Complex 90: Mickey Spillane’s lost thriller (exclusive excerpt)

Below, an excerpt from Mickey Spillane’s lost Mike Hammer Cold War thriller, Complex 90, finished by Max Allan Collins.

Mickey Spillane’s lost Mike Hammer Cold War thriller, completed by his friend and literary executor Max Allan Collins is finally making it to print for the first time. Though the crime novel had been announced for publication in the 1960s, Complex 90 never appeared…until now.

"Mickey Spillane has been a huge part of my private and professional life since childhood. He was the role model that led me into mystery," says Collins. "We became friends in the early 1980s...Over the years, Mickey entrusted me with numerous unpublished manuscripts, including two half-completed Mike Hammer novels. Shortly before his death, he said to his wife, Jane, 'When I'm gone, it will be a treasure hunt around here. Call Max -- he'll know what to do with what you find.'"

“The setting [in Complex 90] is 1964 and the novel is, in part, a sequel to the Mike Hammer comeback novel of 1961, The Girl Hunters, the film version of which starred Mickey Spillane himself. While reading this novel,” says Collins, “you are encouraged to picture Mike Hammer in just that way.”

Hammer accompanies a conservative politician to Moscow on a fact-finding mission. Arrested and imprisoned by the KGB on a bogus charge; he quickly escapes, creating an international incident by getting into a fire fight with Russian agents. On his stateside return, the government is none too happy with Hammer. Russia is insisting upon his return to stand charges, and various government agencies are following him.

Read the rest

10 Tips from Boing Boing on making online content sing

Fast Company excerpted a chapter from a new book, The Art of Doing: How Superachievers Do What They Do and How They Do It So Well, by Camille Sweeney and Josh Gosfield. The chapter is an interview with me about what I've learned so far about writing for a blog.

5. Don’t waste people’s time. People are busy. They resent it when you waste their time. When the reader comes to our site, they’re not going to land on a post that says, “This is amazing,” and forces you to click on the link. Our posts explain what’s important about what you’re reading and why. It may be tempting to write cute headlines but the most important function of a headline is to sum up what the post is about. If you’ve developed a trust with your readers that they’ll get good value for the time they invest in visiting your site, they’ll be back.

Camille and Josh interviewed a bunch of other people for the book, including: Laura Linney (How to act), Cesar Millan (How to be a dog whisperer), Ken Jennings (How to be a game show champion), Alec Baldwin and Robert Carlock (How to be funny on TV), Will Shortz (How to create a mind-bending crossword puzzle), Jill Tarter (How to find extraterrestrial life), Ed Rosenthal (How to grow killer weed), Stephen Dubner (How to write a runaway bestseller). I'm interviewing Camille and Josh about The Art of Doing next week on Gweek.

10 Tips From Boing Boing on making online content sing | Buy The Art of Doing Read the rest

Bend, Not Break, by Ping Fu - exclusive excerpt

Here's a sneak preview of Ping Fu's forthcoming book, Bend, Not Break.

Ping Fu knows what it’s like to be a child soldier, a factory worker, and a political prisoner. To be beaten and raped for the crime of being born into a well-educated family. To be deported with barely enough money for a plane ticket to a bewildering new land. To start all over, without family or friends, as a maid, waitress, and student.

Ping Fu also knows what it’s like to be a pioneering software programmer, an innovator, a CEO, and Inc. magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year. To be a friend and mentor to some of the best-known names in tech­nology. To build some of the coolest new products in the world. To give speeches that inspire huge crowds. To meet and advise the president of the United States.

It sounds too unbelievable for fiction, but this is the true story of a life in two worlds.

Born on the eve of China’s Cultural Revolution, Ping was separated from her family at the age of eight. She grew up fighting hunger and humiliation and shielding her younger sister from the teenagers in Mao’s Red Guard. At twenty-five, she found her way to the United States; her only resources were $80 in traveler’s checks and three phrases of English: thank you, hello, and help.

Yet Ping persevered, and the hard-won lessons of her childhood guided her to success in her new home­land. Aided by her well-honed survival instincts, a few good friends, and the kindness of strangers, she grew into someone she never thought she’d be—a strong, independent, entrepreneurial leader.

Read the rest

Tears in Rain

Here's an excerpt from Spanish author Rosa Montero's "techno-human nail-biter" Tears in Rain, which is set in a post Blade Runner world.

Death is inevitable. Especially when you have an expiration date.

