Boing Boing 

Steven Gould's "Exo," a Jumper novel by way of Heinlein's "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel"

Steven Gould’s 1993 YA novel Jumper was a spectacular success (even if the film “adaptation” stank on ice), and each of the (all-too-infrequent) sequels have raised both the stakes and the bar for a must-read series. But with Exo, published today, Gould takes his game into orbit — literally.

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The Portlandia Activity Book

Inspired by the hilarious and quirky TV show Portlandia, The Portlandia Activity Book, written by Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, and Jonathan Krisel includes all kinds of Portland-related activities, tests and advice, such as a “Build Your Own Chore Wheel,” conversation starter cards, conversation stopper cards, fashion tips, bird stencils, silly word games, and more.

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Glimpses: amazing audiobook of one of the all-time-great rock-n-roll novels

Cory Doctorow rates Lewis Shiner’s haunting Glimpses as one of the all-time great rock-n-roll novels, right up there with George RR Martin’s stupendous Armageddon Rag. It’s now available as an audiobook, and he’s delighted.

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The Magician and the Cardsharp: The Search for America's Greatest Sleight-of-Hand Artist

A Gweek listener recommended The Magician and the Cardsharp to me (I can't remember who - sorry!) and I'm thankful he did. It's a well-told story about two men with intersecting lifelong goals. The first man was Allen Kennedy (1865–1961) a professional card cheat who spent many years perfecting his technique to deal cards from the center of the deck undetected. The second man was Dai Vernon (1894–1992), one of the most highly-respected sleight-of-hand magicians in history.

Vernon, who worked as a silhouette cutter in department stores, had been interested in card tricks (especially ones involving sleight-of-hand) since childhood. By the time he was an adult, he'd gained a reputation for being one of the best card handlers in the world. From time-to-time, Vernon would heard rumors that there was a professional cardsharp somewhere in Missouri who'd mastered the mythical Center Deal, a move that almost every magician dismissed as an impossible fantasy.

Vernon had his doubts too, but the rumors continued to spread, and his curiosity got the better of him. He embarked on a years-long quest, involving much travel and encounters with scary characters, to find out if there really was someone who had invented an undetectable center deal and, if he existed, to convince the man to teach him how it was done. This book is not only the story of Vernon's search for, and eventual meeting with, the man behind the rumor, it is also a history of the American midwest's rough-and-tumble past, replete with illegal gambling dens, speakeasies, con-men, whorehouses, and mobsters. Author Karl Johnson does a fine job of bringing the dusty, dangerous, boisterous, exciting atmosphere of small city vice to life.

The Magician and the Cardsharp

Video below shows a sample of the genius of Dai Vernon:

Sword and Laser bookclub kicks off The Name of the Wind

This episode is brought to you by Squarespace, the all-in-one platform that makes it fast and easy to create your own professional website or online portfolio. For a free trial and 10% off, go to squarespace.com and use offer code SWORD.

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Lev Grossman's The Magician's Land

Lev Grossman’s The Magician’s Land concludes his genre-bending, brilliant, acerbic rethinking of the entire high fantasy genre, and does so with enormous style and skill. It’s easy to take cheap shots at the thrice-brewed tea of Tolkien, but Grossman’s moves are subtle, filled with understanding and affection, and offer no mercy to cherished illusions.

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Rise of the Planet of the Apes: The Art of the Films

I saw the movie Dawn of the Planet of the Apes over the weekend and was amazed by its greatness. I applauded at the end with the rest of the audience. The acting, by both the humans and the “apes,” was superb. The revolutionary special effects – using “performance capture” cgi technology in ways never used before, created the most realistic digitalized characters I’ve ever seen. And the engaging and moving storyline with its themes on war, trust and humanity tied it all together into a perfect package. I love the rare science fiction film that surpasses expectations on every level, and this one hits every mark with incredible precision. So it was with great interest that I opened up Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Rise of the Planet of the Apes: The Art of the Films, a book that looks behind the scenes and explains the incredible ingenuity and talent that went behind the two latest movies in the Planet of the Apes franchise. With tons of photos that show how the effects were created along with a fascinating narrative that tells the journey of creating these films, this is a behind-the-scenes book that any Planet of the Apes or special effects fan will thoroughly enjoy.

See high-res sample pages from the book at Wink.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Rise of the Planet of the Apes: The Art of the Films by Sharon Gosling, Matt Hurwitz, and Adam Newell

Mark's culture picks on NPR's Bullseye: Forbidden Island and Citizen Keane

keane

From Bullseye with Jesse Thorn from NPR:

This week's recommendations come care of Boing Boing founder and Gweek host Mark Frauenfelder.

