Boing Boing 

The brilliant ideas and radiant visions of reclusive SF author Greg Egan

There are no pictures of Greg Egan online, and his website has a disclaimer that while some of his more dedicated fans claimed to have tracked down a picture of the author, it’s not him.

Read the rest

Meet the man who remade Middle‑earth

Ethan Gilsdorf interviews John Howe, Tolkien Illustrator and Conceptual Designer of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Movie Trilogies

Read the rest

The Dune in our Heads

A problem crops up when filmmakers try to adapt epic fantasy worlds to the big screen—particularly beloved, richly-imagined literary ones. Sacrifices must be made. Characters are cut, and plotlines are re-routed. Scenes and places don’t match what readers have pictured with their minds. Fans of the original book cry foul.

In the case of director Alejandro Jodorowsky, his vision for Frank Herbert’s masterwork Dune was so over the top, so surreal (and, at times, so absurd), it probably would have blown the minds of critics before they had a chance to grumble.

That is, if Jodorowsky’s translation and transmogrification of Dune had ever been made. It never was.

Read the rest

Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast 128: Masters of Sex

Boars, Gore, and Swords is hosted by stand-up comedians Ivan Hernandez and Red Scott. In each episode they break down HBO's Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. They also talk about movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy, and lots of other things. NSFW.

With an episode yet between our live podcast and beginning Martin’s “The Princess and the Queen” in George R.R. Martin’s Dangerous Women anthology, Ivan and Red continue to direct Game of Thrones fans desperate for entertainment towards worthy replacements with our “What You Should Be Watching” series! This week it’s Showtime’s Masters of Sex, featuring the fascinating and truly terrifying sexual lives of the 1950s. Ivan and Red are joined by Caitlin Gill, member of the San Francisco comedy mafia “The Business”, who has appeared in 7x7 Magazine, on NPR’s Snap Judgement, and on this very podcast. Get into it, Daddy!

GET BGaS: RSS | On iTunes | Download episode

The Wrong Quarry, by Max Allan Collins: exclusive excerpt

After an absence of more than two years, New York Times-bestselling author Max Allan Collins brings of his most popular characters, the ruthless professional killer known only as “Quarry,” in The Wrong Quarry. Since his debut in 1976, Quarry has appeared in 10 novels and inspired a feature film, The Last Lullaby, starring Tom Sizemore and Sasha Alexander. The new novel sees Quarry going up against an amateur killer operating on his turf. But does the hitman’s hitman have the wrong quarry in his sights?

Quarry doesn’t kill just anybody these days. He restricts himself to targeting other hitmen, availing his marked-for-death clients of two services: eliminating the killers sent after them, and finding out who hired them…and then removing that problem as well.

So far he’s rid of the world of nobody who would be missed. But this time he finds himself zeroing in on the grieving family of a missing cheerleader. Does the hitman’s hitman have the wrong quarry in his sights?

Read the rest

Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast 127: Black Mirror

Boars, Gore, and Swords is hosted by stand-up comedians Ivan Hernandez and Red Scott. In each episode they break down HBO's Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. They also talk about movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy, and lots of other things. NSFW.

Having finished all of Book 3 of George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords, and with a couple weeks before they start covering Martin’s “The Princess and the Queen,” part of the Dangerous Women anthology, Ivan and Red bring you their greatest “What You Should Be Watching” yet, Channel 4’s Black Mirror. If this is a show you have not heard about, you are in for some of the darkest humor imaginable, perfect for anyone deep in the Throes of “Thrones” withdrawal! We talk about the first episode of the first season of Black Mirror, but we leave out the ending because it’s something Bannermen should experience for themselves.

GET BGaS: RSS | On iTunes | Download episode

Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast: Coldhands, My Canadian Girlfriend

Boars, Gore, and Swords is hosted by stand-up comedians Ivan Hernandez and Red Scott. In each episode they break down HBO's Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. They also talk about movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy, and lots of other things. NSFW.

In this episode, Red and Ivan discuss the Davos V & Bran IV chapters of George R.R. Martin's A Storm of Swords (Catch up on past podcast episodes here to listen to previous chapter breakdowns). They also talk about Railroad speaking directly to listeners, Stannis’s Bannermen vs. Ivan’s twitter followers, the Nightfort, prince stew, Railroad writing Hodor high, and a TALKING TREE.

