Bryce Elder's epic Twitter thread finally reveals the one true tale of Bitcoin's genesis ("invented by Satoshi Nakamoto, a developer at Nintendo who mysteriously disappeared in the 1990s"); the environmental cost of Bitcoin ("whenever you give a hacker money he will upgrade his graphics card") and the story the mainstream media refuses to tell you ("You will have seen the recent plunge in the price of Bitcoin. This was triggered by Bolgakov last week upgrading to an NVidia GeForce® GTX 1080 Ti, which can play Quake III in max resolution at 60fps with all the lighting and textures enabled," which means, "Bolgakov has been playing Quake III and not buying any Bitcoin").
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Wildstorm started life as an independent, creator-owned comics universe of enormous verve and originality; following its acquisition by comics behemoth DC in 1998, it grew moribund, leading to its shuttering in 2010. Now it's back, in a revival helmed by Warren "Transmetropolitan" Ellis, who has reimagined the complex geopolitics of this paranoid superspy/shadow government/black ops world into a brutally fast-paced, dynamic tale that's full of real bad guys and ambiguous good guys who may or may not be trustworthy. The first six issues are collected in The Wild Storm Vol. 1
, out this week.
That science-fiction extravaganza Dune allegorizes contemporary themes of imperialism, economic addiction to oil, and religious war is obvious. But it turns out that Frank Herbert's masterpiece owes much to one book in particular: Lesley Blanch's brilliant, half-forgotten Sabres of Paradise, about the warlords of the Caucasus, where Europe and Asia meet.
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Anyone who has obsessed over the mythology of Dune will immediately recognize the language Herbert borrowed from Blanch’s work. Chakobsa, a Caucasian hunting language, becomes the language of a galactic diaspora in Herbert’s universe. Kanly, from a word for blood feud among the Islamic tribes of the Caucasus, signifies a vendetta between Dune’s great spacefaring dynasties. Kindjal, the personal weapon of the region’s Islamic warriors, becomes a knife favored by Herbert’s techno-aristocrats. As Blanch writes, “No Caucasian man was properly dressed without his kindjal.”
Herbert is ecumenical with his borrowing, lifting terminology and rituals from both sides of this obscure Central Asian conflict. When Paul Atreides, Dune’s youthful protagonist, is adopted by a desert tribe whose rituals and feuds bear a marked resemblance to the warrior culture of the Islamic Caucasus, he lives at the exotically named Sietch Tabr. Sietch and tabr are both words for camp borrowed from the Cossacks, the Czarist warrior caste who would become the great Christian antagonists of Shamyl’s Islamic holy warriors.
Herbert also lifted two of Dune’s most memorable lines directly from Blanch. While describing the Caucasians’ fondness for swordplay, Blanch writes, “To kill with the point lacked artistry.” In Dune, this becomes “[k]illing with the tip lacks artistry,” advice given to a young Paul Atreides by a loquacious weapons instructor.
Zack Smith writes, "With the film of SUICIDE SQUAD out Friday [ed: alas, it looks like a turkey], you might enjoy this oral history I did of the 1980s series with writer John Ostrander and most of the artistic and editorial team from throughout the book's run. Along with some fun surprises, it includes some never-before-seen script and original art pages from the creators' personal collections." Read the rest
In Medusa's Web
, fantasy grandmaster Tim Powers presents us with another of his amazing secret histories, this one of Rudolph Valentino. In this guest editorial, Powers -- author of many of Boing Boing's favorite novels, including the World Fantasy Award winning Last Call
, Hide Me Among the Graves
, and Dinner at Deviant's Palace
-- explains the genesis of his latest book, and takes us with him for his field-research.