The strange "No Frills" series of totally generic genre fiction books from the 1980s

The "No Frills" series was a collection of genre fiction paperbacks published by Jove Publishing in 1981 with plain covers, no author names, and maximally pulp plots. From Weird Universe:

Terry Bisson, who was one of the instigators of this project, reports:

Mystery was written by Clark Dimond, a men's mag editor/writer who also wrote for comics. The Romance was written by Judy Coyne (former Glamour mag editor) nee Wederholt The SF was written by John Silbersack, SF editor and now an agent. The Western was by Vic Milan (SF author) We were working on a No-Frills Besteller (by me) and A No-Frills movie (by film critic David Ansen) when the series was dropped. My partner selling the series was Lou Rosetto who went on to found WIRED magazine.

"No Frills Books" (Weird Universe)

More at this old post on Bill Crider's blog: "Forgotten Books -- Mystery" Read the rest

The Digital Public Library of America has re-released the Mueller Report as a well-formatted ebook instead of a crappy PDF

Back in April, Andrew Albanese from Publishers Weekly wrote a column deploring the abysmal formatting in the DoJ's release of the Mueller Report, and publicly requesting that the Digital Public Library of America produce well-formatted ebook editions, which they have now done! Read the rest

Federal lawsuit calls college textbook/ebook packages a "scam"

The Virginia Pirate Corporation is a startup that brokers sales of used textbooks at colleges; they're suing North Charleston, SC's Trident Technical College over its inclusion of textbook fees in tuition, meaning that students will have already paid for new textbooks when they pay their tuition. Read the rest

You can vote in the Children's History Book Prize!

You've got one week to vote in the Children's History Book Prize, whose nominees this year include Out of Left Field by Ellen Klages -- the third book in the Gordon Family Saga, which includes 2009's incomparable White Sands, Red Menace, a book that like a genderswapped, woke Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, with extra helpings of Cold War paranoia and terror, all wrapped up in poetic, Bradburian nostalgia. Read the rest

Kickstarting "Every Day," an anti-gun-violence comics anthology

A collection of comics all-stars (including Scott Snyder, Kelly Thompson, David Lafuente, Ariela Kristiantina, Jamal Igle, Devin Grayson, Joe Keatinge, Doselle Young, Marguerite Sauvage, Ron Marz, Stuart Moore, Shannon Wheeler, Steven Grant, Roger Langridge, Matt Miner, Ray Fawkes, CW Cooke, Alex de Campi, Carla Speed McNeil, Kelly Williams, Emma Beeby and more) come together for Every Day: An Anti-Gun Violence Comics Anthology to benefit The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and the Community Justice Reform Coalition; $10 gets you a digital download, $20 gets you a paperback, and if you're a retailer, there are bulk-buy packages so you can stock it in your store. (Thanks, Doselle!) Read the rest

Microsoft announces it will shut down ebook program and confiscate its customers' libraries

Microsoft has a DRM-locked ebook store that isn't making enough money, so they're shutting it down and taking away every book that every one of its customers acquired effective July 1. Read the rest

Chinese censors incinerate entire run of a kickstarted Call of Cthulhu RPG sourcebook

Julio writes, "Sons of the Singularity is a small RPG publisher. Last year, they kickstarted The Sassoon Files, a sourcebook for the popular Call of Cthulhu RPG and Trail of Cthulhu RPG. As a lot of publishers, theydid the printing in China. The same day that the print was finished, a Chinese Government decided that it was "problematic", so they burned the entire print run. Targeting foreign publications is a first, specially when it seems there wasn't anything problematic (the supplement was based on Shanghai but was respetful and documented carefully). Will this be a new sign of Beijing tightening its iron grip or just a show of bravado with a small publisher used as an example?" Read the rest

University of California system libraries break off negotiations with Elsevier, will no longer order their journals

Elsevier (previously) is one of the titans of academic and scientific publishing, a wildly profitable and politically potent corporation whose market dominance has allowed it to extract ever-larger sums from the universities whose researchers provide the vast majority of the material it publishes -- material it does not have to pay for, and in some cases, material it charges money to publish. Read the rest

Kickstarter Challenge: make an RPG-themed zine!