GET BGaS: RSS | On iTunes | Download episode

Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast: The Red Wedding AKA Truly, God is a Cruel Buscemi

Boars, Gore, and Swords is hosted by stand-up comedians Ivan Hernandez and Red Scott. In each episode they break down HBO's Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. They also talk about movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy, and lots of other things. NSFW. - Mark

In this episode, Red and Ivan discuss the Catelyn VII & Arya XI chapters of George R.R. Martin's A Storm of Swords (Catch up on past podcast episodes here to listen to previous chapter breakdowns). It’s Edmure and Roslin’s wedding day! What could go wrong! Nothing! Ivan and Red discuss Attack The Block, wedding food, stone to lb conversion, unspoken threats, spoken threats, and actual murder.

GET BGaS: RSS | On iTunes | Download episode

Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast: The Red Dress Rehearsal

Boars, Gore, and Swords is hosted by stand-up comedians Ivan Hernandez and Red Scott. In each episode they break down HBO's Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. They also talk about movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy, and lots of other things. NSFW. - Mark

In this episode, Red and Ivan discuss the Catelyn VI & Arya X chapters of George R.R. Martin's A Storm of Swords (Catch up on past podcast episodes here to listen to previous chapter breakdowns). Kelly Anneken joins Ivan and Red as they discuss the Happy Mutants podcast, social media snafus, racist animals, Goorin Brothers hats, Lord Walder Frey as a tiny baby, Jinglebell jingling his bells, and Lord Walder’s Beringer White Zinfandel.

GET BGaS: RSS | On iTunes | Download episode

Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast: Rowing Across the Trident? That’s a Paddlin’

Boars, Gore, and Swords is hosted by stand-up comedians Ivan Hernandez and Red Scott. In each episode they break down HBO's Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. They also talk about movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy, and lots of other things using foul language. In this episode, they discuss the Arya IX and Jon VI chapters of George R.R. Martin's A Storm of Swords (Catch up on past podcast episodes here to listen to previous chapter breakdowns). Also covered: Bannerman Shannon’s NaNoWriMo victory, the double-headed horse, Sandor the Stranger, Telltale Games’ upcoming Game of Thrones game, Wolfman Bran, and new character Noswym McDrownsalot.

GET BGaS: RSS | On iTunes | Download episode

Gweek 119: How much is your reputation worth?


This episode is brought to you by HostGator, offering premium web hosting at low costs, and 24x7x365 phone, chat and email support. Show your support for Gweek and get an extra 25% off by using coupon code WEEK!

Joshua Klein gave one of the most watched TED Talks of all time (about vending machine to train crows to exchange found coins for peanuts). He joined me on Gweek to talk about his new book, Reputation Economics: Why Who You Know Is Worth More Than What You Have. I also welcomed the return of Michael Pusateri, a television technologist, inveterate tinkerer, cooking geek, and cycling enthusiast. He blogs at Cruftbox.

We talked about: Jim Woodring's hallucinatory comic book masterpiece, Fran; The Daedalus Incident, by Michael J Martinez; and L-Theanine, a pill I take when I drink coffee, and more!

GET GWEEK:

Subscribe RSS

On iTunes | Download episode | Listen on Stitcher

S., a novel conceived of by J.J. Abrams

S. is a novel conceived of by J.J. Abrams and written by Doug Dorst.

The Talented Mr. Ripley, psychological suspense novel featuring a fascinating anti-hero

When I saw The Talented Mr. Ripley movie in 1999, I had no idea it was based on a novel by the same author of the famous Hitchcock movie, Strangers on a Train. I loved both movies. When I finally did learn that, I also learned that the author, Patricia Highsmith, wrote five novels starring the sociopathic anti-hero Tom Ripley. (The novels are known as the Ripliad.)

Written in 1955, The Talented Mr. Ripley is about a twentysomething con artist and social striver named Tom Ripley living in New York. He is allergic to honest work, but loves the finer things in life -- nice clothes, luxury travel, and perfecting the fine art of doing nothing. How fortunate for Tom that a man tracks him down and asks him to travel to Sicily to convince his wannabe-artist son to come back and join the lucrative family business. The man thinks that Tom is a close friend of his son, and Tom does nothing to correct the false impression (he barely knows him), because he's eager to take an expense-paid trip to Europe.

Read the rest

The Wicked Girls - a riveting and intelligent psychological thriller

In 1986 two girls, Bel and Jade, achieved international infamy at age eleven for murdering a four-year-old girl. Twenty five years later, the now-grown up and rehabilitated women are back in society, living under new identities given to them by the British government. They haven't seen each other since their trials, and in fact are forbidden from communicating with each other under threat of being locked up again.

