Lent: Jo Walton's new novel is Dante's Groundhog Day

I love Hugo and Nebula-Award winner Jo Walton's science fiction and fantasy novels (previously) and that's why it was such a treat to inaugurate my new gig as an LA Times book reviewer with a review of her latest novel, Lent, a fictionalized retelling of the live of Savonarola, who reformed the Florentine church in the 1490s, opposing a corrupt Pope, who martyred him (except in Walton's book, and unbeknownst to Savonarola himself, Savonarola is a demon who is sent back to Hell when he is martyred, then returned to 1492 Florence to start over again). Read the rest

Last chance to back the Kickstarter for our interdisciplinary seminar series on censorship today and in the Renaissance

I have been collaborating with science fiction writer, singer, librettist and Renaissance scholar Ada Palmer and science historian and piracy expert Adrian Johns to put on a seminar series at the University of Chicago called Censorship & Information Control In Information Revolutions: every Friday, we gather a panel of interdisciplinary scholars to talk about parallels between censorship regimes during the Renaissance and the dawn of the printing press and the censorship systems that have arisen since in response to other new forms of information technology. Read the rest

Optical illusion tights and swim shorts give you the junk of Michaelangelo's David

The yoga pants are $42, and the swim shorts are $45; either one will turn you into a Renaissance hunk. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

Become a ruthless, noble lady in this 'Renaissance revenge simulator'

Your wealthy father and brother have been killed by distasteful schemers, and now you're to be married off to one of them. Can you plan your brutal revenge without arousing suspicion—while acting like a perfect courtly lady?

Run a Renaissance art guild in this Leonardo da Vinci simulator

If you've ever dreamed of being—or perhaps of micromanaging—the great artists of the Italian Renaissance, then it's time to play Painters Guild.