The Dungeoneers, a playful and hilarious adventure

The Dungeoneers

A case of mistaken identity lands Durham, a going no-place palace guard, a job with a troop of dwarvish treasure hunters. Seeing his big chance to make something of himself, our hero joins the Dungeoneers.

Durham is a pretty boring guy, but a common spelling mistake sends him, a lowly guard who rarely needs a vocabulary, on an adventure in place of the Keeper of the Vault! Added to a crack team of dwavish treasure seekers, Durham would be completely out of his element, if he had one. Seeing his opportunity to finally be the hero, Durham is positive he'll make something of himself. No one else shares his optimism. The gang of dwarves he is sent to aid see him as a bad luck charm, the only human woman around thinks he is comic relief, and he doesn't know a damn thing about recovering treasure.

This indie fantasy is a lot of fun. The novel has some light editing errors and isn't perfect, but author Jeffrey Russell has written a fantastic example of the fantasy quest/adventure. I'll be hoping for more!

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Artificial Intelligence, considered: Talking with John Markoff about Machines of Loving Grace


Literary podcaster Rick Kleffer writes, "I must admit that it was too much fun to sit down with John Markoff and talk (MP3) about his book Machines of Loving Grace. Long ago, I booted up a creaking, mothballed version of one of the first Xerox minicomputers equipped with a mouse to extract legacy software for E-mu. Fifteen years later I was at the first Singularity Summit; the book was a trip down many revisions of memory road."

John Markoff’s ‘Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robot’ is a fascinating, character-driven vision of how the recent past created the present and is shaping the near future. The strong and easily understood conflict at the heart of this work gives readers an easy means of grasping the increasingly complicated reality around us. If we do not understand this history, the chances are that we will not have the opportunity to be doomed to repeat it.

Our technological ecology began in two computer labs in Stanford in the early sixties. In one lab, John McCarthy coined the term “Artificial intelligence” with the intention of creating a robot that could think like, move like and replace a human in ten years. On the opposite side of the campus, Douglas Englebart wanted to make it easier for scholars to collaborate using an increasingly vast amount of information. He called it IA, Intelligence Augmentation as a direct response to AI. Thus were born two very different design philosophies that still drive the shape of our technology today – and will continue to do so in the future.

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Read Ben Hatke's original Adventures of Little Robot

Gina from First Second writes, "Cory reviewed Ben Hatke's wonderful graphic novel LITTLE ROBOT last week -- this week, celebrates it by reprinting Ben's charming robot comic strip that inspired the book!" Read the rest

Harry Potter sets skinned in Hogwarts House livery

Juniper takres the Scholastic editions and wraps them with gilded Gryffindon, Hufflepuff, Slytherin or Ravenclaw jackets. Read the rest

My novel "Utopia" will hit shelves in 2017

My biggest (and, IMO, best) adult novel has just sold to Tor for a very pleasing sum of money; it will hit shelves in 2017. Read the rest

George R.R. Martin plays a zombie signing his new book on Syfy’s 'Z Nation'


Nothing will stop George R.R. Martin from completing his Game of Thrones novels. But the author and fantasy/science fiction icon will show up in the eighth epsiode of Syfy's series 'Z Nation,' which returns to TV tonight, Friday September 11, at 10 p.m. In the episode where Martin appears, he has been imprisoned by a character known as Collector, who kidnaps celebrity zombies. Collector chains George to a desk for his own nefarious purposes, but evidently none of this gets in the way of George finishing the damn books everyone wants to read so badly.

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Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's Liberty Annual, 2015 edition

The indispensable Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has announced the 2015 edition of its always-brilliant Liberty Annual ("ridiculous adult humor for adults"), featuring an all-star comix cast from Art Spiegelman to Vanesa Del Rey. Read the rest

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Antihoarding: When "decluttering" becomes a compulsion

If you felt a deep, nauseous tug in your guts when you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up*, perhaps you're teetering on the brink of a tidying compulsion. Read the rest

NZ bans award-winning YA novel after complaints from conservative Christian group

Ted Dawe's Into the River won the 2013 New Zealand Post Children's Book prize; businesses that sell, lend or gift it face fines of up to NZD10,000. Read the rest

Documentary about the rise and fall of Tower records


I loved Tower Records. Not for the records (though I bought a lot of them there), but for the tremendous book and zine section. That's where I discovered Re/Search books and a ton of great obscure periodicals. It pains me whenever I see the crappy boring businesses that now occupy the former Tower Records store locations in Los Angeles.

Established in 1960, Tower Records was once a retail powerhouse with two hundred stores, in thirty countries, on five continents. From humble beginnings in a small-town drugstore, Tower Records eventually became the heart and soul of the music world, and a powerful force in the music industry. In 1999, Tower Records made $1 billion. In 2006, the company filed for bankruptcy. What went wrong? Everyone thinks they know what killed Tower Records: The Internet. But thats not the story. All Things Must Pass is a feature documentary film examining this iconic companys explosive trajectory, tragic demise, and legacy forged by its rebellious founder, Russ Solomon. Directed by Colin Hanks.

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'Flash Kids' elementary school workbooks my daughter and I can agree on

Additional repetition and practice of skills my daughter learns at school really helps to cement them. Flash Kids workbooks are fun for her, and show me she has learned whatever we're working on.

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The biblical creation story told as space opera

Lots of myths have been used as fodder for science fiction and fantasy, and some of the more interesting ones turn the gods into cosmic entities, or extensions of our own humanity. Roger Zelazny’s Lord of Light, for example, imagines a group of posthuman astronauts who take on the personas of the Hindu pantheon. Then there are comics, such as Jack Kirby’s Asgard, a techno-mystical dimension, where magic and technology are indistinguishable (to butcher Asimov’s famous dictum). One story that has not garnered much favor by writers and artists is the biblical creation story. But they are missing out on a vastly strange and cosmic tale, and when combined with Kabbalistic ideas of how the world was created, you have one of the most far-out psychedelic-inflected tales that, if used right, could do wonders for a science fiction/fantasy story.

The problem is, it would take a pretty weird imagination to know what to do with it. The solution is Jesse Moynihan. Moynihan’s day job is as a writer and storyboard artist for Adventure Time, one of the greatest cartoons ever produced (sorry for the hyperbole, but it’s true). In Adventure Time, mythology and pop culture – including some brilliant shout outs to Dungeons & Dragons – are combined into something that is both whimsical and profound. After a few episodes, however, you can begin to see the self-imposed limitations. It is a kid’s show after all. In Moynihans’s own work as a comic writer and artist, his vision is let loose. Read the rest

Enchantress, book one in James Maxwell's Evermen series

James Maxwell's Enchantress is an engaging, dense fantasy that drew me right in.

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Little Robot: nearly wordless kids' comic from Zita the Spacegirl creator

Kid or adult, parent or not, you should already be reading Ben "Zita the Spacegirl" Hatke for some of the most rollicking, science-fictional kid-friendly comics between two covers, but now you've got no excuse: Little Robot, a nearly wordless graphic novel about a little girl and a fugitive robot, will fill you with terror, laughter, wonder and joy.

Great book covers as animated GIFs


Wonderful literary GIFs by Javier Jensen of Santiago, Chile.

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