Ian Bogost's How to Talk About Videogames
isn't just a book about games -- it's a book about criticism, and where it fits in our wider culture. Bogost is the rare academic writer whose work is as clear and exciting as the best of the mainstream, and whose critical exercises
backfire by becoming enormous commercial/popular successes.
When my daughter Poesy discovered the first Phoebe and Her Unicorn book
, it was love at first sight. When I pried the book out of her hands, I was also addicted, and just as delighted with book two
. Book three is out today
, and I'm so immensely excited to announce that my daughter and I co-wrote the introduction!
Nitesh Dhanjani's 2015 O'Reilly book Abusing the Internet of Things: Blackouts, Freakouts, and Stakeouts
is a very practical existence-proof of the inadequacy and urgency of Internet of Things security.
the Birds in the Sky
is everything you could ask for in a debut
novel -- a fresh look at science fiction's most cherished memes,
ruthlessly shredded and lovingly reassembled.
The launch of Starve
, the new comic from Brian Wood, creator of the landmark DMZ
and artists Danijel Žeželj and Dave Stewart, was widely celebrated as a major new comic that started as strong as Warren Ellis's Transmetropolitan
"Radical ecology" has come to mean a kind of left-wing back-to-the-landism that throws off consumer culture and mass production for a pastoral low-tech lifestyle. But as the brilliant science journalist and Marxist Leigh Phillips writes in Austerity Ecology & the Collapse-Porn Addicts: A Defence Of Growth, Progress, Industry And Stuff
, if the left has a future, it has to reclaim its Promethean commitment to elevating every human being to a condition of luxurious, material abundance and leisure through technological progress.
Today is the third anniversary of Aaron Swartz's death, and it was marked by the publication of an anthology of Aaron's writing, The Boy Who Could Change the World: The Writings of Aaron Swartz with an introduction by Lawrence Lessig (I wrote an introduction to one of the sections).
Read the rest
Mariana Mazzucato's The Entrepreneurial State
uses empirical research to demolish the capitalist orthodoxy that holds the state to be a feckless, harmful distorter of markets.
is a tic-tac-toe variant that lets players occupy squares, change their opponents' squares, or move where the squares are
relative to one another. It's a strategy game with more sneaky ways to win -- and lose -- than seems possible, at first.
I'm not a hardcore skiier, but growing up in Canada I did learn, and my family and I go skiing about once a year.
Read the rest
The Legacy Collection
plunders the deepest depths of the Disney sound archive to collect, with unprecedented completeness, the audio histories of 11 classic animated films from each era of the Disney Studios, from Lady and the Tramp and Aristocats to Little Mermaid and the Lion King to Toy Story and Wreck-It Ralph, with one more CD devoted just to Disneyland. Each disc contains the full score of a film from opening to closing credits, unreleased rarities, and bonus material. Then there's the books.
I learned about Concrete Park
from Calvin Reid
, the pioneering comics critic/reviewer who chaired a panel with Scott McCloud and me at the Miami Book Fair last month; Calvin called it the best new afrofuturistic comic he'd read, and I rushed out to get my own copy.
In German-speaking Alpine lands, as Americans are increasingly aware, St. Nicholas is accompanied on his gift-giving rounds by the devilish Krampus, who’s said to punish naughty children with stinging blows from birch switches, by stuffing them in a sack and carrying them off to hell, throwing them in a lake, or even eating them -- punishments that all seem infinitely more pleasant than sitting through Michael Dougherty’s horror-comedy Krampus due in theaters December 4.
I am not a film critic. I was invited to a preview screening because of my involvement in co-producing Krampus events in Los Angeles since 2013. Over the course of these events and in writing a book on the subject, I’ve had conversations with dozens of Europeans who don the suits annually. I’ve talked to mask-carvers, and Austrian cultural anthropologists, and gotten close enough to Alpine Krampuses to smell their animal pelts and steamy, schnappsy breath. I know the Krampus pretty well, well enough to say this film has almost nothing to do with that old devil.
Even from the trailers I already knew we weren’t exploring authentic traditions. I expected some creativity with the tradition and wanted to be entertained. I was there as a horror fan. I’ve been one all my life. By the age 10, I could tell you the release date, directors, lead players and usually the make-up artist behind any of Universal’s classic horror films. But sitting in the Carl Laemmle building watching this, I could hear the old man cursing the very first pfennig he dropped in a nickelodeon. Read the rest
Steven Melia's Urban Transport Without the Hot Air
joins Drugs Without the Hot Air
, Sustainable Materials With Both Eyes Open
and Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air
as a highly readable, evidence-based look at a contentious and politicised area that offers a refreshing dose of facts in a debate dominated by ideology.
In 1982, Coco Moodysson was a 12 year old punk in Sweden, along with her best friend and her best friend's sister. They gave themselves spiky haircuts, started a band called Off to the Alps, wrote a song called "Ecco Shoes" and demanded that the adults in their lives take them seriously.
In The Oversight
, Charlie Fletcher introduced us to a secret history of London and the ancient order that defended it from the creatures of the dark. Now, with The Paradox
, a sequel, Fletcher plunges the bedraggled heroes of the Oversight into danger that they may not be able to best.
Randall "XKCD" Munroe's Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words
arrives in stores today: it combines technical diagrams and wordplay in pure display of everything that makes XKCD brilliant and wonderful in every way.