Complex 90: Mickey Spillane’s lost thriller (exclusive excerpt)

Below, an excerpt from Mickey Spillane’s lost Mike Hammer Cold War thriller, Complex 90, finished by Max Allan Collins.

Mickey Spillane’s lost Mike Hammer Cold War thriller, completed by his friend and literary executor Max Allan Collins is finally making it to print for the first time. Though the crime novel had been announced for publication in the 1960s, Complex 90 never appeared…until now.

"Mickey Spillane has been a huge part of my private and professional life since childhood. He was the role model that led me into mystery," says Collins. "We became friends in the early 1980s...Over the years, Mickey entrusted me with numerous unpublished manuscripts, including two half-completed Mike Hammer novels. Shortly before his death, he said to his wife, Jane, 'When I'm gone, it will be a treasure hunt around here. Call Max -- he'll know what to do with what you find.'"

“The setting [in Complex 90] is 1964 and the novel is, in part, a sequel to the Mike Hammer comeback novel of 1961, The Girl Hunters, the film version of which starred Mickey Spillane himself. While reading this novel,” says Collins, “you are encouraged to picture Mike Hammer in just that way.”

Hammer accompanies a conservative politician to Moscow on a fact-finding mission. Arrested and imprisoned by the KGB on a bogus charge; he quickly escapes, creating an international incident by getting into a fire fight with Russian agents. On his stateside return, the government is none too happy with Hammer. Russia is insisting upon his return to stand charges, and various government agencies are following him. A question dogs our hero: why him? Why does Russia want him back, and why was he singled out to accompany the senator to Russia in the first place?

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10 Tips from Boing Boing on making online content sing

Fast Company excerpted a chapter from a new book, The Art of Doing: How Superachievers Do What They Do and How They Do It So Well, by Camille Sweeney and Josh Gosfield. The chapter is an interview with me about what I've learned so far about writing for a blog.

5. Don’t waste people’s time. People are busy. They resent it when you waste their time. When the reader comes to our site, they’re not going to land on a post that says, “This is amazing,” and forces you to click on the link. Our posts explain what’s important about what you’re reading and why. It may be tempting to write cute headlines but the most important function of a headline is to sum up what the post is about. If you’ve developed a trust with your readers that they’ll get good value for the time they invest in visiting your site, they’ll be back.

Camille and Josh interviewed a bunch of other people for the book, including: Laura Linney (How to act), Cesar Millan (How to be a dog whisperer), Ken Jennings (How to be a game show champion), Alec Baldwin and Robert Carlock (How to be funny on TV), Will Shortz (How to create a mind-bending crossword puzzle), Jill Tarter (How to find extraterrestrial life), Ed Rosenthal (How to grow killer weed), Stephen Dubner (How to write a runaway bestseller). I'm interviewing Camille and Josh about The Art of Doing next week on Gweek.

10 Tips From Boing Boing on making online content sing | Buy The Art of Doing

Bend, Not Break, by Ping Fu - exclusive excerpt

Here's a sneak preview of Ping Fu's forthcoming book, Bend, Not Break.

Ping Fu knows what it’s like to be a child soldier, a factory worker, and a political prisoner. To be beaten and raped for the crime of being born into a well-educated family. To be deported with barely enough money for a plane ticket to a bewildering new land. To start all over, without family or friends, as a maid, waitress, and student.

Ping Fu also knows what it’s like to be a pioneering software programmer, an innovator, a CEO, and Inc. magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year. To be a friend and mentor to some of the best-known names in tech­nology. To build some of the coolest new products in the world. To give speeches that inspire huge crowds. To meet and advise the president of the United States.

It sounds too unbelievable for fiction, but this is the true story of a life in two worlds.

Born on the eve of China’s Cultural Revolution, Ping was separated from her family at the age of eight. She grew up fighting hunger and humiliation and shielding her younger sister from the teenagers in Mao’s Red Guard. At twenty-five, she found her way to the United States; her only resources were $80 in traveler’s checks and three phrases of English: thank you, hello, and help.

Yet Ping persevered, and the hard-won lessons of her childhood guided her to success in her new home­land. Aided by her well-honed survival instincts, a few good friends, and the kindness of strangers, she grew into someone she never thought she’d be—a strong, independent, entrepreneurial leader. A love of problem solving led her to computer science, and Ping became part of the team that created NCSA Mosaic, which became Netscape, the Web browser that forever changed how we access information. She then started a company, Geomagic, that has literally reshaped the world, from personalizing prosthetic limbs to repair­ing NASA spaceships.

