Exclusive preview: Brian Wood's Sword Daughter

The Forty Swords arrive at night and, under the cover of darkness, murder an entire village. Only two people survive the slaughter: the infant Elsbeth and her grief-stricken father, Dag​, who slips into a ten year coma. He awakens to find that not only has his daughter grown up alone, she's thrived​ despite him. Read the rest

John Perry Barlow's memoir, finished weeks before his death, is out

EFF co-founder, Grateful Dead lyricist and mayor of the internet John Perry Barlow died in February and left an unfillable hole. Read the rest

Bandwidth: science fiction thriller about networks of power and the power of networks

Eliot Peper's novel Bandwidth is a global technothriller that pits the barons of a world-spanning networking monopoly against the hydrocarbon barons who've manipulated the world's politics to let them go on boiling the world in its own emissions, and the lobbyists and shadowy resistance fighters who play them off against each other.

Germany's scientific texts were made free during and after WWII; analyzing them today shows the negative effect of paywalls on science

In 1942, the US Book Republication Program permitted American publishers to reprint "exact reproductions" of Germany's scientific texts without payment; seventy-five years later, the fate of this scientific knowledge forms the basis of a "natural experiment" analysed by Barbara Biasi and Petra Moser for The Center for Economic and Policy Research, who compare the fate of these texts to their contemporaries who didn't have this semi-public-domain existence. Read the rest

Kickstarting Dream Askew and Dream Apart, no-dice, no-GM RPGs about radical justice, queers and Jewish shtetl life

Dream Askew and Dream Apart are "no-dice, no masters" RPGs where players collaborate to tell stories together without dice or dungeon masters: Dream Askew uses the system to create campaigns in "a queer enclave enduring the collapse of civilization" and Dream Apart is set in "a Jewish shtetl in a fantastical-historical Eastern Europe." Read the rest

All Rights Reserved: a YA dystopia where every word is copyrighted

In Gregory Scott Katsoulis's All Rights Reserved, we get all the traditional trappings of a first-rate YA dystopia: grotesque wealth disparity leading to a modern caste system, draconian surveillance to effect social control in an inherently unstable state, ad-driven ubiquitous entertainment as the only distraction from environmental collapse -- but with an important difference.

John Hodgman's outstanding Vacationland: now in paperback!

I found John Hodgman's Vacationland to be a genuinely moving and hilarious read; and it has stuck with me in the year since its hardcover release -- now it's out in paperback, and Hodgman is touring with it. Read the rest

Bill Gates suggests these five books for summer reading

For your summer reading pleasure, Bill Gates recommends:

• “Leonardo da Vinci” by Walter Isaacson

• “Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved” by Kate Bowler

• “Lincoln in the Bardo” by George Saunders

• “Origin Story: A Big History of Everything” by David Christian

• “Factfulness” by Hans Rosling with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Ronnlund

Read the rest

Thoughtful, devastating critique of Jordan Peterson's "12 Rules for Life"

Jordan Peterson is really easy to make fun of -- what with the mystical nonsense and the pseudoscientific evolutionary biology -- but there are millions of (largely white, largely young, largely male) readers who've found his "12 Rules for Life" to be a balm for their souls and a rallying cry for a movement that has legitimized the most murderous strains of toxic masculinity. Read the rest

The paperback of Walkaway is out today, along with reissues of all my adult novels in matching covers!

Today marks the release of the paperback of Walkaway, along with reissues of my five other adult novels, all in matching covers designed by the incredible Will Stahle (and if ebooks are your thing, check out my fair-trade ebook store, where you can get all my audiobooks and ebooks sold on the same terms as physical editions, with no DRM and no license agreements!). Read the rest

Congrats to the 2017 Nebula Award winners!

The 2017 Nebula Awards, presented by the Science Fiction Writers of America, were announced last night, with a sweep in the main literary categories by women: Best Novel, The Stone Sky by NK Jemisin; Best Novella, All Systems Red by Martha Wells; Best Novelette, A Human Stain by Kelly Robson; Best Short Story, Welcome to Your Authentic Indian ExperienceTM, by Rebecca Roanhorse; Best Dramatic Presentation, Get Out; and the Andre Norton YA prize went to The Art of Starving by Sam J Miller. Read the rest

Tom Wolfe, pioneering "New Journalist" and novelist, RIP

Tom Wolfe, the highly influential journalist at Rolling Stone and Esquire and author of such fantastic works as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, and The Bonfire of the Vanities, has died at age 88. From the New York Times:

In his use of novelistic techniques in his nonfiction, Mr. Wolfe, beginning in the 1960s, helped create the enormously influential hybrid known as the New Journalism...

His talent as a writer and caricaturist was evident from the start in his verbal pyrotechnics and perfect mimicry of speech patterns, his meticulous reporting, and his creative use of pop language and explosive punctuation.

“As a titlist of flamboyance he is without peer in the Western world,” Joseph Epstein wrote in the The New Republic. “His prose style is normally shotgun baroque, sometimes edging over into machine-gun rococo, as in his article on Las Vegas which begins by repeating the word ‘hernia’ 57 times.”

William F. Buckley Jr., writing in National Review, put it more simply: “He is probably the most skillful writer in America — I mean by that he can do more things with words than anyone else.”

Image: White House Photo by Susan Sterner Read the rest

I could not put down Tom Miller's 'The Philosopher's Flight'

Magic is barely understood science in Tom Miller's The Philosopher's Flight. A United States engaged in the early days of World War II both eagerly adopts Philosophy as everyday technology, while rejecting the few able to use this magic in as the United States always does. Read the rest

Exit West: beautifully wrought novel about refugees, mobility and borders

Mohsin Hamid's Exit West is a science fiction novel with a simple, allegorical premise: what if the poor, oppressed, and alienated could simply vanish through mysterious doorways and emerge somewhere else?

This Yoda bookend, strong the Force is

It appears that Jedi Master Yoda is holding up the books using the Force, but it's really just a strategically-placed metal bar which holds up the first book that gives that illusion.

You can buy this Yoda bookend for $19.95 from Hallmark, of all places.

(The Awesomer, reddit) Read the rest

The Handbook of Tyranny: stark infographics on human cruelty

Handbook of Tyranny tells the story of human cruelty in a series of beautifully designed inforgraphics, like this chart showing methods of crowd control. Read the rest

Humble Bundle Nebula Showcase: great, DRM-free science fiction, benifitting the Science Fiction Writers of America

The latest Humble Bundle features dozens of Nebula-winning and Nebula-nominated novels and short stories from past and present, everyone from Octavia Butler and Ursula K Leguin to Samuel Delany and John Brunner, to say nothing of Kate Wilhelm, Joanna Russ, and four titles from Serial Box. Read the rest

More posts