Briggs Land 2: Lone Wolves, in which Jim Briggs tries to seize control with neo-Nazi funding
In the first volume of Briggs Land, DMZ-creator Brian Wood set up a gripping scenario: a leadership struggle in a far-right separatist cult whose leader has languished in prison for decades. Now, in the second collection Wood and his collaborators are playing out the story for all it's worth.
The Briggs family and their followers live in a heavily armed compound in upstate New York, and Jim Briggs, the founder, was about to turn state's evidence when his wife seized control of the land and froze out Jim and the community members who were loyal to him.
In the second collection, Lone Wolves, Jim Briggs strikes back from prison, engineering a potentially bloody coup against his estranged wife: funded by a white supremacist faction, he outspends Grace in bribing the local law and promises stability and profits to the community's opioid dealers.
Grace is forced to consolidate power, enlisting her boys and her daughters-in-law -- who were raised outside of Briggs Land -- to put down the coup forcefully, in a paranoid civil war footing that ends up with the Briggs accidentally kidnapping a pair of Canadian hikers, bringing the feds back down on them.
It's a taut middle chapter in a story that is full of antiheroes and characters who are empathized with but never sympathized with. As with DMZ, Briggs Land does an excellent job of showing that the real sides in any battle are "combatants" and "noncombatants" -- not the warring factions who consider themselves to be the real stakeholders in the conflict.
Briggs Land 2: Lone Wolves [Brian Wood, Mack Chater, Lee Loughridge and others/Dark Horse]
A team of material scientists from Northwestern University figured out how to make hair dye in various shades of grey, all the way to a very, very black black, out of graphene sheets.
Steven Brust's "Good Guys," a hardboiled noir urban fantasy, with everything great about Brust on proud display
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.
XOXO is the much-loved culture and tech conference in Portland, organized by Andy Baio and Andy McMillan; they took 2017 off and would not confirm when or if the conference would be back, but a year later, it's back!
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