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‘books’ Archives

Shades of Milk and Honey: Kowal’s debut novel is a drawing-room romance with magic and art

Shades of Milk and Honey: Kowal’s debut novel is a drawing-room romance with magic and art

Shades of Milk and Honey is the hotly anticipated debut novel from Mary Robinette Kowal, who has already made a name for herself in science fiction with a series out outstanding short stories. It's a Regency drawing-room romance, told in pitch-perfect style, with one important difference: these mannered and well-bred nobles are able to do [...]

Smoke bomb ingredient: potassium nitrate (aka saltpeter)

Smoke bomb ingredient: potassium nitrate (aka saltpeter)

I learned how to make smoke bombs when I was 12 by reading a recipe in Abbie Hoffman's Steal This Book. The recipe calls for two ingredients: ordinary sugar and potassium nitrate (also known as saltpeter). In those days I was able to buy potassium nitrate from the pharmacy at K-Mart in Boulder, Colorado. Here's Hoffman's recipe: SMOKE [...]

Notes on the upcoming monster-sized authorized Heinlein biography

Notes on the upcoming monster-sized authorized Heinlein biography

Over on Tor.com, Patrick Nielsen Hayden has some notes on the upcoming monster authorized Heinlein biography, whose first volume, Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century: Volume 1 (1907-1948): Learning Curve goes on sale on August 17th. I've been ploughing through my advance copy as quickly as I can. It's exhaustive and often [...]

Extreme caving: Months in the dark

Extreme caving: Months in the dark

Jason Zasky interviews James M. Tabor, author of Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth , a book about extreme caving, the kind of thing that sends you underground for months at a time in freezing conditions, buffeted by 60mph winds, rappelling using special gear (including re-reathers that let you breathe your own [...]

Ian McDonald’s DERVISH HOUSE: A superb novel of the mystical nano future of Istanbul

Ian McDonald’s DERVISH HOUSE: A superb novel of the mystical nano future of Istanbul

I've just finished Ian McDonald's new novel, The Dervish House. I know what to expect from Ian McDonald: broad vistas, intricately imagined futures, poetic language that transports and delights, a blend of mysticism and science that thrills and moves. But no matter how much foreknowledge I bring to a new Ian McDonald, I am always, always [...]

Gail Dines’ truth about the porn industry

Gail Dines’ truth about the porn industry

The answer is simple: LEGALIZE PROSTITUTION... but keep pimping illegal. Prostitution collectives run in democratically communal manners, like most hair salons, with private free market security forces (e.g., Xe) or paid bouncers. If men could just go sex crazy, easy capitalist whores, then porn would slowly die out, and then the [...]

Tom Woods’s Nullification: How To Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century

Tom Woods’s Nullification: How To Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century

Citizens across the country are fed up with the politicians in Washington telling us how to live our lives—and then sticking us with the bill. But what can we do? Actually, we can just say “no.” As New York Times bestselling author Thomas E. Woods, Jr., explains, “nullification” allows states to reject unconstitutional federal laws. For [...]

Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, Steven Levy interviewed by Dale Dougherty

Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, Steven Levy interviewed by Dale Dougherty

At O'Reilly Media's FOO Camp this weekend, BB pal Dale Dougherty, founder of MAKE:, interviewed Steven Levy about his seminal 1984 book Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution. The book was just republished by O'Reilly in a 25th Anniversary Edition. If you haven't read it yet, Hackers is a terrific telling of how the DIY mindset (and of [...]

Pornucopia: A 1989 Piers Anthony porn novel

Pornucopia: A 1989 Piers Anthony porn novel

Did you know that science fiction author Piers Anthony — best known for writing the Xanth series — also wrote porn? According to his web site, he has written two adults-only erotic novels, Pornucopia and The Magic Fart. The subject of Pornucopia came up last night; that it's about a guy whose superpower is the immunity to venereal disease. [...]

