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‘books’ Archives

15 Dangerously Mad Projects for the Evil Genius

15 Dangerously Mad Projects for the Evil Genius

A few months ago I had fun playing with Simon Monk's 30 Arduino Projects for the Evil Genius, and noticed that his 15 Dangerously Mad Projects included a coil gun... and I've always wanted to make a coil gun! Since the coil is wrapped around the tube from a plastic pen, and the iron projectile is inside the tube, it will fly along towards the [...]

Understanding Lenses: The Book

Understanding Lenses: The Book

The wonderful photographer and writer NKG writes: As photographers and geeks we tend to obsess about the products we buy. Countless hours are spent poring over catalogues, reading reviews, arguing in forums. All to find the perfect camera. There's just one thing missing here: the /lens/ is also a key part in creating high-quality images. But [...]

“Ready Player One” and “The Freedom Maze” win the Prometheus Award for best novel

“Ready Player One” and “The Freedom Maze” win the Prometheus Award for best novel

Congratulations to Ernie Cline for winning the 2012 Prometheus Award for Best Novel! His book, Ready Player One, shared the prize with The Freedom Maze, by Delia Sherman. Both Cline and Sherman will receive one-ounce gold coins (what else would you expect from the Libertarian Futurist Society?). Delia Sherman's young-adult fantasy novel focuses [...]

What “Fifty Shades of Grey is badly written” is really code for

What “Fifty Shades of Grey is badly written” is really code for

Laurie Penny has a spirited defense of Fifty Shades of Grey, a best selling pornographic novel that started out as Twilight fanfic ("quite good, quite detailed descriptions of sex written from the point of view of a woman who seemed to be really enjoying herself") and looks at the gender issues and double standards lurking in the widespread [...]

What Exactly is “50 Shades of Grey” (and What Can You Expect From the Movie)?

What Exactly is “50 Shades of Grey” (and What Can You Expect From the Movie)?

So what’s this "50 Shades of Grey" thing you keep seeing everywhere? Women all around you are reading it — ladies on the bus, that khaki-pantsed woman clutching her pearls in the coffee shop, your mom. And now they’re making it into a movie. Lucky for you, I read this thing so you don’t have to. "50 Shades of Grey," for the [...]

The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money

The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money

I read a review for The Behavior Gap... Would you take financial advice from a cocktail napkin sketch? Well, it depends on who is sketching. If it’s your brother-in-law, who likes to boast about how he “almost” made a killing investing in Google stock, then the advice is probably not worth the paper it’s on. But if it happens to be [...]

QR Markham’s plagiarized spy thriller didn’t stop being good when he was caught

QR Markham’s plagiarized spy thriller didn’t stop being good when he was caught

Debutante plagiarist Q.R. Markham's temporarily-lauded spy thriller, Assassin of Secrets, is in fact a string of passages lifted from other books in the genre. No-one noticed until it was released, at which time readers noticed at once. The book's been recalled by publisher Little, Brown, whose president, Michael Pietsch, apologized in a [...]

Third Person Effect: An excerpt from You Are Not So Smart

Third Person Effect: An excerpt from You Are Not So Smart

The Third Person Effect, an excerpt from the new book You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself, by David McRaney The Misconception: You believe your opinions and decisions are based on experience and facts, while those who disagree with you are [...]

The Homeland Directive: Taut technothriller for the paranoid era

The Homeland Directive: Taut technothriller for the paranoid era

Robert Venditti and Mike Huddleston's stand-alone graphic novel The Homeland Directiveis a tight, suspenseful technothriller (in Bruce Sterling's definition of the term: "a science fiction story with the president in it"). Mysterious government spooks are hunting a pair of CDC epidemiologists. One is murdered, the other, Dr Laura Regan, is framed [...]

Adventures in self-publishing: Why I took a year’s work and tried my hardest to give it away

Adventures in self-publishing: Why I took a year’s work and tried my hardest to give it away

When John F. Kennedy was asked how he became a war hero, he’s supposed to have replied: “It was involuntary. They sank my boat.” That’s how I became a self-published novelist: A large number of New York publishers rejected Thanks for Killing Me, my spiky little crime novel about the aftermath of a con gone wrong. They did so for an [...]

