Science fiction's Radium Age: prewar stories of postscarcity, peace and justice


For nearly a decade, science fiction historian Joshua Glenn has waged a campaign to resurrect the "Radium Age" of science fiction: the period from 1904-1933 when writers turned their pens to "Air Battles, Antigravity, Interplanetary Voyages, Lost Worlds, Mad Scientists, Time Travel, and Utopias," before writers like Andre Norton and Arthur C Clarke and Isaac Asimov began their careers. Read the rest

30 years on, Roz Kaveney's "Tiny Pieces of Skull, or a Lesson in Manners" is finally in print and winning prizes


More than 30 years ago, Roz Kaveney showed a draft of her novel Tiny Pieces of Skull to Neil Gaiman, who was "saddened and horrified" that publishers wouldn't put her story of "trans street life and bar life in London and Chicago in the late 1970s" into print. Read the rest

The Book of Gossage – If you want to work in advertising, you need to read this book


The Book of Gossage by Howard Luck Gossage and Jeff Goodby Copy Workshop 2006, 308 pages, 8 x 10 x 1 inches (softcover) $42-$50 Buy a copy on Amazon

Just down the street from San Francisco’s North Beach strip clubs and Beat Museum, I had the privilege of interning for an ad agency located in one of the city’s original firehouses. When I started, I had no idea that the building once belonged to Howard Luck Gossage, an advertising legend. After taking a spin down the firepole I was given a copy of The Book of Gossage and told that if I wanted to work in advertising I needed to read this book. It opened my eyes to how amazing advertising can be, and introduced me to an icon that too few people know about.

The book is dense, as it’s part textbook, part history lesson, and is filled with some incredibly witty and thought-provoking ads. The book collects a bulk of Gossage’s writings where he tackles the big issue: Is Advertising Worth Saving? He also covers topics like: How To Be Creative, The Shape of an Idea, and Our Fictitious Freedom Of The Press.

His ads filled tires with pink air, started the international paper airplane competition, and prevented the Grand Canyon from being flooded. While his creative insights alone would be worth the price of this book, there is also a lot of historic context that’s provided by colleagues, and people who were influenced by his work. Hearing about his charm and love of parties makes you understand why people like Tom Wolfe, John Steinbeck, and Stan Freberg would just hang out at his agency. Read the rest

Parfumiers are trying to capture the smell of old books


We've been writing about the efforts of parfumiers to make book-smell scents (chemistry, product, hoax) for many years, but the reality has been pretty disappointing -- I bought some smell early on and found that I ended up just smelling like vanilla. Read the rest

Hieronymus Bosch: Complete Works


This beautiful collection of all twenty paintings, and eight drawings, assigned to Hieronymus Bosch, may be replacing the Codex Seraphinianus on my coffee table for a bit.

These surreal masterpieces by Netherlandish artist Jheronimus van Aken, better known as Hieronymus Bosch, are reproduced beautifully, on lovely paper, and are thoughtfully arranged. Some pieces, such as the Garden of Earthly Delights, fold out, so you may enjoy them in much more detail.

A must have in every collection.

Hieronymus Bosch: Complete Works via Amazon

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A Cold Day in Hell, book two in Mark Cain's Circles of Hell


Mark Cain's second installment in his Circles of Hell series, A Cold Day in Hell, was just as funny as the first!

Steve, Hell's superintendent, and his assistant, THE Orson Welles, are it again! Seems the air conditioning in Hell is on the fritz, and that proverbial cold day is here. With the help of Satan's pet BOOH, the Bat Out Of Hell, and the love of Steve's after-life, Flo, can they set things right?

Cain's Circles of Hell series are fast, fun, endearing reads the remind me of Robert Kroese's DIS series.

A Cold Day In Hell (Circles In Hell Book 2) by Mark Cain via Amazon Read the rest

Hurts Like a Mother – An illustrated parody of Edward Gorey's The Gashlycrumb Tinies


See sample pages of Hurts Like a Mother at Wink.

