John Hodgman's last book, Vacationland, was a kind of absurdist memoir of a weird kid who'd grown up to the kind of self-aware grownup who really wanted to dig into how he got to where he was, with bone-dry wit and real heart (I compared it to Steve Martin's Cruel Shoes, but for adults who'd outgrown it); in his new book, Medallion Status: True Stories from Secret Rooms, Hodgman offers something much more uncomfortable (if no less funny), a series of vignettes that explore the hollowness of privilege, the toxicity of comparison, and the melancholy of accomplishment. Read the rest
Science fiction writer, essayist, and Macarthur "genius" Jonathan Lethem (previously) has excellent bona fides to write about Edward Snowden: not only has he helped make a short film about the Snowden leaks, he's also spent years on the right side of the fights over surveillance and free expression (and it doesn't hurt that he's an outstanding essayist). Read the rest
Void Golf is a free browser game by Cactusmancer. You fire rocks into black holes on a 2D starfield—think Asteroids meets Desert Golf— contending with (and exploiting) the gravitational attraction of celestial bodies in the way. It's simple, habitforming fun, imparted a relaxing vibe by its muted pixel art, spacey music and careful attention to detail. There's even a custom font by Eeve Somepx.
The billiard-ball physics are the point, and it offers an abundance of the merciless satisfaction that such games offer. Pocketing a tough one after a dozen hapless attempts is incredibly rewarding. That said, it's always too hard to precisely power shots and sometimes too easy to avoid the "puzzle" of each level. It doesn't save your progress, either, so familiarity comes quickly.
Annalee Newitz (previously) just published her second novel, The Future of Another Timeline, a madcap feminist time-travel novel that pits incel extremists who are trying to snuff out feminism before it can get started against a secret liberation army of feminists inspired by the (alternate history) Senator Harriett Tubman. Read the rest
Jen Wang (previously) is several kinds of excellent comics person: from her debut graphic novel Koko Be Good (a complex and heartfelt take on "manic pixie dream girls") to her award-winning, bestselling, brilliant genderqueer fairy tale The Prince and the Dressmaker, to In Real Life, the middle-grades comic she adapted from my story Anda's Game to the unmissably fantastic annual comics fair she started in LA, she is versatile, smart, compassionate and immensely talented. Now, in her latest, Stargazing, a semi-autobiographical graphic novel for young readers, she brings the action closer to home than ever, and yields up a tale of friendship, identity, talent and loyalty like no other. Read the rest
I will never forget the moment on June 9, 2013, when I watched a video of a skinny, serious, unshaven man named Edward Snowden introduce himself to the world as the source of a series of blockbuster revelations about US spy agencies' illegal surveillance of the global internet. Please, I thought, be safe. And Please, don't turn out to be an asshole. Read the rest
Since her stories started appearing in 2013, Sarah Pinsker (previously) has been a writer to watch, winning prestigious awards from the Nebula to the Sturgeon; now, in her debut novel, A Song For a New Day, Pinsker shows that she can write long-form work that's every bit as compelling, wrenching, sweet and angry as the stories that launched her career. Read the rest
My latest LA Times book review is for Naomi Klein's new essay collection, On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal, which traces more than a decade of Klein's outstanding, on-the-ground reports from the pivotal struggle to begin the transformational work needed to save our species and the rest of the Earth's living things from a devastating, eminently foreseeable, and ultimately avoidable climate catastrophe. Read the rest
Anna Merlan has made a distinguished journalistic career out of covering conspiracy theories, particularly far-right ones, for Gizmodo Media; her book-length account of conspiratorial thinking, Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power, is a superb tour not just through the conspiracies that have taken hold in American public discourse, but also in the real, often traumatic conspiracies that give these false beliefs a terrible ring of plausibility. Read the rest
Esme Pearl has a shitty life: she's seventeen, has only one real friend in the world, lives in a small Kansas town (and hates it), goes to high school, and is being raised by her traumatized father who can't bring himself to talk about the mental illness that has landed her mother in a locked psych ward since Esme was a little girl. Read the rest
This short set of Amazon reviews had me laughing out loud! Check out Amazon's bulk Cheez Whiz offer.
After the top rated review, the remarks purchasers make about their 39 POUNDS of Cheez Whiz are pretty great. I guess folks are surprised at just how much Cheez Whiz 39 pounds really is.
Top rated reviewer is a humorist, however Amazon does list him as a verified purchaser so ENJOY YOUR WHIZ, SIR!