The Wicked Girls, by Alex Marwood (a British journalist writing under a pseudonym), is a riveting psychological thriller that jumps back and forth between the events on the day of the child's death, and the present-day lives of Kirsty and Amber (the new names of Bel and Jade). Amber is a low-level supervisor of a graveyard shift cleaning crew at Funnland, a seedy beachside amusement park in England. Kirsty is a journalist who lives an upper middle class lifestyle with a banker husband and two children. But her husband lost his job some months ago, and their income is now a lot less than their outgo. The alternating chapters are told from each woman's point of view, and the striking differences between their ways of life and even their appearance (Amber looks haggard and ten years older than Kirsty) is a mystery.

Neither woman has told anyone their horrible secret, not even their husbands. They are correct in thinking that no one would forgive them for what they had been accused of doing.

Read the rest

DMQZ - post apocalyptic crime novel, free Kindle

I just grabbed DMQZ, a free Kindle novel, on a recommendation. Sounds a bit like the excellent Last Policeman.

In the wake of the global pandemic known as the "little dormouse," the line between the Safe Zone and the Quarantine Zone divides New York City. The shores and waters of the East River are the "DMQZ," the uninhabited area that separates uninfected Manhattan from the slowly dying borough of Brooklyn.

Jacob Hale is a Manhattan police officer rising in the ranks of the Safe Zone military government until a bank heist gone wrong lands him on suspension and under suspicion. On a quest to clear his good name, Hale finds himself drawn into a web of conspiracy, terrorism, and revolt - and into the orbit of a mysterious woman who may be the key to it all.

DMQZ

The Silent Wife - mystery in the style of Gone Girl

Like Gone Girl (a novel I liked so much that I interviewed the author, Gillian Flynn, on Gweek), The Silent Wife is told in alternating chapters from the points-of-view of a common-law husband and wife whose union has endured two decades of infidelity and stifled communication.

Jodi is a 42-year-old part-time psychologist who has developed a coping mechanism for her husband Todd's philandering: she gaslights him with little annoyances. For instance, she removes a key from his keyring so he can't enter his office building. But other than the quiet tricks she plays on Todd, she seems to enjoy his company and delights in making gourmet meals that they both enjoy in their high-end Chicago riverfront condominium.

Todd is a fairly well-to-do property developer, and incorrigible pleasure-seeker. He's a charming dinner party host and everyone likes him, in part because he avoids conflict at all costs. He knows that Jodi knows about his frequent dalliances, but neither he nor Jodi ever bring it up in conversation.

Read the rest

A Cold Season - excerpt from a new horror novel

Here's an excerpt from the new horror novel by Alison Littlewood, A Cold Season.

A dark and disturbing tale from a bold new voice in horror writing: After the battlefront death of her husband, a soldier, in the sands of the Middle East, a distraught Cass decides to move to the bucolic, picture-perfect village of Darnshaw with her teenaged son. Since Cass's website design business can be run from anywhere with an internet connection and Ben could benefit from a change of scenery, a move to the highlands village seems like just the thing.

But the locals aren't as friendly as she had hoped and the internet connection isn't as reliable as her business requires. And when Ben begins to display a hostility that is completely unlike his usual gentle nature, Cass begins to despair. Finally, the blizzards thunder through and Darnshaw is marooned in a sea of snow.

When things look their blackest, she finds one sympathetic ear in the person of her son's substitute teacher. But his attentions can't put to rest her growing anxiety about her son and her business. And soon, she finds herself pitted against dark forces she can barely comprehend. The cold season has begun.

Read Excerpt

Author Kim Newman on his new Anno Dracula novel, Johnny Alucard (plus excerpt)

Johnny Alucard is the fourth book in the Anno Dracula series; the earlier novels are Anno Dracula,The Bloody Red Baron and Dracula Cha Cha Cha -- and the definitive Titan editions include the long novellas ‘Vampire Romance’ and ‘Aquarius’.

The premise is that in 1885 Count Dracula came to Britain, as Bram Stoker describes in his novel … but rather than being defeated by Van Helsing, he rose to power, becoming Queen Victoria’s second husband and popularising vampirism as a lifestyle choice at the heart of the British Empire. He also imported all the other surviving vampires of fiction as his retinue of hangers-on and toadies.

All this is in the first book -- which revolves around Stoker’s Dr. Seward, who has become a vampire-slaying Jack the Ripper. The subsequent volumes cover the next hundred years and have a global reach, with Dracula moving from country to country and era to era … and manifesting the ills of the century even when seemingly dead again. In Johnny Alucard, the story moves from Europe to America, and we follow the rise of a Romanian orphan who becomes Dracula’s heir apparent as he conquers such American fields of endeavour as drug-dealing, movie production, serial murder, and covert military intervention in other countries.