Hurts Like a Mother: A Cautionary Alphabet by Jennifer Weiss (author), Lauren Franklin (author) and Ken Lamug (illustrator) Doubleday 2016, 64 pages, 5.5 x 6 x 0.5 inches $11 Buy a copy on Amazon

An abecedarian picture book for grown-ups, Hurts Like A Mother is a black-and-white illustrated parody of Edward Gorey's The Gashlycrumb Tinies. Mirroring the dark humor of Gorey's book, the hazards of parenting is explored alphabetically, each letter attributed to a different mom in peril. From the ludicrous, where moms asphyxiate from being strangled by inflatable pool toys, pass out from the price of American Girl dolls, meet their maker from flammable breast pumps, and expire from ennui over reading parenting books in the library, to the real-life issues facing moms, such as the problems with extended snow days, difficulties with carpools, and the myriad troubles with time management, Hurts Like A Mother is a brief but humorously morbid book.

Harkening to the gothic Victorian mood from Gorey's original illustrations and poems, the stark black-and-white drawings comically depict modern parenting crises, particularly when portraying the faces of the harried mothers which range from fatigued to intoxicated to homicidal. Not completely filled with doom-and-gloom, Hurts Like A Mother ends as the final mom relaxes beach-side while being fanned with a palm-frond and casually sipping a tropical adult beverage. – S. Deathrage Read the rest

Rude Cakes - a book about a two-layer cake with an attitude


Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins Chronicle Books 2015, 40 pages, 9.4 x 9.4 x 0.5 inches $13 Buy a copy on Amazon

Visual puns, illustrative foreshadowing, relatable characters, and second chances: these are the ingredients that make Rude Cakes such a treat. In a world where the background is fairly barren save for a few flowers that sprout side by side with candy canes and lollipops, Rowboat Watkins’s pouty pink pastry, a two-layer cake with an attitude, takes center stage and shows us how not to behave. Luckily, we also meet a giant cyclops who inadvertently sets the rude cake straight.

Rude Cakes is not only a fun read, it’s cathartic. Grown-ups reading this book aloud to their kids will laugh in commiseration with the pastry parents’ plight of reigning in their frosted tot. For kids, there’s plenty of opportunity for indignant head shaking at the cake’s social foibles, though it’s nearly impossible to do without cracking a smile. Afterall, not even a dessert can be sweet all of the time. And just when you think that cranky cake is going to get what’s coming to him, along comes the giant cyclops to lead by example, all the while making a mistake of his own that literally gives the cake a new outlook on what it feels like not to be heard. For a book without any people in it, every character and snippet of dialogue is truly and hilariously human.

On the surface, this is a funny little picture book about learning how to behave. Read the rest

Living room "wallpapered" top to bottom in books


Deece27 bought 4,000 random books from Books by The Foot and fastened them to the wall by nailing each one to the book underneath followed by two nails angled into the wall. Check out more images of the project here. (via r/DIY)

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Neil Gaiman on Douglas Adams

Neil Gaiman's third book was a history of the Hitchhikers Guide the Galaxy called Don't Panic, which Adams described as "devastatingly true - except the bits that are lies." Read the rest

The Science Book – The greatest hits of science


See sample pages from this book at Wink.

The Science Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained) DK 2014, 352 pages, 8 x 9.6 x 1 inches $15 Buy a copy on Amazon

The Science Book is DK publishing’s “greatest hits” of science. Laid out chronologically and full of diagrams and photos, it gives you a coffee table book experience but in a manageable way. No book clocking in at 350-ish pages could be totally comprehensive, yet it includes most of the major scientific milestones from 600 BCE to today without being dry or overwhelming.

