As part of the renaissance in interest in the glorious science fiction novels of afrofuturist pioneer Octavia Butler (previously), Seven Stories press has just released a two-volume, slipcased set of Butler's fantastic post-apocalyptic adventure novels The Parable of the Sower (with an introduction by Gloria Steinem) and The Parable of the Talents (with an introduction by Toshi Reagon). Read the rest
The Crap Hound Big Book of Unhappiness is a 544-page compendium of vintage ads and archival ephemera selected and arranged by designer Sean Tejaratchi, publisher of the Crap Hound zine. I've been a huge fan of Sean's work for many years, and have every issue of Crap Hound. I made the video above to give you a taste of just how astounding this book is - it will provide a lifetime of browsing enjoyment.
Sean and the publisher Feral House, kindly gave me permission to several spreads from the book.
In Artificial Condition, Martha Well's soap opera loving rogue security AI remains cantankerous and awesome.
Murderbot is an AI security robot with a busted autonomy regulator. So long as they can keep the regulator a secret, they can remain fully aware and independent. Mostly they want to watch soap operas. Soap operas and to be left the hell alone.
I absolutely adore Murderbot. Murderbot wants quality time on their own.
In the second installment Murderbot sets out to learn about the event from which they named themselves, wherein many humans died and their AI regulator was broken. Murderbot has no direct recollection of what went on and believes this knowledge will change everything.
Murderbot teams up with an AI research ship named ART and heads off to the mining colony where it all went down.
Inspired by Marx's aphorism that "Religion is the opium of the people," the USSR commissioned a wealth of anti-religious artwork, much of it very clever and striking. A new book called Godless Utopia: Soviet Anti-Religious Propaganda, edited by Roland Elliott Brown, Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell collects the most striking examples of the form. The Guardian has a tremendous gallery of excerpts from the book. Read the rest
Naomi Wolf's formerly forthcoming book, "Outrages", is about the emergence of homosexuality as a concept and its criminalization in 19th-century England. When review copies went out, though, a serious problem emerged for its claim that many gay men were sent to the gallows by Victorian judges: they were alive after their supposed executions. Wolf had misunderstood the legal term "death was recorded" (which actually means they were pardoned), failed to realize that child rape was also charged as "sodomy" (thereby accounting for some actual executions), and the resulting lack of verifiably gay corpses threatened the book's thesis. The book was temporarily withdrawn for revisions. Four months on, however, the publisher is cutting it loose.
In June, days before the book was expected to go on sale in the United States, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt postponed the publication and recalled copies from retailers, an unusual and costly move. The publisher said at the time that “new questions have arisen that require more time to explore.” Now, it has pulled the book altogether.
On Monday, a spokeswoman for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said in an email that Ms. Wolf and the publisher “mutually and amicably agreed to part company.”
This suggests the book can't be rescued as credible nonfiction, a common outcome for attempts to contemporize historical interactions between sexuality and society. But Wolf's been on thin ice a long time and has few defenders. Read the rest
Emily Wilson is the author of a new "lean, fleet-footed translation" of Homer's Odyssey that "recaptures Homer's 'nimble gallop.'" Read the rest
John Hodgman's last book, Vacationland, was a kind of absurdist memoir of a weird kid who'd grown up to the kind of self-aware grownup who really wanted to dig into how he got to where he was, with bone-dry wit and real heart (I compared it to Steve Martin's Cruel Shoes, but for adults who'd outgrown it); in his new book, Medallion Status: True Stories from Secret Rooms, Hodgman offers something much more uncomfortable (if no less funny), a series of vignettes that explore the hollowness of privilege, the toxicity of comparison, and the melancholy of accomplishment. Read the rest
Josh O'Neill writes, "We're doing a box set edition of Dracula in which we reconstitute the novel into the primary source documents from which it's drawn: Mina's diary, Lucy's letters, Dailygraph newspaper clippings, even an actual phonograph record from Dr. Seward. It comes in a suitcase. Or a wooden casket or stone crypt, depending on the edition." Read the rest
Greg from the Free Software Foundation writes, "Celebrate Saturday's International Day Against DRM with this shareable "dead tree" book dust jacket!" Read the rest
Sophie Foster thought she was human pre-teen. Sophie loved her family and her pet cat. She had no idea that in reality she was a genetically tweaked elf with super super-powers! Ever since she found out things have been off the hook bad, but somehow she perseveres. No matter how bad it gets, Sophie rises to the occasion and then it gets worse.
After nearly destroying the Ogre capitol city in the last book,Lodestar picks up with one of Sophie's best friends, and budding love interests, betraying the cause and joining with the bad guys. He claims to be doing it for Sophie, and all living creates, but his Mom was the leader of the baddies and who knows what he is really up to!
Sophie makes ridiculous decisions about who to trust and why. Much like W, she goes with her gut.
Destroying the elf school where elf kids all learn their magical powers is just a start. Torture, immolation and wanton destruction follow as Lodestar leaves Sophie with little new information and several fewer people she can trust.
More parents and parental figures lie to Sophie than die on her in book 5, so there is that.
The novels are dancing towards Sophie picking a boyfriend! This seems to be momentous and cruel as elves apparently pick only once and are immortal. Big choice for a 12 or 13-year-old being constantly flirted with by every remotely age-appropriate boy. Read the rest
From The Verge:
While Monteiro says he’s sold over 10,000 copies of the book so far, only 150 paperbacks have been printed since he changed the cover, which isn’t a lot of opportunities for it to catch the right person’s eye.
Monteiro says he was working on some union organizing when he came up with the idea: “We were discussing how to get messages in front of people and I realized ‘Oh, huh. I have this thing that Amazon workers see every time a book gets ordered. Let’s put a message there.’”
Read the rest
Every time you buy my book from Amazon, a warehouse worker has to pull it off the shelf. From now on, this is what that worker will see. At least until Amazon shitcans the whole thing. Hurry up. https://t.co/l5jxdz1azW pic.twitter.com/DqWZT5MI9q— Mike Monteiro (@monteiro) October 4, 2019