Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Trivia: Puzzlewood

Puzzlewood is an ancient woodland site, near Coleford in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England. The site, covering 14 acres, shows evidence of open cast iron ore mining dating from the Roman period, and possibly earlier.

In 1848 some workmen, after moving a block of stone in the woods, found a small cavity in the rocks. In this cavity, hidden away, were three earthenware jars containing over 3,000 Roman coins. No-one knows why the coins were hidden away in the cliff face nor by whom.

J. R. R. Tolkien, a frequent visitor to the Forest of Dean, may have visited Puzzlewood, and many believe Puzzlewood was the inspiration for the fabled forests of Middle-earth, such as the Old Forest, Mirkwood, Fangorn or Lothlórien contained within The Lord of the Rings. J.K Rowling is also said to have visited Puzzlewood, and it may have been this that influenced her idea of The Forbidden Forest in the Harry Potter books.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Gadgets: Albatros

Albatros by French designer Oscar Lhermitte

Lhermitte is currently raising funds on IndiGoGo to manufacture these simple but clever bookmarks that automatically mark the page as a reader progresses through a book.
"The Albatros bookmark consists of a thin piece of polyester that is inserted in the book; thanks to its structure and shape, every time you turn a page, the bookmark follows it. Placing the bookmark in a book is done in the blink of an eye. Its repositionable adhesive allows it to last a long time without damaging any pages."

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Video: A Year in Full Colour

"A Year in Full Colour" directed by the graphic motion designer Rogier Wieland

Moleskine notebooks come to life in the company's stop-motion animated commercial by Roger Wieland.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Interview: Cory Doctorow & Charles Stross at Google

Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross put in an appearance at Google to plug their new book, The Rapture of the Nerds.
Cory and Charlie intend to write a third novella in the sequence begun with "Jury Service" and "Appeals Court," and THE RAPTURE OF THE NERDS will consist of all three novellas, possibly with some small additional connective tissue if necessary.

Many distinguished SF "novels" have actually been stitched together from short-fiction serieses like this; the venerable industry term for such a book is "fix-up", which doesn't imply anything deprecatory.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Photo: Stuttgart Library

Nicknamed “Book Mountain” by its designers at Dutch architecture firm MVRDV, the new 100,000 square foot public library in Spijkenisse, Netherlands is an 85 foot tall glass pyramid housing a spiraling arrangement of bookcases within. Visitors to the library can peruse more than 10,000 feet of shelves and enjoy a bit of reading at a café at the top of the pyramid.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Video: Literary Flash Mob at Lafayette College

In honor of the 30th annual commemoration of Banned Books Week, some bookish types at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania descended on a library in a flash mob that had participants reading aloud from 30 books that had been banned throughout American history.

Humor: Ban This Book

Ban This Book.

"Ban This Book" was drawn by Grant Snider to celebrate Banned Books Week

Monday, September 24, 2012

Posters: Banned Books Week

Limited Run Screen Prints for Quills Coffee, Louisville, KY​

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Humor: That Moment...

YES. Omg.

Photo: Vennesla Library

Vennesla, Norway
"The new library in Vennesla comprises a library, a café, meeting places and administrative areas and links an existing community house and learning centre together."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Lecture: Will novels remain writers' favourite form?

Has the dominant literary form of the 19th and 20th centuries grown stale? Is it no longer the best means of delivering stories in the 21st century? Or does the classic literary novel remain the form best placed to deliver innovative, memorable writing? Drawing on discussions about censorship, style, politics and identity, this session, bringing Edinburgh's 2012 Conference to a close, offers an address by multi award-winning author, China Mieville with renowned author Janne Teller in the moderator's chair.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Humor: Better Book Titles

A People's History of The United States   The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo

Better Book Titles is a blog in which famous books are given “improved” and often hilarious new titles. Comedian Dan Wilbur started the site back in 2010. Wilbur creates some of the re-titles himself, with the remainder coming from reader submissions. To see some of the best, take a look at Wilbur’s top 10 list of his own re-titles as well as his top 10 list of reader submissions.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bookshelves: Tokyo’s Tokyo

Wall Shelves at Tokyo’s Tokyo in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Photographed by Daici Ano


Bookshelves: Sunflower Chair

Sunflower Chair is an ingenious sunflower-shaped chair that is ringed by an integrated bookcase. The chair was created by designers He Mu and Zhang Qian from the Shanghai University of Engineering Science. The chair recently won the Redtory Design Award at the Design for Sitting Gran Prix competition hosted by art and design studio Redtory in Guangzhou, China.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Book Trailer: Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones

