Indian space program workers celebrate Mars orbit


(photographer unknown): India's Mangalyaan satellite attained Martian orbit on Wednesday; at $74m, it's "staggeringly cheap" for an orbiter.

Martian spacecraft staffers at Indian space control, September 2014

Bundle of DRM-free RPGs created by women game-devs


The latest Bundle of Holding features 3 games for $8 or 7 games for $19; all created by woman devs, all delivered as DRM-free PDFs, with 10% of proceeds to Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders (you can also buy a gift-code for a friend).

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Man From Mars Radio Hat


It's been three years since we last mentioned the astounding Man From Mars Radio Hat, so here is your triennial reminder that we are a fallen people, our glory years long behind us.

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Revisiting the first Tiptree Award anthology

It's Banned Books Week, and what better way to celebrate than with a review of the first James Tiptree Award Anthology, published in 2004 by the committee who award the Tiptree each year for excellence in science fiction and fantasy that celebrates, explores and expands gender roles?

Lastly, I’d also like to give special “related to short-fiction” mention to the inclusion of “Everything But the Signature is Me” by Alice Sheldon/James Tiptree Jr.—the letter that was written after the person behind the Tiptree persona came to light. It’s friendly, jovial, and almost polished to a shine in its style of conversational discourse; it makes the whole situation of masks, gender, and outing seem gentle or trivial. Read in context with the biography of Sheldon and with other primary materials about how strongly she felt about her gender, her sexuality, and her experience with occupying the persona of a man, though… It’s an interesting counterpoint to all of that, a fascinating way of looking at how one person frames their difficult and complex relationships to the world as a gendered subject. And, more significantly, how that frame can differ depending on audience and intimacy. It’s an interesting piece, one I’d recommend giving a look alongside further reading about the enigmatic Sheldon/Tiptree.

As for the first half of this anthology: judging by my reactions, I’d say that the judges for this award and the editors of this volume are correct in noting that the pieces they’ve chosen are designed to provoke thought and conversation more than to be comfortable and easy to take in. I appreciate stories that give me a complex response, and stories that are trying to do hard work with narrative and gender. I do find myself often struck by a desire for them to go further, do more—but there’s room for all the types of stories on the narrative spectrum.

Short Fiction Spotlight: The James Tiptree Award Anthology (Part 1) [Brit Mandelo/Tor.com]

Get 2600's archives from 1987

Emmanuel Goldstein from 2600 Magazine writes, "Volume 4 of The Hacker Digest has been put into PDF format, comprised of issues of 2600 Magazine from 1987."

This was the first year that 2600 adopted the digest format. For the first time ever, a hacker magazine would show up on newsstands and in bookstores around the world. New concepts such as cellular phone fraud and electronic mailboxes for $20 a month were introduced to the public and scrutinized in the pages of 2600, while traditions like the letters section, payphone photos, and 2600 meetings were in their infancy. The hacker spirit from these early issues is remarkably similar to that of today: defiant, curious, and overflowing with data.

VOLUME 4 OF THE HACKER DIGEST RELEASED ALONG WITH DETAILS ON ITS HISTORY

(Thanks, Emmanuel!)

Hand-painted custom Walking Dead shoes


Etsy-based shoepainter Beressy Art will make you custom Walking Dead shoes for $126.05, including the shoes -- you get to specify the design and characters (also available: My Little Pony, Nightmare Before Christmas, and more!). (via Geeky Merch)

Interview with Lauren "Broken Monsters" Beukes


Rick Kleffel from the Agony Column podcast interviews Lauren Beukes -- author of Broken Monsters (see this week's review) -- in fascinating detail, "Lauren Beukes discusses Broken Monsters, The Shining Girls, the supernatural and the all-too-natural, as well as the Internet and why her latest is not a criticism thereof."

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Vader cuff-links


These handmade Darth Vader cufflinks, $22.49 from Cuff Relations, are a pretty good power meeting accessory (cue "Don't fail me again, Admiral"). (via Geeky Merch)

Qwerkywriter: a mechanical typewriter keyboard


Shipping in summer 2015, Qwerkywriter is a $300 computer keyboard that uses mechanisms that mimic the keys of an old-fashioned manual, mechanical keyboard.

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Phantom Manor stretch portrait/princess mashups


That Disney Lover's created a set of Haunted Mansion stretch gallery portrait mashups featuring the paintings from Disneyland Paris's Phantom Manor (originals here) and characters from Disney animated features; the Ariel/Ursula one is inspired.

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Caitlan Moran's "How to Build a Girl" [review]


Caitlin Moran's How to Build a Girl is the story of Johanna Morrigan, poor, fat teenager from the economic backwater of 1990s Wolverhampton, and her transformation into legendary music critic and Lady Sex Adventurer, Dolly Wilde.

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Scott Westerfeld's Afterworlds

Scott Westerfeld’s latest novel, Afterworlds is a book about a teenager who’s just sold her first book. It’s a story-within-a-story, and it works brilliantly. Cory Doctorow unpacks the nesting tales of Darcy Patel and Elizabeth Scofield.

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Tour the solar system by walking around a huge, dilapidated building


Becky writes, "Shrinking Space productions have transformed the vast and dilapidated market building at Circus St in Brighton, UK into an audiosphere representing the entire solar system."

When you enter "Mind's Eye" you are given headphones and a ready-tuned hand-held radio. Then, as you drift around the building, you are pulled into the orbit of the various interviews being broadcast in different parts of it, each featuring a scientist or space explorer whose knowledge of the planet or star they are describing often represents a lifetime's work. The effect is bewitching, like floating through space itself, with only the occasional transmission back to earth for company. I went to see it last Saturday and loved it."

Mind’s Eye: Tour the solar system at home and in Brighton, courtesy of Little Atoms and Shrinking Space

(Thanks, Becky!)

Rubbery, crawling robot can traverse snow, fire

Harvard's Michael Tolley created the 65cm long, soft, pneumatic robot whose operating parameters allow it to run over -9'C terrain or walk through naked flames (for 20 seconds, at least).

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4,000 more DRM-free comics now available on Comixology

Following on the Amazon division's July announcement that publishers could sell their work without DRM on its platform, a huge collection of publishers have signed up to participate: IDW Publishing, Valiant Entertainment, Oni Press, Fantagraphics Books, Aspen Comics, Action Lab Entertainment, Th3rd World Studios, A Wave Blue World, Blind Ferret Entertainment, Caliber Comics, Creative Impulse Entertainment, Devil’s Due Entertainment, GT Labs Comics and Kingstone Media.

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