For rent on Airbnb: Hunter S. Thompson's Woody Creek guest cabin

Now on Airbnb: gonzo journalism master Hunter S. Thompson's guest cabin on his infamous Owl Farm compound in Woody Creek, Colorado. Eventually, the late writer's wife Anita intends to turn the property, including their living quarters, into a museum and writer's retreat. For now, you can rent the two-bedroom guest cabin for $550/night. According to the listing, Anita Thompson "will try to be available at least once per visit depending on circumstances." HST fan Kevin EG Perry spent a night at the cabin and wrote about it for The Guardian:

It is 4.30 on a Thursday morning and I am writing these words on the big red IBM Selectric III that once belonged to Hunter S Thompson. Owl Farm, Thompson’s “fortified compound” in Woody Creek, Colorado, is dark and silent outside. Even the peacocks he raised are sleeping. The only sound anywhere is the warm hum of this electric typewriter and the mechanical rhythm of its key strikes, as clear and certain as gunfire.

In April, Thompson’s widow, Anita, began renting out the writer’s cabin to help support the Hunter S Thompson scholarship for veterans at Columbia University, where both she and Hunter studied. It sits beside the main Thompson home on a 17-hectare estate marked with hoof prints and elk droppings that gradually rises towards a mountain range. A short walk uphill is the spot where Thompson’s ashes were fired into the sky from a 153ft tower in the shape of a “Gonzo fist”, a logo he first adopted during his unsuccessful 1970 campaign to be sheriff of nearby Aspen...

Read the rest

World Science Fiction Storybundle: $15 for 10 DRM-free books from around the world, benefiting English PEN

Lavie Tidhar (previously) writes in about the new World SF bundle from Storybundle, launched today: it's 10 books, from authors Nalo Hopkinson, Lauren Beukes, Saad Z. Hossain, Deji Bryce Olukotun,Jeannette Ng, Francesco Verso and TOBI Hirotaka, plus anthologies Afro SF 3 and The Apex Book of World SF 5. It's just $15 for 10 books, and a part of anything received goes to charity - we've partnered up with English PEN, who work tirelessly to promote translated fiction and authors' rights around the world, as our chosen charity partner. It's a great opportunity to get a whole lot of international speculative fiction in one go and a low price." Read the rest

Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 Locus Awards!

Locus Magazine announced the winners of its annual reader-voted awards last night, with top honors for Mary Robinette Kowal, who won Best SF Novel for The Calculating Stars (which also won a Nebula Award this year), as well as Brooke Bolander, who won Best Novelette for The Only Harmless Great Thing (also a Nebula winner); and Phenderson Djèlí Clark whose Nebula-winning short story The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington also won a Locus. Read the rest

Richard Kadrey discusses his new dieselpunk noir novel "The Grand Dark"

Earlier this month, I reviewed Richard Kadrey's new novel "The Grand Dark" for the LA Times; as I wrote, "His latest is “The Grand Dark,” a noir, diesel punk book set in a Weimar world of war trauma, debauchery, cabaret and looming disaster — and it's superb." Read the rest

Microsoft is about to shut off its ebook DRM servers: "The books will stop working"

"The books will stop working": That's the substance of the reminder that Microsoft sent to customers for their ebook store, reminding them that, as announced in April, the company is getting out of the ebook business because it wasn't profitable enough for them, and when they do, they're going to shut off their DRM servers, which will make the books stop working. Read the rest

Rage Inside the Machine: an insightful, brilliant critique of AI's computer science, sociology, philosophy and economics

Rob Smith is an eminent computer scientist and machine learning pioneer whose work on genetic algorithms has been influential in both industry and the academy; now, in his first book for a general audience, Rage Inside the Machine: The Prejudice of Algorithms, and How to Stop the Internet Making Bigots of Us All, Smith expertly draws connections between AI, neoliberalism, human bias, eugenics and far-right populism, and shows how the biases of computer science and the corporate paymasters have distorted our whole society. Read the rest

Houston! Come see Hank Green and me on July 31

I'm coming to Houston on July 31 to appear with Hank Green at an event for the paperback launch of his outstanding debut novel An Absolutely Remarkable Thing: we're on a 7PM at Spring Forest Middle School (14240 Memorial Drive, Houston, TX 77079); it's a ticketed event and the ticket price includes a copy of Hank's book. Hope to see you there! (Images: Vlogbrothers, Jonathan Worth, CC-BY) Read the rest

Cult of the Dead Cow: the untold story of the hacktivist group that presaged everything great and terrible about the internet

Back in 1984, a lonely, weird kid calling himself Grandmaster Ratte' formed a hacker group in Lubbock, Texas. called the Cult of the Dead Cow, a name inspired by a nearby slaughterhouse. In the decades to come, cDc would become one of the dominant forces on the BBS scene and then the internet -- endlessly inventive, funny and prankish, savvy and clever, and sometimes reckless and foolish -- like punk-rock on a floppy disk. Read the rest

Good Omens is amazing

I was already a Terry Pratchett fan and a Neil Gaiman fan in 1990, when their comedic novel Good Omens showed up in the bookstore I worked at, and I dibsed it, took it home over the weekend, read it in huge gulps, and wrote an enthusiastic review on a 3x5 card that I tacked to the bookshelf next to it on the new release rack at the front of the store; I hand-sold hundreds of copies, and have read it dozens of times since. Read the rest

The tree that inspired Dr. Seuss's The Lorax has fallen

The tree thought to have inspired Theodor Seuss Geisel's 1971 book The Lorax has fallen down. The Monterey Cypress tree stood for 80 to 100 years at Ellen Browning Scripps Park in La Jolla, California, Geisel's home for almost 50 years. From CNN:

Tim Graham (of the San Diego Parks and Recreation Department) said there is "no definitive cause on why it fell..."