Read the rest

Gweek 111: Smarter Than You Think


Gweek is a podcast where the editors and friends of Boing Boing talk about comic books, science fiction and fantasy, video games, board games, TV shows, music, movies, tools, gadgets, apps, and other neat stuff.

This episode's guests:

Clive Thompson is a science and technology journalist, whose new book just came out: Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (website). He’s a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and Wired, and blogs at Collision Detection, and can be found on Twitter as @pomeranian99. (Photo of Clive by Tom Igoe)


Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and semiotician. He is co-author of Significant Objects, published by Fantagraphics, and Unbored, the kids' field guide to serious fun. He edits the website HiLobrow, which as HiLoBooks is now publishing classics -- by Jack London, Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Conan Doyle, and others -- from what he calls science fiction's Radium Age.

GET GWEEK: RSS | On iTunes | Download episode | Listen on Stitcher

Here's what we talked about in this episode

Interview with Mark H. Kruger, author of young adult thriller, Overpowered

Despite appearances to the contrary, sinister things are happening behind the squeaky-clean facade of Barrington, Colorado.

Read the rest

Tampa - twisted novel of a sociopathic middle-school teacher [excerpt]

Here's a excerpt of Alissa Nutting's new novel, Tampa.

In Alissa Nutting’s novel Tampa, Celeste Price, a smoldering 26-year-old middle-school teacher in Florida, unrepentantly recounts her elaborate and sociopathically determined seduction of a 14-year-old student.

Celeste has chosen and lured the charmingly modest Jack Patrick into her web. Jack is enthralled and in awe of his eighth-grade teacher, and, most importantly, willing to accept Celeste’s terms for a secret relationship—car rides after dark, rendezvous at Jack’s house while his single father works the late shift, and body-slamming erotic encounters in Celeste’s empty classroom. In slaking her sexual thirst, Celeste Price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress of pure motivation. She deceives everyone, is close to no one, and cares little for anything but her pleasure.

Tampa is a sexually explicit, virtuosically satirical, American Psycho–esque rendering of a monstrously misplaced but undeterrable desire. Laced with black humor and crackling sexualized prose, Alissa Nutting’s Tampa is a grand, seriocomic examination of the want behind student / teacher affairs and a scorching literary debut.

Read excerpt

Trailer for new novel by Gabriel Roth: The Unknowns

[Video Link] I enjoyed this trailer for Gabriel Roth's new novel, The Unknowns. I haven't read the book, but it sounds interesting!

Eric Muller has been trying to hack the girlfriend problem for half his life. As a teenage geek, he discovered his gift for programming computers-but his attempts to understand women only confirm that he's better at writing code than connecting with human beings. Brilliant, neurotic, and lonely, Eric spends high school in the solitary glow of a screen.

By his early twenties, Eric's talent has made him a Silicon Valley millionaire. He can coax girls into bed with ironic remarks and carefully timed intimacies, but hiding behind wit and empathy gets lonely, and he fears that love will always be out of reach.

So when Eric falls for the beautiful, fiercely opinionated Maya Marcom, and she miraculously falls for him too, he's in new territory. But the more he learns about his perfect girlfriend's unresolved past, the further Eric's obsessive mind spirals into confusion and doubt. Can he reconcile his need for order and logic with the mystery and chaos of love?

Why Cling to the Past? Exclusive essay by Stephen King's publisher about Joyland

Charles Ardai looks to the past, and past angry internet message boards, to find something worth cherishing in a new novel.

Read the rest

Great 1962 crime novel: The Hunter, by Richard Stark

After reading Donald Westlake's The Hot Rock (read my review), a humorous crime novel about a gang of professional thieves who repeatedly bungle a jewel heist, I picked up Westlake's The Hunter, a much less funny, but equally enjoyable, 1962 novel about a sociopathic thief named Parker, who is the main character in many of Westlake's crime stories. (Westlake wrote the Parker series under the pen name Richard Stark, one of many pen names he adopted during his prolific career.)

The Hunter is about Parker's quest to get revenge on a partner who ripped him off and tried to have him killed right after Parker and his crew robbed a gang of arms smugglers. Parker doesn't let anyone impede his mission, even if it means killing an innocent person who just happens to be in the way.

At one point while reading The Hunter I contemplated abandoning it because I was bothered by Parker's psychotic disregard for human life, but two reasons kept me going. One, the people that Parker is going after are even more despicably inhuman than he is. And two, Westlake is such a terrific writer I couldn't stop myself from reading to find our what happens.

Parker fits in with the current crop of charismatic sociopaths that headline shows like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, and Dexter. I guess their appeal is that even though they are awful people, they have just enough humanity to make you care what happens to them without actually rooting for them. It takes a skilled writer to create bad people that you care about, and Westlake is one of the greats. I've started the second novel in the Parker series. I'll let you know what I think when I'm finished reading it.