Bend, Not Break depicts a journey from imprisonment to freedom, and from the dogmatic anticapitalism of Mao’s China to the high-stakes, take-no-prisoners world of technology start-ups in the United States. It is a tribute to one woman’s courage in the face of cruelty and a valuable lesson on the enduring power of resilience.

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Tears in Rain

Here's an excerpt from Spanish author Rosa Montero's "techno-human nail-biter" Tears in Rain, which is set in a post Blade Runner world.

Death is inevitable. Especially when you have an expiration date.

As a replicant, or “techno-human,” Detective Bruna Husky knows two things: humans bioengineered her to perform dangerous, undesirable tasks; and she has just ten years on the United States of Earth before her body automatically self-destructs. But with “anti-techno” rage on the rise and a rash of premature deaths striking her fellow replicants, she may have even less time than she originally thought.

Investigating the mysterious deaths, Bruna delves into the fractious, violent history shared by humans and replicants, and struggles to engage the society that fails to understand her—yet created her. The deeper she gets, the deadlier her work becomes as she uncovers a vast, terrifying conspiracy bent on changing the very course of the world. But even as the darkness of her reality closes in, Bruna clings fiercely to life.

Read excerpt from Tears in Rain

Do we need to talk about climate change, in order to talk about energy?

This is one thing that changed for me during the course of researching and writing Before the Lights Go Out, my upcoming book about the future of energy. I used to approach conversations about energy from a climate-centric perspective. First, I have to help people understand the science of climate change and get them past the misinformation and blatant lies surrounding that issue. THEN, we could talk about energy solutions.

But now I think that perspective is dead wrong.

Polls show that a majority of Americans want to change the way we make and use energy. What we disagree on is why that change needs to happen. The good news: We don't have to agree on the "whys" to reach the same solutions.

My book comes out April 10th, but you can read the introduction online now. It'll give you a better idea about why I think that climate change—important as it is—is not the only way to engage Americans on energy issues.

“Climate change is a lie.” The man leaned back in his chair and folded his arms over his chest. “Climate change is a lie,” he said again. “It’s just something made up by environmentalists to scare us.”

I heard this story a few years after it actually happened, from Eileen Horn, one of the environmentalists who watched this man’s speech from the other side of a two-way mirror. At the time, Horn and her colleagues were about to launch a new nonprofit organization called the Climate and Energy Project (CEP), an environmental activism group based in the state of Kansas. The man was a participant in one of a series of focus groups that the CEP had put together in Wichita. The idea behind the focus groups: don’t be stupid. Too often, Horn told me, environmental activism started with what the activists thought the public believed. Focus groups were a nice way to get around the sloppy art of assumptions. Instead, the Climate and Energy Project could get a bunch of Kansans together in a room, lob some ideas at them, and watch how they respond. What did the intended audience already know, and what did they not know? What did the people of Kansas think about the future of energy?

It was a nice plan, but it wasn’t too enlightening at first. The participants talked about where they got their news—NPR and CNN on one side, Fox News and a handful of radio talk shows on the other. Opinions on climate change split right along the lines of favorite news sources. You will probably not be shocked to learn that the man who declared climate change a lie fell squarely on the Fox News side. Whether or not you disagree with him, his position was fairly predictable. You and I have met any number of people with the same background and ideas.

Yet Horn remembered that man, specifically, because he changed her outlook on the world. In a way, he changed her life. Not because of his position on climate change, but because of what she learned about him—and other people like him—as the focus group continued.

“No matter how the conversation started, whether they believed in climate change or not, the discussion always, eventually, turned to energy solutions,” she told me. “And when it did, it turned out that this guy drove a hybrid car and had changed all his lightbulbs out to CFLs.”

Read the rest at BeforeLightsOut.com. Just scroll down the page and you'll see the link.

Image: #431 Global warming get warmer houses, sweet, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from mikaelmiettinen's photostream

Tom Gauld's Goliath: exclusive excerpt

Goliath-CoverAs reviewed in Gweek - Tom Gauld's tragic, darkly funny retelling of David and Goliath from Goliath's perspective. Gauld's work is always quietly powerful and emotionally grabbing. Here's a seven-page taste of the new graphic novel, which is presented in a beautiful hardcover format from Drawn & Quarterly

Buy Goliath on Amazon


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The Year Before The Flood: The Ponderosa Stomp

How can my two weeks of guest boinging be over already? I was just starting to get my blog on, and now it’s time to bail.

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The Year Before the Flood: Idelber's Accident

(Boing Boing guestblogger Ned Sublette is a writer, historian, photographer, and singer-songwriter who lives in New York City.)

Excerpt from The Year Before The Flood

To hear me reading this excerpt (in a shout, as I tend to do in clubs) at Joe’s Pub, click here.

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