Chronicle Books will publish the official companion to the Game of Thrones television series, Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones. Unlike most book trailers, this video visited the set of a popular TV show.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Bookshelves: Pagina Bookcase

Humor: Real Reason I Haven't Switched to Ebooks

Art: aMAZEme

aMAZEme by Brazilian artists Marcos Saboya and Gualter Pupo
On exhibit at the Southbank Centre for the London 2012 Festival

Replicating their smaller art installation in Rio de Janiero, Brazilian artists Marcos Saboya and Gualter Pupo, in collaboration with production company Hungry Man, built this labyrinth of 250,000 remaindered, used and new books based on a fingerprint belonging to writer Jorge Luis Borges.  Authors will be reading books inside the 500 square metre maze of books stacked 2.5 metres high. Visitors will also be able to explore small screens featuring literary themes and quotes and interact with social media sites. Talk about getting lost in reading...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


News: Abandoned Walmart reclaimed as Library

The McAllen Public Library in McAllen, Texas, is the size of 2.5 football fields — the largest single-story library in the United States. But in its former life, its size wasn’t all that unusual. That’s because the McAllen library used to be a Walmart.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Video: EPILOGUE: the future of print

This documentary is a humble exploration of the world of print, as it scratches the surface of its future. It is built upon interviews with individuals who are active in the Toronto print community and question whether or not they expect to see the disappearance of the physical book within our lifetime. The act of reading a “tangible tome” has devolved from being a popular and common pastime to one that no longer is. I hope for the film to stir thought and elicit discussion about the immersive reading experience and the lost craft of the book arts, from the people who are still passionate about reading on paper.”

Hannah Ryu Chung

Interview: Cory Doctorow

Intel Futurist Brian David Johnson talks with Cory Doctorow about what inspires him as a science fiction author and Cory's "Knights of the Rainbow Table" story, which he contributed to "The Tomorrow Project Anthology."

Monday, June 25, 2012

Interview: George R.R. Martin

Sword and Laser interviews George R. R. Martin, who explains how he knows when he's created a character somewhat based in reality.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Video: With New Books come new Feelings

Hachette Australia put together this inspirational time-lapse video to promote its fall catalog. In it, black-clad staff unloads books into a warehouse, including "The End of Your Life Book Club" by Will Schwalbe and "The Twelve" by Justin Cronin (which I am seriously looking forward to. An upbeat piano melody accompanies the sped-up footage of employees carefully staking books to spell out evocative words such as "cry," "grow," "imagine," and "fight."

Monday, June 18, 2012

Art: Classics-inspired Bookmarks

Classics-inspired Bookmarks by Ethem Onur Bilgic

Posters: Banned Books Week

Poster produced by the United States Office of War Information (OWI) for distribution to libraries and book stores, 1942.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Interview: Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck

Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck of Leviathan Wakes put in an appearance on Sword and Laser. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Interview: Jeff Vandermeer

Furious Fiction interviews Jeff Vandermeer, editor of The Weird anthology.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Video: Getting the Book Invented

Animation for a competition run by the Literary Platform to design motion graphics to accompany a prophetic recording by Douglas Adams from back in 1993 detailing the invention of the electronic book.

News: New Guy Gavriel Kay Novel

Guy Gavriel Kay's newest title, River of Stars, should be on shelves in the first quarter of 2013. It's set in the same lands as his novel Under Heaven, but several centuries later. Hopefully, the effect will be similar to that of reading The Lions of al-Rassan and the Sarantium Mosaic, two of his previous books which complimented each other wonderfully.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Interview: Neil Gaiman

Bestselling author, screenwriter and comics luminary Neil Gaiman, interviewed by Henry Jenkins as part of the Julius Schwartz Memorial Lecture. The lecture was hosted by the Comparative Media Studies program at MIT, and was founded to honor the memory of longtime DC Comics editor Julius "Julie" Schwartz, whose contributions to our culture include co-founding the first science fiction fanzine in 1932, the first science fiction literary agency in 1934, and the first World Science Fiction Convention in 1939. Schwartz went on to launch a career in comics that would last for well over 42 years, during which time he helped launch the Silver Age of Comics, introduced the idea of parallel universes, and had a hand in the reinvention of such characters as Batman, Superman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman and the Atom.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Link Round-Up: World-Building for Writers

Charmaine Clancy's W is for World Building Workshop can be read online or downloaded in .pdf format.

Denyse "Domynoe" Loeb's Alden.nu has five world-building outlines along with tons of other templates and lessons here.

Encyclopedia Mythica offers info and articles from A to Z on mythology, folklore and religion to help inspire and populate your fictional worlds.

Evidently pantsers can world-build, too, just in reverse: Kat Zhang's Backwards Worldbuilding.