He suggests checking out Forbidden Island, a co-operative game. It's a simple premise: collect four treasures from a sinking island.

He also recommends Citizen Keane: The Big Lies Behind the Big Eyes, a biography about the sketchy past of Walter and Margaret Keane, the couple who painted the kitschy pop-art paintings of teary, big-eyed children.

Want to hear more? For more interviews about the best in culture, comedy, and recommendations every week, subscribe to our podcast in iTunes, with our RSS feed or search for "Bullseye with Jesse Thorn" in your favorite podcast app.

Carl Hiaasen's BAD MONKEY, now in paperback!

Carl Hiaasen's amazing comic novel, Bad Monkey, is now out in paperback; I reviewed it last year in hardcover:

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Who deserves the starring role in the film adaptation of The Martian?

In episode 183 of the Sword and Laser, Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt ponder on Matt Damon’s role in The Martian, why we love to hate villains, and the role of philosophy and ideology in Octavia Butler’s Dawn. Brought to you by Squarespace. Use offer code SWORD for a free trial and 10% off!

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Mitch O'Connell and Dr. Monkey’s Retro Scans

In his vast photo collection are old Chicago movie theaters, delightfully dirty old Times Square, and his backyard tower of impaled baby dolls. Brought to you by Random House Audio (click here for free downloads!)
and by Stamps.com (click here for a special $110 offer!)

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75 questions about science and other great books

winkssWink is a website that reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday. My wife, Carla Sinclair, is the editor. We take lots of photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them.

This week we reviewed:

Typewriter Art: A Modern Anthology – A handsome collection of this little-known art form

The Where the Why and the How – 75 questions that can’t be conclusively answered by an iPhone

Letter Fountain – A stunningly well-crafted bible of typography

Adventure Time: A Totally Math Poster Collection - Featuring 20 Removable Frameable Prints

Stencil Republic – 20 laser-cut, brown-paper stencils bound on perforated pages

The Good Life Lab – Moving from a high-powered life in New York to off-the-grid living in New Mexico

Take a look at these books and many others at Wink. And sign up for our Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

Poesy guest-reviews the new Ariol book

Our favorite six-year-old guest reviewer, Poesy Taylor Doctorow, is back with a review of the latest volume of Ariol, a French kids’ comic that Papercutz is bringing out in English.

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The Powder Mage Trilogy - Brian McClellan's new epic fantasy series

In the latest episode of the Sword and Laser, Veronica and Tom break down their June book pick, Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan.

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The big lies behind the big eyes of "artist" Walter Keane

This week in Gweek we review Adam Parfrey and Cletus Nelson’s biography of famous kitsch artists, the Keanes. Plus: Plex media server, play putties, and much more. Brought to you by Random House Audio (click here for free downloads!)
and by Stamps.com (click here for a special $110 offer!)

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Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century is a bestselling economics tome whose combination of deep, careful presentation of centuries’ worth of data, along with an equally careful analysis of where capitalism is headed has ignited a global conversation about inequality, tax, and policy. Cory Doctorow summarizes the conversation without making you read 696 pages (though you should).

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Wink's remarkable book picks of the week

winkWink is a website that reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday. My wife, Carla Sinclair, is the editor. We take lots of photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them.

This week we reviewed:

The Good Life Lab – Moving from a high-powered life in New York to off-the-grid living in New Mexico

The Ashley Book of Knots – Thousands of old timey knots, both useful and decorative.

The Philosophy Book - An absorbing introductory course on philosophers throughout the ages

Masters of Deception – Optical illusion masterpieces by 20 different artists

Pirate Nightmare Vice Explosion – Found remnants of an amateur dadaist’s library

The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert – a playful, simple, informative book about wine and its many delectable smells

Take a look at these books and many others at Wink. And sign up for our Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

Hidden mother photos, close up magic, and a cool new kitchen scale [Gweek 151]

Our returning guest is Choose Yourself author James Altucher. Brought to you by Stamps.com. Click here for a special $110 offer!

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Moonhead and the Music Machine

Fresh from the always-great Nobrow Press and comics creator Andrew Rae is Moonhead and the Music Machine, a surreal all-ages graphic novel that tells the coming-of-age story of Joey Moonhead, whose head is a moon, and whose freak-flag is just starting to fly. Cory Doctorow reviews a fine, funny and delightful tribute to album rock, outcast liberation, and high school social dominance.