As a replicant, or “techno-human,” Detective Bruna Husky knows two things: humans bioengineered her to perform dangerous, undesirable tasks; and she has just ten years on the United States of Earth before her body automatically self-destructs. But with “anti-techno” rage on the rise and a rash of premature deaths striking her fellow replicants, she may have even less time than she originally thought.

Investigating the mysterious deaths, Bruna delves into the fractious, violent history shared by humans and replicants, and struggles to engage the society that fails to understand her—yet created her. The deeper she gets, the deadlier her work becomes as she uncovers a vast, terrifying conspiracy bent on changing the very course of the world. But even as the darkness of her reality closes in, Bruna clings fiercely to life.

Read the rest

Do we need to talk about climate change, in order to talk about energy?

This is one thing that changed for me during the course of researching and writing Before the Lights Go Out, my upcoming book about the future of energy. I used to approach conversations about energy from a climate-centric perspective. First, I have to help people understand the science of climate change and get them past the misinformation and blatant lies surrounding that issue. THEN, we could talk about energy solutions.

But now I think that perspective is dead wrong.

Polls show that a majority of Americans want to change the way we make and use energy. What we disagree on is why that change needs to happen. The good news: We don't have to agree on the "whys" to reach the same solutions.

My book comes out April 10th, but you can read the introduction online now. It'll give you a better idea about why I think that climate change—important as it is—is not the only way to engage Americans on energy issues.

“Climate change is a lie.” The man leaned back in his chair and folded his arms over his chest. “Climate change is a lie,” he said again. “It’s just something made up by environmentalists to scare us.”

I heard this story a few years after it actually happened, from Eileen Horn, one of the environmentalists who watched this man’s speech from the other side of a two-way mirror. At the time, Horn and her colleagues were about to launch a new nonprofit organization called the Climate and Energy Project (CEP), an environmental activism group based in the state of Kansas.

Read the rest

Tom Gauld's Goliath: exclusive excerpt

As reviewed in Gweek - Tom Gauld's tragic, darkly funny retelling of David and Goliath from Goliath's perspective. Gauld's work is always quietly powerful and emotionally grabbing. Here's a seven-page taste of the new graphic novel, which is presented in a beautiful hardcover format from Drawn & Quarterly

Buy Goliath on Amazon

Read the rest

The Year Before The Flood: The Ponderosa Stomp

How can my two weeks of guest boinging be over already? I was just starting to get my blog on, and now it's time to bail. Thanks to Rob, and big big thanks to Xeni. I'll drop one last excerpt of the book on my way out the door. The Year Before The Flood replays the last year the city of New Orleans was whole, 2004-05. As such, it's about the way time passes in the city. (My previous book, The World that Made New Orleans, was about the unique space of the "Crescent City"; constrained from expanding by the swamp, New Orleans was dense and urban from early on.)

The party schedule gets intense. I write elsewhere in the book that New Orleans is "ruled by the year-long cyclical rhythm of festivals, saints' days, parties, and holidays. To relax in between, and to pay for everything, you have a job. It's a relief to go back to work after a big weekend." There's always another Sunday parade coming up. The whole year is modulated by the crescendo toward Mardi Gras, but then come what I heard a WWOZ announcer refer to as "the high holy days between Mardi Gras and Jazzfest."

It's something of a cliché that the past is always present in New Orleans. I used to think that was an overly romantic notion, even as I could feel its truth. Then I learned that cultural historians have a word for this: chronotope, which refers (among other things) to a community's concept of time. Read the rest

The Year Before the Flood: Idelber's Accident

(Boing Boing guestblogger Ned Sublette is a writer, historian, photographer, and singer-songwriter who lives in New York City.)

Excerpt from The Year Before The Flood

To hear me reading this excerpt (in a shout, as I tend to do in clubs) at Joe's Pub, click here. Oh, and if you want to get on my e-mail list, send an e-mail saying "subscribe" to ned.sublette at

Fully conscious and quite annoyed, Idelber was lying on the sidewalk on Magazine Street, bleeding from a long window-glass cut on the side of his head. It looked dramatic, but he wasn't badly hurt.

You can easily get creamed driving across Magazine. You have to creep way out into the street until you can see around the parked cars. Then you have to look both ways and go! In the time it took Idelber to look left and right and turn onto the street, an SUV came barrelling down the road from behind the phalanx of parked cars, outside his field of vision. It was going at least fifty when it made impact over Idelber's left front tire. Had he started out from the intersection a half-second earlier, he would probably have been dead. Read the rest