people live together without the need for extreme haves and have-nots, is available as a DRM-free audiobook

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The Line (Witching Savannah Book 1) by JD Horn

The Line (Witching Savannah Book 1)

The Line is first in JD Horn's enchanting Witching Savannah series. The old South and the supernatural just seem to go hand in hand.

Mercy Taylor was born into Savannah's greatest witching family, but has no powers of her own. She makes the most out of her normal life, leading Gothic tours of Savannah, while her twin sister Maisie appears to be the real deal -- an incredibly powerful witch. All of that changes on her 21st birthday, however, when a murder upsets the power balance of her family and the world.

I read through his book in one sitting. The characters grabbed me and the story moved along at a fantastic pace. This was a welcome break from the space operas and zombie novels I've read so much of lately.

The Line (Witching Savannah Book 1) by JD Horn

Jo Walton's "The Just City"

Time-travelling godess Athena assembles on a volcanic island every man and woman in history who has ever prayed to her to live in Plato’s Republic, and sets in motion a social experiment that shows just how heartrending, exciting, and satisfying philosophical inquiry can be.

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Lights and chandeliers made from booze bottles and books


The Moonshine Lamp Company makes beautiful lights out of booze bottles, such as the Crystal Skull Sconce and the eight-bottle chandelier; but they also make lights out of hardcovers, including one made from Jeremy Scahill's superb investigative 2007 book Blackwater. (via Neatorama)

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Recipe: picture book that introduces sloppy cooking and social engineering


At my house, we've fallen in love with Recipe, a 2013 picture book about a little girl who tells her good-sport mom that it's time she learned to cook, and hands over a set of ingredients for Mom to buy, including a new puppy, a Cleveland Browns sweatshirt, a helmet, a water squirter, and 20 bags of marshmallows.

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The American science-denial playbook

Michael Mann, the author of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines and creator of the "hockey-stick" climate-change graph used in An Inconvenient Truth, writes in the the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists about the uniquely American "witch-hunt" he and other climate scientists are subjected to.

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Leif the Lucky – A gorgeously illustrated bio on Leif Erikson, the first European to set foot in America

Leif Erikson, the Viking explorer, is usually just briefly touched on in elementary school classrooms. But his rich story is a captivating one that any child – or adult – would enjoy. As a boy he moved from Iceland to icy Greenland, where his father established the continent’s first settlement. Eric grew up learning how to sail ships, throw spears, and catch sea animals for dinner. He played with baby polar bears and dreamed of adventures.

As a young adult Leif sailed to Norway and charmed the king with a Greenland falcon on his fist and a bear cub at his side. The king granted him permission to explore the west (Leif’s father had once seen a speck of something west of Greenland on an earlier exploration), and Leif became the first European to set foot in America (Canada) – 500 years before Christopher Columbus “discovered” it. Soon Leif’s relatives settled in this new land – for a while – until, well, I won’t give the whole story away, but let’s just say they were chased off the new land and forced to hightail it back to Greenland.

As soon as I laid my eyes on this book I was blown away by the stunning art: the bold popping colors on some pages, the beautifully shaded black and white images on others, and the saturated details and texture that all of the illustrations enjoy. And then I found out the book was first published in 1941 by Doubleday, created by the bohemian husband-and-wife team Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire, who wrote 27 illustrated books in all (many of them tales about Scandinavian heroes and mythology). Leif the Lucky is one of three of their books to be reprinted by University of Minnesota Press, and I now need to get my hands on the other two (Children of the Northlights and Ola).

Leif the Lucky, by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire

See sample pages of Leif the Lucky at Wink.

There Goes the Galaxy by Jenn Thorson

There Goes the Galaxy

I loved Jenn Thorson's zany, absurdist space adventure There Goes the Galaxy. Join Bertram Ludlow as he negotiates what appears to be complete mental breakdown by saving the Earth.

With a wild sense of humor that is perfect for the genre, Jenn Thorson quickly sets up a hilarious, but oddly familiar, Greater Communicating Universe. After being kidnapped from Earth and taken to another planet, psychology doctoral candidate Bertram Ludlow is either going crazy or the Earth's sole defender from being redeveloped. Gruff sidekick nee abductor Rollie helps Bertram negotiate the wacky social and political atmosphere that stands in their way. They are a wonderful unlikely buddies pairing.

I'm looking forward to reading the second in this series, The Purloined Number.

There Goes the Galaxy by Jenn Thorson

A work of art that reproduces 100 woodblock prints of Edo by artist Hiroshige

Without question, Hiroshige: One Hundred Famous Views of Edo is the bookiest book I own. It is a museum-quality artifact, which in a few more years will cease to be made, or at least made affordably. It is a work of art that reproduces the famous 100 Japanese woodblock prints that the artist Hiroshige created of Edo.

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Tor.com's annual free "Best of" ebook

Every year, Tor.com anthologizes some of the best short fiction from its website in a free ebook, and it's always one of the best sf anthologies of the year -- this is no exception!

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Safety Tips for Living Alone by Jim Shepard

Safety Tips for Living Alone (Kindle Single) (Electric Literature's Recommended Reading Book 133)

Safety Tips for Living Alone is a true story of American service men and civilians sacrificing their lives during the cold war. Stationed on a precarious mid-Atlantic listening station, join the brave souls and their families as the end draws near.

This short kindle read was amazing. Jim Shepard tells a little known story from the Cold War expertly. The crew of Texas Tower 4, a poorly designed listening station in the middle of the sea, and their families, know death is likely on the way. How they approach this, and their last communications home, brought me close to tears.

Safety Tips for Living Alone (Kindle Single) (Electric Literature's Recommended Reading Book 133)

The Lost Starship by Vaughn Heppner

The Lost Starship

Vaughn Heppner's The Lost Starship is a high speed space adventure. Join Agent Maddux, and his team of lovable rejects, as they save one branch of humanity from another.

Forget aliens, humanity is still at war with itself. Centuries after self imposed peace, a divergent evolutionary branch, the New Men, return from deep space with a vengeance. Agent Maddux, who may or may not be half New Man himself, gathers his team and sets off in search of an ancient, alien battleship that be the key to 'humanity' surviving.

I enjoyed The Lost Starship. Heppner keeps a breakneck pace and the books 371 pages fly by.

The Lost Starship by Vaughn Heppner

Monstrous Regiment: the finest Discworld novel?

Monstrous Regiment, a book about gender, war, identity, strategy and tactics, can be enjoyed without reading any of the other marvellous books in the Discworld series.

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EB White explains his dachshund's license status


Letters of Note (whose book was spectacular) publishes this arch, sarcastic letter from EB "Charlotte's Web" White to the ASPCA about whether his dachshund, Minnie, is duly licensed.

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The opening manuscript page of JG Ballard's "Crash"


[Link]/[Book link]

Books can change the world

Rick Kleffel: An Argument that books can change the world and nine from 2014 have the potential to do so; including Karen Armstrong, Roz Chast, Cory Doctorow, Richard Ford, William Gibson, Jake Halpern, Michael Katakis, Thomas Piketty,and Lawrence Wright.