NK Jemisin wins a third, record-breaking best-novel Hugo Award

Last night's Hugo Awards ceremony featured a significant first: Nora Jemisin became the first novelist in science fiction history to win three consecutive Best Novel Hugos, once for each volume in her Broken Earth trilogy (the concluding volume, The Stone Sky, won last night's prize); in addition to the unprecedented honor, Jemisin had another first, with her acceptance speech, which may just be the best such speech in the field's history. Read the rest

Karl Schroeder's "The Million": a science fiction conspiracy novel of radically altered timescales

Karl Schroeder's 2014 novel Lockstep featured tour-de-force worldbuilding, even by the incredibly high standards of Karl Schroeder novels: the human race speciates into cold-sleeping cicadas who only wake for one day in ten, or a hundred, or a million, allowing them to traverse interstellar distances and survive on the meager energy and materials available in deep space; with his new novella The Million, Schroder shows us how Lockstep is lived on Earth, the cradle of the human species, where a brutal murder threatens to blow apart the life of a very out-of-step protagonist.

A gorgeous history of the mid-century modernism by Disney's finest illustrators of the 1950s

Didier Ghez is a dedicated Disney historian who has embarked on a massive, multi-volume history of the art of Disney in his They Drew As They Pleased series from Chronicle Books; I enjoyed the first three volumes of the series, but volume 4, The Hidden Art of Disney's Mid-Century Era: The 1950s took my breath away.

Bloom County's second reboot collection: the election of 2016 and beyond

When Donald Trump entered the election race, it brought Bloom County creator Berkeley Breathed out of a much-deserved retirement to lampoon Cheeto Hitler as only Milo, Opus, Bill and the gang could; the first collection chronicled the 2016 campaign, and a second collection, Brand Spanking New Day is a comic snapshot of one of the weirdest, worst years in living American memory.

Cat Wishes: a picture book about being a wish come true

Calista Brill is a legendary comics and picture-book editor, part of the powerhouse team at Firstsecond (she's my editor!), and with Cat Wishes, a picture book that's sweet and surprising, she shows just how well she understands the form she practices.

Strong Female Protagonist, Book Two: the hard philosophical questions of superheroism and compassion

It's been nearly four years since the first crowdfunded collection of Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag's webcomic Strong Female Protagonist was published; the second volume, published this week, traces not just the evolution of its protagonist, the superhero Alison "Mega Girl" Green, but of its creators, who have found new and amazing depths to plumb and heights to soar to.

WD40's new straws are pretty amazing

WD40 has replaced its traditional taped-on, easy-to-lose nozzle straws (so important for getting the slippery stuff into the stuck places) with a pair of new options: a "smart straw" that is permanently affixed and delivers either a focused beam or a wide blast, controlled by a thumb-button; and a poseable metal "EZ Reach" straw that you bend into the desired shape and then direct, allowing you to squirt into hard-to-reach, places around corners and behind obstacles. Read the rest

Vintage British travel posters improved with added fantasy monsters

Chet Phillips (creator of the Monster Zen book, the Steampunk Monkey Coloring Book and the Steampunk Monkey Cigarette Cards) sends us his Fantasy Travel Poster Series, "Paying tribute to vintage railway posters, this series re-imagines landscapes with fantasy elements such as giants, dragons, trolls and more." Read the rest

Kickstarting a gorgeous, thoughtfully designed hardcover notebooks for RPG campaigns

The Game Master's Tome & Player's Compendium are a pair of A5-sized, Moleskine-like notebook with custom interiors designed for RPG gamemasters and players, with 480 pages' worth of hex maps, worldbuilding note sections, character sheets, quest-notes, etc; the stretch-goals include more pages, paper edging, endpaper art, and larger sizes. Read the rest

Kickstarting an open digital microscope kit for public-spirited citizen science

The Community Microscope is a fully-funded, crowdfunded open source microscope hardware kit built around a digital camera: it costs $39 and snaps together in 15 minutes. Read the rest

Mother American Night: John Perry Barlow's posthumous memoir

John Perry Barlow lived many lives: small-time Wyoming Republican operative (and regional campaign director for Dick Cheney!), junior lyricist for the Grateful Dead, father-figure to John Kennedy Jr, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, inspirational culture hero for the likes of Aaron Swartz and Ed Snowden (and, not incidentally, me), semi-successful biofuels entrepreneur... He died this year, shortly after completing his memoir Mother American Night, and many commenters have noted that Barlow comes across as a kind of counterculture cyberculture Zelig, present at so many pivotal moments in our culture, and that's true, but that's not what I got from my read of the book -- instead, I came to know someone I counted as a friend much better, and realized that every flaw and very virtue he exhibited in his interpersonal dealings stemmed from the flaws and virtues of his relationship with himself.

David Graeber's "Bullshit Jobs": why does the economy sustain jobs that no one values?

David Graeber defined a "bullshit job" in his viral 2013 essay as jobs that no one -- not even the people doing them -- valued, and he clearly struck a chord: in the years since, Graeber, an anthropologist, has collected stories from people whose bullshit jobs inspired them to get in touch with him, and now he has synthesized all that data into a beautifully written, outrageous and thought-provoking book called, simply, Bullshit Jobs.

Pencil dice: a D6 in pencil form

Roll Sebastian Bergne's $3.33 pencil dice across the table to get a randomish value from 1-6. Useful for writing choose-your-own-adventures! (via Geekologie) Read the rest

Kickstarting a Trump Tower Collusion Meeting commemorative coin

John writes, "My partner, Valery Estabrook, is an artist who has started a Kickstarter for a project of limited edition coins based on actual historic events associated with the Trump administration. The first of these is a coin commemorating all the participants of the infamous Trump Tower Meeting with Don Jr." Coins are $15 and up! Read the rest

Turning the NSA's vintage internal security posters into t-shirts

Techdirt is in the throes of a two-part revelation: 1. the US government's works are public domain and can be freely commercialized, and; 2. many of the weird things that spy agencies make can be turned into ironic, cool, and sometimes fun and/or beautiful objects of commerce. Read the rest

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

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