Solid State: Jonathan Coulton's album/graphic novel against nicey-nice fascism

Jonathan Coulton is known for a myriad of distinct accomplishments. The tech professional-turned-musician once conducted a Thing a Week experiment, in which he recorded and published a new song every Friday for a year, produced a cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back" infamously adopted by the Fox series Glee, regularly contributes to the NPR quiz show "Ask Me Another" as its very own one-man band, and runs his own fan cruise aptly called the JoCo Cruise.

Ikea vs Superfans: how paranoid trademark lawyers make everything suck

In 2014, IKEA, the Swedish-based global furniture company, sent a cease-and-desist letter to a blogger by the name of Jules Yap. Yap ran the extremely popular website IKEAhackers.net, which helped people “hack” IKEA furniture into new, creative, and unexpected designs. The site was already almost a decade old when IKEA’s lawyers demanded that Yap hand over the URL. What follows is a case study from Superfandom: How Our Obsessions are Changing What We Buy and Who We Are.

A climbable personal library in an old elevator shaft

Studio North was commissioned to refit an old elevator shaft in a converted warehouse loft in Calgary; they built a tall, narrow library with climbable shelves whose hand- and foot-holds retract into the shelving. Read the rest

There is only one man with the gold, and that man is Mr. T

On the infrequent occasion I am asked for life advice I refer folks to Mr. T: The Man with the Gold: An Autobiography. It has all the answers.

Read the rest

Read: "Communist Party": the first chapter of Walkaway

There's still time to pre-order your signed first-edition hardcover of Walkaway, my novel which comes out on April 25 (US/UK), and while you're waiting for that to ship, here's chapter one of the novel, "Communist Party" (this is read by Wil Wheaton on the audiobook, where he is joined by such readers as Amanda Palmer and Amber Benson!). Read the rest

Here's the schedule for my 25-city US-Canada Walkaway tour!

There's 25 stops in all on the US/Canada tour for WALKAWAY, my next novel, an "optimistic disaster novel" that comes out on April 25 (more stops coming soon, as well as publication of my UK tour). Read the rest

The Offworld Collection available to order

The Offworld Collection, presenting the very best features and essays from Offworld, is finally available to buy directly from Campo Santo for $40. I had the pleasure of designing and illustrating this splendid 250-page hardcover volume, but it's the excellent writing, edited by Leigh Alexander and Laura Hudson, that makes it an essential buy. You get the ebook immediately upon purchase. Read the rest

Zelda: Art & Artifacts is an enormous art book for Hyrule explorers

The Legend of Zelda: Art & Artifacts is a mammoth book containing art and errata from practically every Zelda title ever released. Having spent a mere afternoon with it, I feel I've experienced an adolescence-worth of missed gameplay.

I've never gotten around to immersing myself in the Zelda games, but was always struck by the their' precision and economy, a world crafted more than built. There's a mysticism, even a darkness to Zelda that seems out of place in Nintendo's cutesy-poo lineup.

A heroic cycle, with a eternally-recurring hero and nemesis, every generation of the mythos is a strange echo of another, and the star is a stoic mute boy defined by his tools and under fate's control. Hyrule and its hero are less standard RPG fantasy than a uniquely Japanese new wave murmur, an Elric in Arcadia who brings sunshine rather than storm and never has a single brooding thought and gets to live silently ever after.

Published by Dark Horse Books, it's 424 pages long and weighs 6 pounds. It's 12.3 x 9.3 inches long and wide and two inches thick. Notes and other documentation are translated by Aria Tanner, Hisashi Kotobuki, Heidl Plechl and Michael Gombos.

Organized roughly by release date (the canonical continuity seems rather murky), there's early animation-style cels, box art, instruction booklets, and even some work from the latest title, Breath of the Wild, released a couple of weeks ago.

It goes from exquisitely painted concept art right down to detailed sprite sheets from classic 8-bit outings, and the print quality is outstanding. Read the rest

New York 2140: Kim Stanley Robinson dreams vivid about weathering climate crisis

In 2012, Kim Stanley Robinson published 2312, imagining how the world and its neighbors might look in 300 years, loosely coupled with the seminal Red Mars books, a futuristically pastoral novel about the way that technology can celebrate the glories of nature; in 2015, Robinson followed it up with Aurora, the best book I read that year, which used 2312's futures to demolish the idea that we can treat space colonization (and other muscular technological projects) as Plan B for climate change -- a belief that is very comforting to those who don't or can't imagine transforming capitalism into a political system that doesn't demolish the planet. Now, with New York 2140, Robinson starts to connect the dots between these different futures with a bold, exhilarating story of life in a permanent climate crisis, where most people come together in adversity, but where a small rump of greedy, powerful people get in their way.

