Animations of trippy vintage paperback book covers


Fantastic vintage graphic, minimalist, and op art paperback covers animated by Henning M. Lederer. See the full video below. More GIFs over at Dangerous Minds! For the source material, check out the Julian Montague Project and Book Worship.

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The Welcome to Night Vale novel dances a tightrope between weird humor and real pathos

Welcome to Night Vale is the spookiest, funniest podcast on the net and now it's a book that manages the near impossible: balancing precisely on the single-molecule-thick line separating weird humor and real pathos.

A Swedish doctor's collection of English anatomical idioms


Harvard Medical School's Per-Olof Hasselgren moved from Sweden to the USA more than 30 years ago, and ever since he got here, he's been noting down the large and bizarre universe of anatomical idioms in the glorious hairball that is the English language. Read the rest

Why you should read "Material," by Ales Kot and Will Tempest

Always read the footnotes.

Titanic victory for fair use: appeals court says Google's book-scanning is legal

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals just dropped a bombshell, ruling against the Authors Guild in its bid to force Google to stop scanning books and making them searchable.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: a film about the classic horror kids book


Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a 1981 collection of creeptastic tales for kids penned by Alvin Schwartz and originally (and fantastically) illustrated by Stephen Gammell. It was also widely challenged at public libraries around the country and even banned at many school libraries. Why were they so controversial and what was their allure for a generation? Filmmakers Cody Merck and David Thomas investigate in their forthcoming documentary Scary Tales.

You can still find all three volumes of Read the rest

The 21st Century's most unlikely plot device: heroic billionaires vs evil climate scientists


From Scott Westerfeld, (currently touring for his new, brilliant book "Zeroes"): "Plot idea: 97% of the world's scientists contrive an environmental crisis, but are exposed by a plucky band of billionaires & oil companies." Read the rest

It's not AI until a robot can take an acid trip


In "Beyond Zero and One," neuroscientist Andrew Smart investigates the relationship of hallucinations to consciousness, and raises some provocative and cool questions about how this relates to AI: Read the rest

New Clay Shirky book on how China challenges western Internet firms and vice-versa

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Clay Shirky writes, "I wrote about the mobile phone manufacturing powerhouse and tech innovator, Xiaomi, for Columbia Global Reports, looking at both what makes Xiaomi so successful (they were founded when it was possible to take ecommerce and social media for granted, basically), and at the challenge internet services firms face operating in China." Read the rest

See Tolkien's unpublished drawings of Middle-earth and his entire literary universe


"The Art of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien" is a new collection of the drawings, maps, diagrams, and sketches that Tolkien drew to help him navigate Middle-earth, and the entire complex universe he created for his novels. Edited by Tolkien scholars Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull, the hardcover book contains nearly 200 images, the majority of which have never been published before.

"The Art of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien" (Amazon)

(via Wired) Read the rest

Read: Austin Grossman's moving text-adventure story "The Fresh Prince of Gamma World"


Press Start to Play is an anthology of video-game-related science fiction, edited by John Joseph Adams and Daniel "Robopocalypse" Wilson, with stories by some of Boing Boing's favorite SF writers: Ernie Ready Player One Cline, Charlie Jane Anders, Rhianna Pratchett, Catherynne Deathless" Valente, Hugh "Wool" Howey, Austin "Crooked" Grossman,! (the anthology reprints my story Anda's Game, which was adapted into last year's bestselling graphic novel In Real Life). Read the rest

The Bathrobe Knight: Volume 1


Originally written as a web serial, this novel about a gamer transported into the world of MMORPGs is hilarious! I read The Bathroom Knight as a novel, and so I can only review it as such. I think it'd have been even more fun as a serial, a format I greatly enjoy.

Charles Dean rapidly sets up a fantastic fantasy world! Darwin, our extremely unique protagonist, really loves to play MMORPGs. So much so, he even plans to spend Christmas immersed! After beating up a burglar who interrupts his holiday fun, Darwin is magically transported into a game, and must quest to save the realm and figure himself out.

I liked Dean's take on gaming. He both shows the fun and camaraderie of gamers, and the terrible aspects of a "trapped-in-a-game, must level-up" mentality. Character development is pretty good for a freshman novel, and while the use of RPG vernacular occasionally baffled me, mostly it was easy to understand. I think Dean has done a fantastic job having fun with a genre, and not taking it seriously, at all.

This is a fun read. I bought it for my Kindle as Dean has apparently spent time, energy and money working with editors. In web serial format the novel is available here free.

The Bathrobe Knight: Volume 1 Read the rest

Interview: Joëlle Jones, the artist behind Lady Killer


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

"100 Science Fiction & Fantasy Books to Read in a Lifetime"


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

Beautiful study of UFO sightings from ancient history


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

Cabinet of Curiosities – A unique book of natural science for curious kids – Released today!


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

Where Does All That Mucus Come From?: Teaching Kids About How Their Bodies Work

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!

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