Boing Boing heroes Megan and Rick Prelinger run the Prielinger Library
, an amazing privately-funded but public "appropriation-friendly" collection of books, magazines, and ephemera in San Francisco. In my opinion, the Prelinger Library's materials have the vibe that I imagine a Boing Boing Library would feel like. Megan has been working on a fascinating book, "Another Science Fiction: Advertising the Space Race 1957-1962
," that will be published in May by Blast Books. Judging by today's New York Times preview of the book, it's going to be a doozy of retro-futurism and atomic/modernist design. Congrats, Megan! From the NYT:
Some of the most extravagant of these visions of the future came not from cheap paperbacks, but from corporations buffing their high-tech credentials and recruiting engineering talent in the heady days when zooming budgets for defense and NASA had created a gold rush in outer space.
"Reaching for the Stars When Space Was a Thrill" (NYT, thanks Greg Long!)
In the pages of magazines like Aviation Week, Missiles and Rockets and even Fortune, companies, some famous and some now obscure, were engaged in a sort of leapfrog of dreams. And so, for example, Republic Aviation of Farmingdale, N.Y. -- "Designers and Builders of the Incomparable Thundercraft" -- could be found bragging in Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine in 1959 about the lunar gardening experiments it was doing for a future Air Force base on the moon.
Or the American Bosch Arma Corporation showing off, in Fortune, its "Cosmic Butterfly," a solar-powered electrically propelled vehicle to ferry passengers and cargo across the solar system...
The book, she said, was inspired by a shipment of old publications to the library, including Aviation Week & Space Technology and Missiles and Rockets. "I little expected that the advertising in their pages would seize my attention more than the articles themselves," she writes in the introduction to her book.
Another Science Fiction: Advertising the Space Race 1957-1962 (Amazon)
Steven Brust is a literary treasure and his longrunning Vlad Taltos series, now nearing its final volume, is a good example of where his strengths lie: hardboiled plotting, snappy dialog, weirdly realistic and plausible depictions of magic, and a sensitive eye for power relationships and their depiction, all of which are on display in his latest, outstanding novel, Good Guys, about the minimum-wage sorcerers who investigate magical crimes on behalf of a secret society.
Rafael Rosado and Jorge Aguirre's middle-grades graphic novels Giants Beware! and Dragons Beware! are two of my family's favorite books: Rosado and Aguirre's character design, comedic dialog, plotting, and scenarios are so charming, so funny, so overwhelmingly, compulsively great that we've re-read these dozens of times; now we've got Monsters Beware, the third volume in the series, where the mysteries of Mont Petit Pierre and the intertwined lives of the huge cast of characters from the previous volumes come together.
Annie Duke dropped out of a PhD in cognitive psychology to become a professional poker player; now she runs a nonprofit devoted to improving decision quality by merging the practical cognitive tools of the world's greatest poker players with the leading edge of cognitive psychology, a method she describes in an excellent and charming new book called Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts.
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