Trump: 'I love to read.'

In a recent Fox News interview, President Donald Trump told anchor Tucker Carlson he's beginning to get the hang of this whole reading thing. The interview hit the internet on the same day Trump's administration released an incomprehensibly nihilistic budget draft that he almost certainly didn't read.

Read the rest

Fair trade ebooks: how authors could double their royalties without costing their publishers a cent

My latest Publishers Weekly column announces the launch-date for my long-planned "Shut Up and Take My Money" ebook platform, which allows traditionally published authors to serve as retailers for their publishers, selling their ebooks direct to their fans and pocketing the 30% that Amazon would usually take, as well as the 25% the publisher gives back to them later in royalties. Read the rest

Pre-order my novel Walkaway and get a pocket multitool

Tor has produced a multitool to commemorate my forthcoming novel Walkaway, and if you pre-order the book, they'll send you one! Protip: pre-order from Barnes and Noble and you'll get a signed copy!

Read the rest

Triangle — a new book about some very sneaky shapes

Triangle is a rascally shape with a trick up his sleeve. Well, it would be, if he had any arms. Mac Barnett’s wily story and Jon Klassen’s eyes-tell-all illustrations make Triangle a really fun read-aloud for preschoolers, early elementary kids, and their adults.

Both the grown-ups and the kid in my house were eagerly awaiting this book — the latest collaboration between Barnett and Klassen. Both are crazy talented picture book makers who have consistently put out silly, thoughtful, beautiful books over the past few years, together and apart. This is the third book they’ve done as a duo (the previous two are Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, 2014, and Extra Yarn, 2012) and it feels a little different.

Aesthetically, in the tone of the text and the images, Triangle is much more reminiscent of Klassen’s Hat books than of Extra Yarn and Sam and Dave Dig a Hole. The main characters are shapes (keeping with Klassen’s typical non-human subjects) and the setting ranges from sparse snapshots to a simple yet stunning landscape of “shapes with no names.” (The brief traipse and chase through this land that lies between the neat, pointed places made of triangles and squares adds something magical to the book. That feeling is made even nicer when realizing that the magical place is the one most like our own.)

Amidst Klassen’s illustrations, Barnett’s voice is still quite present, especially in the dialogue. The reader can’t help but deliver Triangle's lines with a mischievous sneer and Square’s with a tight-throated hand wringing, and that despite the characters’ lack of mouths or hands. Read the rest

The exploration and expansion of gender: the 2016 Tiptree Awards for fantasy and science fiction

The 2016 winners of the James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award have been announced, top honors went to When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore, with further honors going to some of my favorite books of 2016: Seanan McGuire's Every Heart a Doorway, Ada Palmer's Too Like the Lightning, and Charlie Jane Anders' All the Birds in the Sky. Read the rest

Pie-Modding 101: turning store-bought desserts into amazing nerd-chow

For nearly a year, Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin (aka @ThePieous) has delighted us with her nerdy, fannish pies and other baked goods, and now she's announced an ebook on "pie-modding" ("modifying pre-made desserts to create epic, edible works of art"): Pie Modding: Pies Are Awesome Vol 1, which you can pre-order for $2.97. Read the rest

Amazon's #1 bestseller is a blank 266-page book titled "Reasons to vote for Democrats"

"Reasons to vote for Democrats" consists of 266 blank pages, a clever troll gift for all your left-leaning friends and family! But Republicans are so eager to stick it to their adversaries that they've paid a collective fortune to push it to the top of Amazon's bestseller list, inadvertently providing a rather convincing one. CNN reports that it's the same trick as Why Trump Deserves Trust, Respect and Admiration, published shortly after last year's election; a blank notebook is a dollar fifty shipped. Read the rest

Bunnie Huang's tour-de-force "Hardware Hacker" book is finally in print!

Last December, I published my review of Andrew "bunnie" Huang's astoundingly great book The Hardware Hacker: Adventures in Making and Breaking Hardware -- without realizing that the book's release had been delayed because the published decided to do some very fancy and cool stuff with the printing process. Read the rest

More posts