Decorating a wall with a perfect, floor-to-ceiling replica of the opening of Harry Potter

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Author Meredith McCardle used a projector to project a scan of the first page of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on her wall, then painstakingly painted it in, leaving behind a perfect replica of the page from floor to ceiling. Read the rest

Fight Club 2 – a punch to the cerebral cortex

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Fight Club 2 by Chuck Palahniuk (author), Cameron Stewart (illustrator) and David Mack (illustrator) Dark Horse Comics 2016, 256 pages, 6.9 x 10.5 x 0.9 inches $20 Buy a copy on Amazon

Let’s talk about Fight Club. This movie rocked me, and introduced me to the incredible and controversial work of Chuck Palahniuk. Now the concept of a sequel does seem a little out of sorts to the counter culture message of the original, but honestly, who hasn’t been wondering how things turned out for Marla and the Narrator after he stuck a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger? Did they find their happily ever after? No, of course they didn’t, thus the sequel.

The Narrator finally gets a name, Sebastian...it’s not a great name, but it fits given the current state of his life. Marla’s bored, Sebastian is in a drug-induced fog, Tyler Durden is raging behind the scenes trying to get back in control, and project mayhem is causing more chaos than ever. Then things get weird.

If you’ve only seen the movie you probably won’t dig this. Actually Palahniuk’s anticipation of the fanbase’s dislike for the comic becomes an actual plot point. Things get meta to say the least. The comic builds off of not just the novel, but Palahniuk’s work and reputation since the film came out. It’s very fitting of Palahniuk, and I think fans of his will really enjoy it, but be clear this is not a blockbuster directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt or Ed Norton. Read the rest

Tesla: The Life and Times of an Electric Messiah

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Tesla: The Life and Times of an Electric Messiah

Tesla: The Life and Times of an Electric Messiah by Nigel Cawthorne Chartwell Books 2014, 192 pages, 7.2 x 10.5 x 0.8 inches $9 Buy a copy on Amazon

Mad scientist. Inventor. Philosopher. Visionary. Eccentric. A man who was terrible at business, but great with pigeons. A mythic figure, Nicola Tesla was all these things and more. Examining his life and career, Tesla: The Life And Times Of An Electric Messiah is a lengthy, oversized book filled with illustrations, photos, diagrams of his many inventions, and brief, informative vignettes about his friends, colleagues, business associates, and rivals.

Tesla's own words are pulled from writings and correspondence, and help flesh out a turn-of-the-century futurist, although they can be somewhat dry and academic. His eccentricities liven things up considerably. For instance, did you know he once fell into a vat of boiling milk, and lived on a diet of bread, warm milk, and something mysteriously known as 'Factor Actus'? Did you know he had a strange aversion to women's earrings, and would become feverish at the sight of a peach? Tidbits like these keep the book moving at a nice pace, as the man became more reclusive and odd toward the end of his life.

His War Of The Currents with Thomas Edison is detailed, as well as his battle of radio with Guglielmo Marconi. His experiments with wireless transmission of energy, X-Rays, flying machines, remote control, and artificial intelligence are also described, as well as the mystery surrounding the disappearance of his papers concerning his invention of a death ray by the US government. Read the rest

Interactive map of Game of Thrones

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Quartermaester is a "speculative" but extremely complete interactive map of Westeros and Essos, the two continents across which Game of Thrones' action sprawls. Character paths and noble constituencies are among the available overlays—surprisingly useful for anyone trying to get the complex series in mental order. Note: it follows the books, not the show.

Update: I just bought this collection of poster-sized maps (HD scans are here) for $25. Far more delicious detail of the Thrones world, if not of the characters themselves. Read the rest

What is a Witch – A poetic and visual conjuring of the witch archetype

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

What is a Witch by Pamela Grossman (author) and Tin Can Forest (artists) Tin Can Forest 2016, 36 pages, 9.0 x 11.75 x 0.25 inches From $20 Buy a copy here

There are few ideas and words in the popular zeitgeist more mercurial than “witch.” Whether coming from the world’s mythologies, religions, folk tales, the realms of fiction, or from those who embrace it as a real-world religious identity, witch can mean myriad things. There are probably few archetypes more simultaneously romanticized and demonized.

This dizzying dream of character and identity is uniquely and creatively expressed in What is a Witch, a sort of comic book grimoire on the subject by witch and author Pamela Grossman and Canadian’s comic-art occultists, Tin Can Forest.

 In just under 40 pages of lush, saturated black art and text, What is a Witch serves as something of a witch’s manifesto. The dreamy, free-form text, interwoven amongst equally dreamy art, attempts to cast a spell over the reader, to bring this complex character more vividly to life. In doing so, it doesn’t really answer the question (note that it’s not posed as one) of what a witch is, but instead, plays with her mercurial identity, dipping in and out of fictional and real-world conceptions and how witches are experienced and self-identified.

 The art and production are really lovely and work to deepen the spell that the book is attempting to cast. The effect of Grossman’s free, often trance-like prose reminded me somewhat of Jack Parson’s famous “We are the Witchcraft” manifesto, another attempt at a poetic conjuring on the identity of the witch. Read the rest

Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, Nobel prize laureate and author, dead at 87

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Elie Wiesel was a Holocaust survivor, Nobel Peace Prize winner, a prolific author, and an outspoken activist for peace and human rights. He died Saturday, at 87 years old.