I found that I was able to gain a better understanding of principles that I only marginally understood, like Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, which is clearly laid out in layman’s terms and with genuinely helpful visuals. Genetics is a particularly complicated topic that has always fascinated me, so I was especially drawn to the chapters that tackled it and found a diagram using bees to explain recessive traits to be one of my favorite features. The individual chapters are broken up into sections and use sidebars and trivia to keep things interesting, so no matter what topic you land on the information is always accessible. I haven’t read it cover to cover, but rather peruse whatever topic catches my eye and always find something I didn’t known before. Textbooks devoted to science have an unfortunate tendency to be dry and technical, so I am especially excited to share The Science Book with my son as he gets older, with the hope that it may help him develop a real interest in science and an appreciation of its value. Read the rest

Every Heart a Doorway: Seanan McGuire's subversive, gorgeous tale of rejects from the realms of faerie

Seanan McGuire is one of science fiction's most passionate voices, no matter whether she's writing under her Mira Grant pseudonym or her own name, you always know that you're going to be reading a story that moves and inflames, illuminating the cause of the underdog and the overlooked with stories that are firmly adventures first and allegories second, the best kind of political fiction, and now, with her new novella Every Heart a Doorway, McGuire shows us that she can weaponize that talent and use it as a skewer to pin the reader, right through the heart.

Class action: publishers paid writers "sale" royalties on ebooks whose fine-print says they're "licensed"


When you sign a publishing deal, the contract spells out different royalty rates for different kinds of commercial activity; you get so much every time a copy is sold, and significantly more from every licensing deal for the book. Read the rest

Black Science, Vol. 1


If you liked Rick Remender's Fear Agent, you'll love his pulpy, break-neck paced, dimension hopping adventure Black Science.

via Comic Book Resources

Anarchist scientist Grant McKay has created a device that allows travel between alternate universes! The hope is that his team, comprised of other scientists and his family, will find great advancements in science, and medicine, the sad reality is that McKay's anarchist ways have sent them careening through time and space.

Volume one is packed with non-stop action, creepy aliens, and amazingly retro-themed artwork by Matt Scalera and Illustrator Dean White. Black Science reminds me a lot of Lost in Space meets Time Tunnel. The series has a strong feeling of those old 1960s space dramas, and Saturday morning cartoons, but with an updated, adult story.

CBR did a great interview with Rick Remender, and shares additional art work.

Black Science, Vol 1 by Remender, Scalera, and White via Amazon Read the rest

On the strengths of fiction done as near-history


The origin story of Children of Earth and Sky, my current novel, begins with my Croatian editor being the first person ever to tell me about the Uskoks of Senj. He did that as we approached where their stronghold had once been on the Dalmatian coast (the Uskoks are long gone now, a small tourist town remains). I told that road trip story here and another version of the origin story here. By the time I came, many years later, to write a book taking off from that anecdote, the tale did not involve Uskoks, or the Dalmatian Coast. Nor was it formally about the aftermath of the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, or the Holy Roman Empire, the Republics of Venice or Dubrovnik. And Senj had become Senjan. Read the rest

Crowdfunding Maximum Plunder, a collection of 1,100 gig posters by Mike King


Chloe from Portland's Reading Frenzy writes, "Mike King has made more concert posters than any designer in America. This book contains more than 1000 of them. Spanning three decades of music, Maximum Plunder gathers together Mike's work into a comprehensive retrospective. A five-year project, the book presents nearly 1,100 of his remarkable posters from every period in nearly every musical genre, from country to death metal, jazz to punk. You'll see striking examples of Mike's work for both internationally famous bands to barely-known local artists." Read the rest

Geek Feminist Revolution: Kameron Hurley's measured essays on the importance of rage

Kameron Hurley is first and foremost a talented novelist (see, for example, her critically acclaimed God's War books), but her first Hugo was awarded for an essay, "We Have Always Fought," which is just one of many significant, eloquent, and insightful nonfiction pieces collected in The Geek Feminist Revolution, just published in paperback.

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