Normal: Warren Ellis's story of futurists driven mad by staring into the abyss of tomorrow

Last summer, Warren Ellis serialized a novel, "Normal," as a series of four novellas; today, they're collected in a single, short book that mainlines a month's worth of terrifying futuristic fiction in one go.

Crowdfunding powerful open hardware that is truly open and respectful of your rights

Crowd Supply (previously) is an extremely effective platform for funding open source hardware development, boasting twice the success-rate of Kickstarter and Indiegogo; it is also the birthplace of the proclamation of user rights, an outstanding document that lays out the rights of users to explore their hardware, use it independent of any subscription, use it with any other service or hardware, use it indefinitely without fear of remote kill-switching, to transfer it to others, to freely discuss it, to use it privately, and to be informed of security issues. Read the rest

Boing Boing's 2016 Gift Guide: Books

When we got to rounding up our favorite books for our annual Gift Guide, we found that there were simply too many this time to throw in the Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukah/Yule/Solstice/Nonspecific Winter Celebration/New Year/Chalica hopper along with the tech and toys.

It's almost as if 2016 made the traditional way of learning more about our world — and of sharing dreams of other worlds — somehow more enticing.

Here's 65 of the best, then, from fairy-tales to furious politics, from the comic to the catastrophic, all waiting for you to turn the page.

Most of the links here include Amazon Affiliate codes; this helps us make ends meet at Boing Boing, the world's greatest neurozine. Don't miss this year's guides to Gadgets and toys too! Read the rest

Washi masking tape in 20 colors

The MT Washi Masking Tapes come in 20 colors for $16.35, 10 meters of each color, with hundreds of positive reviews from crafters and customizers (caveat: this is "decorating" tape, and has limited use for e.g. sticking things up on walls). (via Fun Finds) Read the rest

Atheist shoes experience a miraculous transformation

Atheist Shoes (previously), the stylish German shoes whose souls soles bear atheist messages ("Ich Bin Atheist") are getting ready to relaunch with a tweaked new design called DAS SNEAKER, which sports more cushioning and thinner soles for greater flexibility, as well as a retro turn-up toe. Read the rest

Roller Girl: Newberry-honored coming of age graphic novel about roller derby and difficult tween friendships

Victoria Jamieson's 2015 graphic novel Roller Girl won the prestigious Newberry Honor Award and it's easy to see why: Jamieson's story of a young teen's interest in roller derby is the perfect vehicle to explore the difficult and even traumatic way that girls' friendships change as they become teenagers, while never losing sight of the core story, about personal excellence, teamwork, and hard-hitting, girl-positive roller derby.

"Bring Back Weird Epcot" and other unofficial retro Disney World tees

Foxxfur, proprietress of the outstanding Passport to Dreams Old and New Disney themepark design critique blog (previously) has opened a t-shirt store featuring designs celebrating the lost, lamented design-flourishes that lurked in the corners of early Walt Disney World: the crowning glory of the store is this Bring Back Weird Epcot tee that really tells it like it is. Read the rest

Knit mermaid blankets

Laghcat's $24 knitted mermaid tail blankets come in kids' (56"x28") and adults' (71"x35.5") sizes and 40 color schemes/styles; the thousands of positive reviews praise the construction as being robust and durable (and feature photos of "mermaids" lounging cozily around their homes in their tail-blankets), and the blankets can be machine washed and tumble-dried. (via Incredible Things) Read the rest

The Gridlock: learn to pick car-locks

Michael from Sparrows Lockpicks (previously) writes, "I am releasing the Gridlock today, a automotive lock teaching tool." Read the rest

Prosthetic elf-ears with built-in earbuds

If you're heading into the Council of Elrond disguised as an elf, but you're reliant on a kind of Elvish Cyrano to whisper advice in your (lily-white) ear so you don't blow your cover, look no further than the Twisted Melon Spirit E666 Elvish Ear earbuds, which cost about $10. Now I know what to get the Beschizzas for Xmas! (via Red Ferret) Read the rest

Wesley Crusher bomber jacket and Star Trek patches bomber

Thinkgeek's new Her Universe Star Trek collection includes a couple of standout pieces: first, the Wesley Crusher bomber with embroidered "Crusher" over the breast and the three-stripe sleeve piping; second, the Patches Paige bomber with Trekkie embroidery and a selection of Starfleet Academy patches. Read the rest

Nimona: a YA graphic novel that raises serious, unanswerable moral quandries with snappy dialog and slapstick

I first encountered Noelle Stevenson's work through her groundbreaking, brilliant comic Lumberjanes, but before the 'Janes, Stevenson was tearing up the webcomics world with Nimona, which was collected and published by Harper Teen in 2015.

My Sister Rosa: disquieting YA novel about loving an adorable psychopath

Che Taylor is 17 and his little sister, Rosa, is 10 -- and she's a psychopath. His itinerant parents are relocating the family -- again -- to start (another) social enterprise, this one in New York, and Che knows that when the plane from Bangkok touches down, Rosa will resume her secret campaigns of psychological torture and ghastly cruelty, and that he'll be the only one who can see through the cherubic, charismatic, ringleted facade to the monster underneath. If only he didn't love her so much...

Pirate Utopia: Bruce Sterling's novella of Dieselpunk, weird politics, and fascism

Between 1920 and 1924, the Free State of Fiume was a real-world "pirate utopia," an ungoverned place of blazing futurism, military triumphalism, transgression, sex, art, dada, and high weirdness. In Bruce Sterling's equally blazing dieselpunk novella Pirate Utopia, the author turns the same wry and gimlet eye that found the keen edges for steampunk's seminal The Difference Engine to the strange business of futurism.

Kickstarting "Bears vs Babies," a new game from the Exploding Kittens team

Elan Lee writes, "Bears vs Babies is a monster-building card game from the creators of Exploding Kittens, Elan Lee and Matthew Inman (The Oatmeal). Described as a game of 'strategic benevolent betrayal' it has already raised more than $2.5 million in funding on Kickstarter from 67,000 backers. Bears vs Babies completed the original $10,000 funding goal in less than 10 minutes after its launch. The game is set to join the ranks as one of the most successful crowdfunded gaming campaigns in history." Read the rest

Messy: a celebration of improvisation and disorder as the keys to creativity, play, and work

Tim Harford's Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives plays to Harford's prodigious strengths: the ability to tell engrossing human stories, and the ability to use those stories to convey complex, statistical ideas that make your life better.

A beautifully machined spinning top

Machinist/sculptor Chris Bathgate (previously) teamed up with Richard Stadler, who machines beautiful spinning tops, to create "sculpture TP53335144462," a gorgeous piece of work. Read the rest

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