Steve Jobs, the movie

Steve Jobs, the movie

The publication of Walter Isaacson's highly-anticipated, authorized bio of Steve Jobs, formerly titled iSteve (like iWoz?) and now titled, er, Steve Jobs, has been moved up to October 24 and Sony Pictures is reportedly buying the movie rights. (more…)

Pratchett’s Snuff: A rural/nautical tale of drawing-room gentility, racism, & justice

Pratchett’s Snuff: A rural/nautical tale of drawing-room gentility, racism, & justice

Snuff, Terry Pratchett's latest Discworld novel is an absolute treat, as per usual. It's a Sam Vimes book (there are many recurring characters in the Discworld series, whose life stories intermingle, braid and diverge -- Sam Vimes is an ex-alcoholic police chief who has married into nobility) and that means that it's going to be a story about [...]

How Mark Boyle Lives on $0 a Year

How Mark Boyle Lives on $0 a Year

Decent review of the book Moneyless Man: A Year of Freeconomics Living, by Mark Boyle... In 2008 Mark Boyle decided to try living for a year without money. His self-imposed rules were simple: he would close his bank account and not spend or receive money (including checks and credit cards). He would live off-grid—that meant he would produce his [...]

Lewis Shiner’s new suspense novel DARK TANGOS as a free download; the action-packed, ugly history of Argentina

Lewis Shiner’s new suspense novel DARK TANGOS as a free download; the action-packed, ugly history of Argentina

Lewis Shiner (one of my favorite writers!) says, "My latest suspense novel, DARK TANGOS, is now available as a free PDF download from the Fiction Liberation Front website. The starred review from BOOKLIST said, 'Delivers its grim story line with artistic mastery....Short and precise, the novel uses the elegance of tango to radiate sensuality [...]

John Landis: Monsters In The Movies

John Landis: Monsters In The Movies

Filmmaker John Landis, director of the classic An American Werewolf in London and a slew of other great films, is a connoisseur of monster movies. In fact, he has just written a history book on the subject, titled Monsters In The Movies: 100 Years of Cinematic Nightmares, with chapters on vampires, werewolves, space monsters, and, yes, zombies, [...]

Zahra’s Paradise: A graphic novel about Iranian uprising is a story and a history

Zahra’s Paradise: A graphic novel about Iranian uprising is a story and a history

Zahra's Paradise, a new book from FirstSecond, collects in one volume the serialized (and brilliant) webcomic, written by two pseudonymous Iranian dissidents. It's the gripping story of a Medhi, a young man kidnapped by Iran's secret police during the election-season demonstrations of 2009, and it is a heart-rending tale of loss, hope, technology, [...]

Feynman: A comic biography of an iconoclastic physicist

Feynman: A comic biography of an iconoclastic physicist

Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick's Feynman is an affectionate and inspiring comic biography of the legendary iconoclastic physicist Richard Feynman. I've reviewed Ottaviani before (I really liked T-Minus, a history of the Apollo program, as well as his Dignifying Science: Stories About Women Scientists) and I expected great things from Feynman. I [...]

Ready Player One: The best science fiction novel I’ve read in a decade

Ready Player One: The best science fiction novel I’ve read in a decade

It seems like every decade or so a science fiction novel comes along that sends a lightning bolt through my nervous system: Philip Jose Farmer’s To Your Scattered Bodies Go (1971). William Gibson’s Neuromancer (1984). Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash (1992). Cory Doctorow’s Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (2003). And I recently discovered [...]

You are Here by Colin Ellard

You are Here by Colin Ellard

We live in a world crowded by street signs and arrows. With the click of a computer mouse we can find exact directions to just about anywhere on earth, and with a hand-held GPS we can find our precise latitude and longitude, even in the remotest of places. But despite all our advancements, we still get lost in the mall, can’t follow directions [...]

Deeper look at why prices end in .99

Deeper look at why prices end in .99

The companion site for the book Life’s Little Mysteries: Answers to Fascinating Questions About the World Around You has a short post summarizing why most prices end with .99. Of course, there’s the obvious “psychological pricing” reason that when a shopper sees something that costs $5.99, the .99 is subconsciously ignored, making the item [...]

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