The city plans to salvage the large trunk section in hopes of repurposing it, Graham said.

image: Bryan Fernandez/Flickr (CC) Read the rest

Trailer for Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining

"Come and play with us, Danny... for ever, and ever, and ever." The bigscreen adaptation of Doctor Sleep, Stephen King's 2013 novel sequel to The Shining, is out November 8. From the film description:

"Doctor Sleep” continues the story of Danny Torrance, 40 years after his terrifying stay at the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson and newcomer Kyliegh Curran star in the supernatural thriller, directed by Mike Flanagan, from his own screenplay based upon the novel by Stephen King.

Still irrevocably scarred by the trauma he endured as a child at the Overlook, Dan Torrance has fought to find some semblance of peace. But that peace is shattered when he encounters Abra, a courageous teenager with her own powerful extrasensory gift, known as the “shine.” Instinctively recognizing that Dan shares her power, Abra has sought him out, desperate for his help against the merciless Rose the Hat and her followers, The True Knot, who feed off the shine of innocents in their quest for immortality.

Forming an unlikely alliance, Dan and Abra engage in a brutal life-or-death battle with Rose. Abra’s innocence and fearless embrace of her shine compel Dan to call upon his own powers as never before—at once facing his fears and reawakening the ghosts of the past.

Read the rest

It Feels Good to Be Yourself: a sweet, simple picture book about gender identity

Theresa Thorn (co-host of the excellent parenting podcast One Bad Mother and Jesse Thorn (proprietor of the excellent Maximum Fun podcasting network) have a transgender daughter; Theresa has written a beautiful, sweet picture book about gender identity based on her experiences with her trans kid: It Feels Good to Be Yourself. Read the rest

"The Grand Dark": Kadrey's latest is a noir, dieselpunk masterpiece that's timely as hell

Regular readers will know Richard Kadrey (previously) from his bestselling Sandman Slim series, but as much as I love those books, I think I love his latest, "The Grand Dark" -- a noir/dieselpunk novel set in a fictionalized weimar city in a brief, hectic interwar period -- even more. Read the rest

The Church of the Subgenius's Salvation Pack is the best $35 I ever spent

Update: I goofed! The book is sold separately!

A couple of weeks ago, I was thrilled to hear Subgenius founder, the Reverend Ivan Stang, interviewed on the Comedy on Vinyl podcast (previously) and to discover that the Church of the Subgenius was selling a $35 Salvation/Membership/Ordainment kit that was chock full of goodies. Read the rest

The strange "No Frills" series of totally generic genre fiction books from the 1980s

The "No Frills" series was a collection of genre fiction paperbacks published by Jove Publishing in 1981 with plain covers, no author names, and maximally pulp plots. From Weird Universe:

Terry Bisson, who was one of the instigators of this project, reports:

Mystery was written by Clark Dimond, a men's mag editor/writer who also wrote for comics. The Romance was written by Judy Coyne (former Glamour mag editor) nee Wederholt The SF was written by John Silbersack, SF editor and now an agent. The Western was by Vic Milan (SF author) We were working on a No-Frills Besteller (by me) and A No-Frills movie (by film critic David Ansen) when the series was dropped. My partner selling the series was Lou Rosetto who went on to found WIRED magazine.

"No Frills Books" (Weird Universe)

More at this old post on Bill Crider's blog: "Forgotten Books -- Mystery" Read the rest

Speech Police: vital, critical look at the drive to force Big Tech to control who may speak and what they may say

David Kaye (previously) has served as the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression since 2014 -- a critical half-decade in the evolution of free speech both online and offline; in Speech Police: The Global Struggle to Govern the Internet a new, short book from Columbia Special Reports, Kaye provides a snapshot of the global state of play for expression, as governments, platforms, and activists act out of a mix of both noble and corrupt motives to control online discourse. Read the rest

Beautiful book, augmented reality, and film about stunning rocket launches

In the realm of rocket geeks and space nerds, filmmakers MaryLiz Bender and Ryan Chylinski have dream jobs. The pair have the equivalent of "backstage passes" to SpaceX, NASA and ULA rocket launches where they capture and share breathtaking videos that convey the power, risk, and thrill of space exploration. The work of their studio, called Cosmic Perspective, is visceral, wondrous, and inspiring. Now Bender and Chylinski are creating a fascinating art book enhanced with augmented reality along with a companion short film "documenting humanity's grand adventure to space." Titled "Guidance Internal: Lessons from Astronauts," the book, film, and their touring Cosmic Perspective show lies at the intersection of science and art "to inspire hope, elevate empathy, and bring people together." They've launched a Kickstarter to support the project and it looks, well, stellar.

From Kickstarter:

The art and the pages in this book come to life immediately teleporting you to rocket launch pads, directly to our intimate interviews with astronauts and the people sending missions to space. We fuse art with science blending our love of high-dynamic range photography with compelling video to capture the emotion, excitement, and gravity of these events. We also give you a front-row seat to transformative performances by artists inspired by these experiences.

We place autonomous high-resolution and ultra-high speed video cameras at the launchpads of SpaceX, NASA, and ULA. These are cameras we place well ahead of the liftoff, design to survive the elements and, since no humans can be anywhere near the rockets, trigger without any human interaction.

Read the rest

More posts