The Hunter: A Parker Novel, by Richard Stark

Gweek 093: Crime writer Duane Swierczynski

In this episode of Gweek, I talked to the terrific crime writer Duane Swierczynski. Duane has a new book out today, called Point & Shoot. It's the third and final novel in his Charlie Hardie series (see my review here). Next week, Dark Horse is releasing X #1, written by Duane. We talked about his novels, non-fiction work, and comic book writing (See my review of his comic book series, Bloodshot). We also geeked out on our favorite crime writers, and I added several authors to my list of books I want to read before I die.

RSS | On iTunes | Download Episode | Listen on Stitcher

What we talked about in this episode:

Fun & Games


Hell & Gone


Point & Shoot

The Wheel Man


The Blonde


Frauds, Scams, and Cons


Thanks to Soundcloud for hosting Gweek!

Where'd You Go, Bernadette: funny/dark novel about the disintegration of a Microsoft family

Maria Semple wrote a tremendously entertaining work of social satire combined with a mystery that kept me wondering what would happen next right up to the end.

Read the rest

Read mystery novels to learn chemistry

Deborah Blum — my favorite expert in the fine art of poisoning — writes a fascinating piece about the way mystery writers like Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers approached the chemistry in their stories with an almost mind-blowing accuracy. Not only did they get the symptoms of specific poisons correct, they were actually describe common chemical tests and techniques right in the narrative.

The Wind Whales of Ishmael, by Philip Jose Farmer - excerpt

I discovered the work of Philip José Farmer when I was 12 or 13 years old. (I just reordered Image of the Beast to see if it's as bizarre and entertaining as I thought it was when I read it at age 15 or so.) He remains one of my favorite science fiction authors. I'm happy to report that his novel The Wind Whales of Ishmael has been reprinted and is available today. The publisher, Titan Books, provided an excerpt, which you can read after the jump.

Ishmael, lone survivor of the doomed whaling ship Pequod, falls through a rift in time and space to a future Earth—an Earth of blood-sucking vegetation and a blood-red sun, of barren canyons where once the Pacific Ocean roared. Here too there are whales to hunt—but whales that soar through a dark blue sky....

Hugo Award-winner Philip José Farmer has spun a fascinating tale of whaling ships and seamen of the sky in a bizarre future world where there are no seas to sail and no safe harbor to call home....

Read the rest

Helen MacInnes' classic 1941 thriller, Above Suspicion, reissued (excerpt)

Titan Books is reissuing the thrillers of spy novelist Helen MacInnes, starting with Pray for a Brave Heart and Above Suspicion. Below, an excerpt from Above Suspicion, her first novel, which was published in 1941.

Richard and Frances Myles are preparing for their annual European summer vacation in 1939 when they are visited at their Oxford college by old friend Peter Galt, who has a seemingly simple job for them. But in the heightened atmosphere of pre-war Europe, nobody is above suspicion, in fact the husband and wife are being carefully monitored by shadowy figures.

CHAPTER 1

The Visit

This June day seemed, to Frances Myles, very much like any other summer day in Oxford. She walked slowly along Jowett Walk, watching the gentle five-o’clock sun bring out the bronze in the leaves overhead. This was her favourite part of the road leading to her husband’s college. On her left the grey walls which hid the gardens of the Holywell houses were crowned with rambler roses. To her right were the playing fields with their stretches of soft green grass, and beyond them were the straightness of poplar, the roundness of chestnut and elm. Today there were only a few men practising at the nets: most of them were packing or going to end-of-term parties. Like herself, she thought, and quickened her pace. She was probably late again. She hoped guiltily that Richard would have enough work to occupy him, while he waited for her at College. He generally had… But it was difficult to hurry on a summer day like this: there were so many things to enjoy, like the twenty shades of green all around her, or the patterns of unevenly cut stones in the high walls, or the way in which a young man would catch a cricket ball and lazily throw it back. Little things, but then the last few months had made the little things important.

Read the rest

Gweek 073: Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn

Interview with Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn.

My guest this episode is Gillian Flynn, the New York Times Bestselling author of Gone Girl, Sharp Objects, and Dark Places. I had a terrific time talking to her about why she enjoys writing creepy books with twisted characters. It was interesting to learn that her father is a retired film professor who loves the work of David Lynch, because the teenagers in Dark Places reminded me of the kids in Twin Peaks.

Here's my review of Gone Girl.


Subscribe-RssSubscribe-ItunesCurrent-EpisodeStitcher-Logo-1