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Flintpunk and Geekomancy [Sword and Laser 179]

Would you like to be in a George R. R. Martin Book? Got $20K? Don’t mind being killed? Good. You can help wolves. Also we give our first impressions of Brian McClellan’s The Promise of Blood and talk Geekomancy with Michael Underwood.

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The Return of Zita the Space Girl

Ben Hatke’s Zita the Spacegirl kids’ comics are a huge favorite around these parts. In The Return of Zita the Space Girl, Hatke wraps up his first story arc in a way that can only be called an absolute triumph. Cory Doctorow reviews it.

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A book that plays tic-tac-toe with you

ttt
Tic Tac Tome is a book that’s smart enough to play tic-tac-toe with you – no batteries required. You start on the first page by deciding which of the 9 spots to place your X. Then turn to the indicated page number to see where the book places its O. And so on, until one of you wins (or you have a cat’s game). To let the book start first, flip the book over and start from the back page. The photos above show a game started by the book and ending in a cat’s game. I can’t wait for the Chess version – it’ll be a couple of hundred million pages long, so I’ve cleared a spot on my bookshelf for it. (via Wink)

How to rebuild our world from scratch [Gweek 150]

Maybe it was a viral pandemic, or an asteroid strike, or perhaps nuclear war. Whatever the cause, the world as we know it has ended and you and the other survivors must start again. What key knowledge would you need to start rebuilding civilization from scratch? This episode of Gweek is brought to you by stamps.com.

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Flash Point: Fire Rescue - a game of high-stakes trade-offs

Flash Point: Fire Rescue is a co-operative game about firefighting for 1-6 players. Both its difficulty and its complexity are hugely adjustable, such that it’s suitable for anyone from families with elementary-age children to groups of adult gamers. Where Escape: Curse of the Temple is frantic and breathless, Flash Point is deliberate and tense. Jon Seagull reviews.

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Wink's remarkable book picks of the week

winkssWink is a website that reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday. My wife, Carla Sinclair, is the editor. We take lots of photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them.

This week we reviewed:

The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora – Joyously explosive art from a forgotten illustrator of 1940s jazz records

Big Meals for Little Hands - Sophisticated meals that kids will enjoy making as well as eating

Dian Hanson’s History of Pin-Up Magazines – A jaw-dropping seventy-year history of prurient pulp

The Timechart History of the World – A spectacular 14-foot-long foldable chart that graphs world history from 4,000 BC to today

Graffiti World: Street Art From Five Continents - Jam-packed with 2000 images, Graffiti World is the best gallery of world-wide street art

The Engineer’s Sketchbook – A collection of timeless mechanical concepts explained with basic principles

Take a look at these books and many others at Wink. And sign up for our Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

How to find four-leaf clovers like Sherlock Holmes [Gweek 149]

Our guest Maria Konnikova is a New Yorker contributing writer. She covers science and psychology for The Atlantic, and The New York Times. We spoke to her about her book, Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, a great overlooked crime novel, her favorite podcast, and lots more.

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Dian Hanson’s History of Pin-Up Magazines

Matt Maranian finds that there’s a lot to learn about the history of pin-up magazines, more than you’d ever imagine, and this set leaves no stone unturned and no skirt unlifted.

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Saga Volume Three: weird all the things!

It’s been nearly a year since the publication of volume two of Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ spectacular Saga comic; but at last, volume three is at hand. As Cory Doctorow discovered, it was well worth the wait.

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Matt Taibbi's The Divide: incandescent indictment of the American justice-gap

Matt Taibbi’s
The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap
is a scorching, brilliant, incandescent indictment of the widening gap in how American justice treats the rich and the poor. Taibbi’s spectacular financial reporting for Rolling Stone set him out as the best running commentator on the financial crisis and its crimes, and The Divide — beautifully illustrated by Molly Crabapple — shows that at full length, he’s even better. Cory Doctorow reviews The Divide.

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Wink's remarkable book picks of the week

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 6.46.25 PMWink is a website that reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday. My wife, Carla Sinclair, is the editor. We take lots of photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them.

This week we reviewed:

The Engineer’s Sketchbook – A collection of timeless mechanical concepts explained with basic principles

Incredible Cross-Sections - a books that simplifies complex things by bisecting objects on super-size pages

Secret Identity – The fetish art and bizarre fate of Superman’s co-creator

Recording The Beatles – A hefty book in a box that comes with tons of goodies and everything there is to know about the Fab Four recording at Abbey Road

Magic Color Flair - An enchanting collection of Disney artist Mary Blair’s delightful art

Codex Seraphinianus – This is the weirdest book you’ve ever seen

Take a look at these books and many others at Wink. And sign up for our Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.