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China's "ultra-unreal" literary movement takes inspiration from breathtaking corruption

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How can Chinese novelists convey the sense of unreality of living in a country where raids on the homes of civic officials uncover so much cash that it burns out four bill-counting machines when the police try to tot it up, or when it needs to be weighed by the ton to approximate its value? Read the rest

Gay Talese learns the subject of his new book is a liar, disavows the book UPDATED

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Gay Talese's forthcoming book The Voyeur's Motel tells the allegedly true story of Gerald Foos, a Colorado motel owner and voyeur who claimed to have conducted "research" on human sexuality by spying on the sex lives of his guests through strategically placed ceiling gratings that let him covertly watch them from the motel's attics. Read the rest

George RR Martin's "Fevre Dream": the Lannisters as vampires

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I first read George RR Martin's 1982 vampire novel Fevre Dream as a young teenager, around the time I was also discovering Anne Rice and a host of other "contemporary" vampire novels who were reinventing the genre; now, decades later, I've been transported anew to the slavery-haunted riverboat where Joshua York and Abner Marsh tried to tame the ancient vampire before it was too late.

Neil Gaiman's next book: a "novelistic" retelling of the Norse mythos

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Some of Neil Gaiman's finest work has sprung from classical mythology, from American Gods to Odd and the Frost Giants: now, in a new nonfiction book for WW Norton, Gaiman will retell the Norse myths in novelistic style. Read the rest

The Perdition Score: Sandman Slim vs the One Percent

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It's been seven years since Richard Kadrey blew the lid off urban fantasy with Sandman Slim, a fresh, funny, mean and dirty supernatural hard-boiled revenge story like no other. Now, with the publication of book seven, The Perdition Score, Kadrey forces his antihero to confront his fiercest-ever opponent: his own violent nature.

Hope Larson's "Compass South": swashbuckling YA graphic novel

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Hope Larson is a comics genius, the woman hand-picked to adapt Madeline L'Engle's Wrinkle In Time for comics, who furthermore just nailed it, and whose other projects are every bit as rich and wonderful. Today she begins a new young adult series, Four Points, whose first volume, Compass South is a treasure-chest of swashbuckling themes and action.

Shrill: Lindy West's amazing, laugh-aloud memoir about fatness, abortion, trolls and rape-jokes

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Lindy West is one of those web-writers who's done consistently great work over the years, whether it's talking about boobs or talking about trolls, and so I expected to like her memoir Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman, but I didn't expect to find myself laughing aloud over and over, nor did I expect to end up crying -- and having done both in great measure, now I can't get that most excellent book out of my head.

Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors: A Duck & Cover Adventure

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Modern civilization has all but disappeared. It falls to a fearless, dedicated and slap-stick bunch known as Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors to help humanity recover. With help like this, you might be better off on your own!

Benjamin Wallace's first installment in the Duck and Cover series is a quick and witty read. We find America highly mutated and extremely dangerous. Small enclaves of folks are trying to rebuild society, and boy do they need help! Enter the post-apocalyptic nomadic warriors: experts in a little bit of everything, and a whole lot of nothing. Two such warriors arrive at the town of New Hope, each offering to lend his aid. New Hope sends one away and accepts the aid of the other. Did they choose wisely? Did they even need to choose? How did humanity survive at all?

This read was a good time! The characters are a lot of fun, and standout for this style of novel. The contrasting styles of the two titular characters, and the passing of focus back and forth, really makes this tale roll along. The story is predictable, but Wallace's wildly mutated landscape, and slowly emerging backstory, made it hard to put this book down.

Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors: A Duck & Cover Adventure Read the rest

Locus Award 2016 winners: your summer reading!

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The readership of Locus magazine have chosen their favorite fantasy and science fiction works of 2015, and the winners make for a very exciting summer reading list indeed! Read the rest

Batmanga - Campy, humorous, and sometimes so on the nose it's laughable

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga Vol. 1 by Jiro Kuwata (illustrator) DC Comics 2014, 352 pages, 5.8 x 8.2 x 1.1 inches (softcover) $10 Buy a copy on Amazon

Available for the first time in English, Jiro Kuwata’s Batman is basically a Japanese version of the 1960s Batman TV series. It’s campy, humorous, and sometimes so on the nose it’s laughable. Maybe Batman will escape danger with a goofy, too convenient action, or the villain will taunt Batman with some of the oldest superhero cliches around. It will surely be an adjustment for readers who haven’t experienced any of Batman’s older stories, but it’s important to remember this was produced in the '60s, and Kuwata was essentially mimicking the style of Batman that was popular. If you can do that you’ll find a thoroughly enjoyable alternate take on the Caped Crusader and the Dynamic Duo.

Included here are six Batman stories, featuring Batman and Robin vs. unique villains like Lord Death Man and the Human Ball. The story arcs are all standalone and don’t reference each other, however each arc is sub-divided into three to four parts. These villains are all formidable foes and a good mix of character types. Lord Death Man for example keeps coming back from the dead, while the Human Ball wears a metal suit that allows him to bounce off any surface, including Batman’s punches. Each time, Batman is tasked with not just fighting the villain into submission, but using his classic Batman intellect to outthink them and set a trap. Read the rest

Crowdfunding the publication of Samuel R Delany's journals

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Samuel R Delany is one of the most important figures in science fiction; one of the first prominent black writers in the field; the first out, queer writer; a titan of imagination and a prose stylist without compare. Read the rest

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