Inspired by the success of Judges' Guild, Kickstarter has launched Zine Quest, a challenge to crowdfund an RPG-themed zine ("must either contain an RPG or feature RPG-related content like maps, adventures, monsters, comics, articles, interviews, etc."); there's an impressive array of entrants already. Read the rest

Who can forget those scenes in Count Zero where they all stand around eating soup?

Back in the 1980s, the giant German sf publisher Heyne tried out an experimental partnership with a soup company Maggi (they're still around), and it was bonkers. Read the rest

Kickstarting a gorgeous slipcased edition of Crime & Punishment, illustrated by Dave McKean

The next tranche of Beehive Books' Illuminated Editions are being crowdfunded now: three gorgeous, slipcased, deluxe illustrated hardcovers, including a new edition of Crime & Punishment, illustrated by Dave McKean, well-known for his work on Sandman (he also did the original cover for my novel Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town); the books are $100 each, and are superb. The other two titles are The Blazing World, illustrated by Margaret Cavendish; and Peter Pan, illustrated by Brecht Evans. Read the rest

What is a "general strike," and is it time to have one?

A couple of days ago Teen Vogue published an article about "resistance, rebellion, and revolution" (see Cory's post about it). Today, Teen Vogue has another excellent article along the same lines. It's written by Kim Kelly and is called General Strikes, Explained. With the Trump Shutdown threatening to disrupt functioning society, it's a good time to read this.

A general strike is a labor action in which a significant amount of workers from a number of different industries who comprise a majority of the total labor force within a particular city, region, or country come together to take collective action. Organized strikes are generally called by labor union leadership, but they impact more than just those in the union. For example, imagine the scenario if thousands in your town or city — no matter what their job was or whether or not they were in a union — got together and decided to go on strike to protest police brutality, as happened in Oakland, California, in 2011, after Iraq veteran Scott Olsen was critically wounded by local police when they stormed the Occupy Oakland encampment. The community declared a daylong general strike that ultimately saw thousands of people shut down the Port of Oakland (which was more of a symbolic protest, but still it got the job done).

Image: MicroOne/Shutterstock Read the rest

Denver's legendary Tattered Cover bookstore "breaks up" with Audible

The Tattered Cover is one of the nation's great independent bookstores, ranking with New York's Strand, Portland's Powell's, and Salt Lake City's Weller Books; now in an open letter, the store has "broken up" with Amazon division Audible, the largest player in the audiobook market, citing the company's mandatory DRM, proprietary formats, algorithmic opacity, and diversion of local book sales into the pockets of distant investors in a massive, uncaring corporation. Read the rest

Kickstarting a monthly zine that celebrates 1923 works that entered the public domain this year

This month, for the first time in a generation, America's public domain grew, as the 20-year freeze created by the 1998 changes to copyright law finally thawed. Read the rest

Teen Vogue explainer: what are "resistance, rebellion, and revolution?"

Teen Vogue continues its excellent tradition of radical reporting with Lucy Diavolo's explainer on the definitions and relative merits and demerits of "resistance," "rebellion" and "revolution." Read the rest

Revealed! The cover of RADICALIZED, my next book of science fiction

On March 19, Tor Books will release my next book, Radicalized, whose four novellas are the angry, hopeful stories I wrote as part of my attempt to make sense of life in our current moment. Read the rest

Hugo Award nominations are open

If you attended the World Science Fiction Convention in San Jose last year, or if you're signed up to attend or support the next Worldcon in Dublin, Ireland, you're eligible to nominate for the Hugo Award; you should have received an email this week about it with a link to follow. Read the rest

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