Kathe Koja’s novel THE CIPHER to be a film

Kathe Koja’s novel THE CIPHER to be a film

Hooray! Kathe Koja's classic debut novel The Cipher has gone into development as a feature film, entitled "The Muse." No further details yet, but Cipher was one of those lavish, frightening, erotic novels that you never forget. This is stellar news. The Cipher

Grossman’s subversive fantasy: The Magicians

Grossman’s subversive fantasy: The Magicians

Lev Grossman's extraordinary and subversive fantasy novel, The Magicians, has been released in paperback... This is a familiar-sounding setup, but Grossman's extremely clever hack on the fantasy novel is in his complete lack of sentimentality about magic. Quentin has lived his whole life waiting to be taken to an imaginary magic kingdom [...]

Fish: Kids pirate adventure book is great for adults too

Fish: Kids pirate adventure book is great for adults too

Fish is Popular Science writer Gregory Mone's debut young adult novel. It's a short, quick, immensely fun pirate novel about treasure hunting, questioning authority, and coming of age. Maurice "Fish" Reidy is sent to Dublin at the age of 11 when his family's farm-horse dies; he's to earn the money to buy a new one by working for his mysterious [...]

Private Rooms by Guido Argentini

Private Rooms by Guido Argentini

I saw this new one on Amazon sometime ago, but didn't order it since I wasn't thrilled with Silvereye. But then I ran into this in a bookstore, and WOW! I was, and remain, totally blown away... this is one of the best color photo books ever produced, I'm certain of that, and in my mind there is no doubt that it is the BEST color photo book of the [...]

SWORD OF MY MOUTH: Apocalyptic graphic novel about the tyranny of angels

SWORD OF MY MOUTH: Apocalyptic graphic novel about the tyranny of angels

Jim Munroe and Shannon Gerard's Sword of My Mouth is sequel to Jim's earlier Therefore, Repent!, a story about the tyranny and horrors visited upon the earth by the angels who come with the Rapture. All of the pious souls have ascended, and the earth is in turmoil. The left-behinds fall into two camps: those who slaughter and enforce martial [...]

The 13 Best Zombie Novels Of All Time

The 13 Best Zombie Novels Of All Time

In the last decade, the shambling hordes of the undead have graduated from schlock pulp material to the new wunderkind of horror and speculative writers around the world. Be they Haitin voodoo slaves; Romero shamblers; biological virii; otherworldly invaders or mystical monsters, the dead have risen and you don’t want to get in their way! 13. [...]

Hackerism, ethics, and the best dad ever.

Hackerism, ethics, and the best dad ever.

I’m currently reading The Hacker Ethic. It’s a great book, but if you don’t have the time for it you can just read a blog post made yesterday by Kevin Bush, called: Why I Want My Daughter to be a Hacker. That post is so inspiring, so perfect that it’s really hard for me not to copy and paste it in its entirety. How’s this for a list [...]

Ending the Fed From the Bottom Up

Ending the Fed From the Bottom Up

Since its inception, the U.S. Federal Reserve’s monetary policies have led to a decline of over 95% in the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar. As a result, there have been several attempts to curtail or eliminate the Federal Reserve’s powers (for example, the efforts of Rep. Louis T. McFadden in the 1930s; the efforts of Rep. Wright Patman in [...]

Priceless: How our unknowing irrationality confounds the price of everything

Priceless: How our unknowing irrationality confounds the price of everything

I just finished William Poundstone's Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It), a popular book on the history and present state of the art in analyzing how people arrive at prices (Poundstone's publisher, Hill and Wang, were kind enough to send this along). As with other behavioral economics texts, Poundstone is [...]

Michael Lewis’ THE BIG SHORT, visiting the econopocalypse through the lens of LIAR’S POKER

Michael Lewis’ THE BIG SHORT, visiting the econopocalypse through the lens of LIAR’S POKER

Penguin* was kind enough to send me a copy of Michael "Liar's Poker" Lewis' The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine yesterday, and I've just finished it, having stuffed it up my eyeballs as fast as I could. Lewis is a gifted chronicler and debunker and demystifier of the world of finance. Twenty-odd years ago, in Liar's Poker, he revealed [...]

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