Edgar Allan Poe's interior design proscriptions


In The Philosophy of Furniture," an essay in the May 1840 issue of Burton's Gentlemen's Magazine, Edgar Allan Poe decries the interior design sense of the world (the Italians have "have but little sentiment beyond marbles" and the Americans worship an "aristocracy of dollars"). He ultimately describes his ideal room, and sets out the exact characteristics that Poe-compliant designers should hew to in order to make for harmonious interiors:

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Great 8-bit gamer tees


8-Bitty does some extremely great pixel-art tees inspired by classic video-games. I like the two-sided, full-shirt screens the best, like the mummy wrappings and the skeleton (this one reminds me of the classic Skeletees and makes me wish it was as detailed as Leslie Arwin's original).

8-Bitty (Thanks, Luke!)

Chestburster Onesie

This Alien chestburster onesie was drawn by comics creator Mike Dougherty for a baby-shower. (via Geeks Are Sexy)

The Haunted Mansion, the Haunting, and "Boo" vs "Brr" in spook-house design


Long Forgotten, the very best Haunted Mansion blog on the net, has a stellar piece on the influences that went into the Haunted Mansion's scary corridor of doors, and the delicate balance the corridor strikes between two different kinds of scariness, called "Boo" and "Brr." The piece starts from the premise that the Imagineers who designed the Haunted Mansion were heavily influenced by the 1963 classic horror film The Haunting (the film adaptation of Shirley Jackson's horror novel The Haunted of Hill House, later remade as a 1999 film with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Liam Neeson). This isn't a very controversial idea, as there are many parallels between the Mansion and The Haunting, though Long Forgotten finds some particularly subtle and fascinating lifts I'd never seen mentioned before.

More interesting, though, is the way the corridor -- and the Mansion itself -- slides from "Boo" to "Brr" as you pass through it, and the ways that subsequent fine-tunings and renovations have changed this calculus. As with all of Long Forgotten's pieces, it's a very well-argued and illuminating piece of design criticism that made me rethink something with which I'm very familiar in a totally new light.

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Haunted Mansion Valentines

From the wonderful mind of Yeah-Disneygeek, a fine selection of Haunted Mansion Valentine's Day cards!

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Printable Haunted Mansion tombstone templates


Spoonful's Haunted Mansion Cupcake recipe comes with a set of printable tombstone templates that you can print to cardstock and use to garnish your carb-delivery-vehicles. But they'd also be great for other projects: graveyard dioramae, lapel badges, etc and so forth.

Haunted Mansion Cupcake Tombstones

(via The Haunted Mansion Disney)

Locus recommended reading list for best science fiction and fantasy of 2013

Locus Magazine has published its annual Recommended Reading list, which is my favorite annual guide to the best that science fiction and fantasy have to offer. The 2013 roundup includes several of the books I've reviewed here this year, including Paolo Bacigalupi's Zombie Baseball Beatdown, Charlie Stross's Neptune's Brood, Lauren Beukes's The Shining Girls, Richard Kadrey's Dead Set, Terry Pratchett's Raising Steam, Ian Tregillis's Necessary Evil, Holly Black's The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and Nathan Ballingrud's North American Lake Monsters.

I'm also delighted to see that my novel Homeland (the sequel to Little Brother) made the list!

The whole list is just a fantastic signposting of the best the field has to offer.

2013 Locus Recommended Reading List (via Tor.com)

Wonderful trompe l'oeil horror makeup


Stephanie Fernandez is a spectacular makeup artist whose trompe l'oeil horror effects demonstrate a bottomless creativity, artistic talent, and a genuine flair for the macabre.

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Spooky forest light-fixture

Hildendiaz's Forms in Nature light fixture is a Haeckel-inspired, gnarled, treelike furnishing that casts gloriously spooky haunted-forest shadows on the walls. This isn't for sale, but they've promised a crowdfunded production at some point.

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Haunted by drones

Call me juvenile, but watching a drone in a banshee costume chasing joggers just about made my day. Cory 12

Mercury Waltz, a sequel to Kathe Koja's Under the Poppy

It's been nearly four years since Kathe Koja's amazing novel "Under the Poppy" was published, plunging readers into a dark world of eros, war, and puppetry (seriously). Koja is a chameleon of a writer, whose career began with grotesque, lascivious, splatterpunk horror novels like The Cipher, then transitioned into spare, quietly brilliant YA novels like Buddha Boy, and then emerged in the entirely indescribable territory of Under the Poppy, to which she has now returned with a new novel called The Mercury Waltz.

Koja stopped in at John Scalzi's blog Whatever for an online interview about the book:

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High-rez scan of Poe's "Raven," illustrated by Dore


The Library of Congress's website hosts a high-resolution scan of a rare edition of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" illustrated by Gustave Doré. The title-page is at page 11, the list of illustrations is on page 14.

The illustrations are amazing, like no other illustrated Poe I've seen. I've collected my favorites below, and there are a lot of them -- honestly, it was impossible to choose.

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My favorite fiction debuts of 2013

2013 was a great year for my encounters with debut novels -- first novels from new authors, and first-time excursions into young adult fiction from established adult fic authors, and even an editorial debut. Starting with Leonard Richardson's incredible Constellation Games, and moving onto books like Mur Lafferty's long-awaited major press debut The Shambling Guide to New York City, Richard Kadrey's YA debut Dead Set, and many others. Click through for the full list -- it makes great holiday reading!

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Zombie unicorn


Tully's "Zombie Unicorn," posted to CGHub, is the unicorn we've all dreamt of, but never dared to conjure forth. If only I could buy this as a life-size piece for the office (or even just the head on a trophy plaque).

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Guillermo del Toro's book, "Cabinet of Curiosities"


Guillermo Del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities is a new, huge, beautiful look at his notebooks, scrapbooks and sketches. Flavorwire has a bunch of excerpts from the book that are quite fetching and wonderfully gruesome. Some of my favorites are below.

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