For obscure words and vocabulary resources, you can't do much better online than The Phrontistery (warning, wordsmiths, highly addicting site.)

How to Draw Nice Maps

Kathy Steffen's article Jump-Start Your Imagination: Creative Writing Exercises for Worldbuilding offers a list of questions you answer about your world as building exercise.

Loren J. Miller's Mythopoets Manual covers in exquisite detail the many things writers might consider when writing the multi-cultural fictional setting.

Orion's Arm states their manifesto as "...to inspire writers, artists and thinkers. To create a vision of the future that is plausible at every level, internally consistent and abides by the accepted facts and theories in the physical, biological, and social sciences." Some decent examples for hard SF world-builders.

Stephanie Cottrell Bryant's 30 Days of World building tutorial can be read online or downloaded in several different formats, and covers a range of topics interesting to world builders. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Book Reading: Samuel R. Delany

Samuel R. Delany reads from Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders at St. Marks Bookshop NYC on April 23 2012. Introduction by Brian Evenson, author of "Windeye." 
"Like his legendary Hogg, The Mad Man, and the million-seller Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany’s major new novel Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders—explicit, poetic, philosophical, and, yes, shocking—propels readers into a gay sexual culture unknown to most urban gay men and women, a network of rural gay relations—with the twist that this one is supported by the homophile Kyle Foundation, started in the early 1980s by a black multi-millionaire, Robert Kyle III, to improve the lives of black gay men."

Monday, May 14, 2012

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Table of Contents: House of Fear

Prime Books has posted the table of contents for their upcoming anthology, Extreme Zombies edited by Paula Guran. The book hits shelves August 1, 2012, but you can pre-order it now at Amazon. Personally, I'd pick up a copy just for the George R.R. Martin story, but I'm a fan of Joe R. Lansdale and Nina Kiriki Hoffman, too.

Product Description: 
"It’s too late! The living dead have already taken over the world. Your brains have been devoured. Nothing is left but spasms of ravenous need—an obscene hunger for even more zombie fiction. Forget the metaphors and the mildly scary. You want shock, you want grue, you want disturbing, gut-wrenching, skull-crunching zombie stories that take you over the edge and go splat. You want the bloody best of the ultimate undead. You have no choice… you… must… have… Extreme Zombies!"

News: Creation of the A.E. VAN VOGT Award

Terra Sonderband 013 The Winnipeg Science Fiction Association has just announced the creation of the A.E. van Vogt Award (The A.E.V.V.A.). Here's the press release:
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada – The Winnipeg Science Fiction Association Inc (WINSFA) is delighted to announce the creation of the A.E. VAN VOGT Award (The A.E.V.V.A.).

Exactly 100 years ago, on April 26, 1912, Alfred Elton Van Vogt was born on a farm in Edenburg, a Russian Mennonite community east of Gretna, Manitoba, Canada. By July 1939, he had written his first Science Fiction story and had it professionally published.. He continued to write in Winnipeg until 1944 and it was during this time that one of his major stories “SLAN” was written. By 1995 he was awarded the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award by the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) . He has been the ONLY Canadian Science Fiction Writer to be awarded this major title.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Art: Eric Drooker Illustration

Eric Drooker is a native New Yorker, born and raised on Manhattan Island. He’s the award-winning author of several books, including “Flood! A Novel in Pictures” and “Blood Song: A Silent Ballad.” He’s the Animation Designer on the new feature film, “Howl.” His paintings appear frequently on covers of The New Yorker, and hang in numerous collections.

Via: Cuded

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Interview: Marjane Satrapi

Iranian Graphic Novelist Marjane Satrapi of Persepolis Reflects On Her Early Influences
Source: Nowness.com

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Marjane Satrapi relates memories of her childhood growing up amid Iran's turmoils and her artistic family in today’s film by Chiara Clemente. Shot in Satrapi’s colorful studio in the Marais district of Paris, the short is a new chapter in Clemente’s Beginnings series for the Sundance Channel in which cultural icons reveal the experiences that set them on their paths. “Marjane has such strength to her personality and creative vision,” says Clemente. “She explodes when you talk with her, everything is so alive.” Satrapi’s graphic novel series Persepolis—which she adapted into a 2008 Oscar-nominated film—traced her life as a rebellious child growing up in Tehran, through the overthrow of the Shah and later under a brutally restrictive Islamic Republic. The teenager’s (illegal) collection of Iggy Pop and Iron Maiden tapes, her outspoken political views and reluctance to wear a veil, lead her left-wing intellectual parents to dispatch her to Vienna aged 14 for her own safety. “Marjane told us stories of her parents returning from travels with these forbidden things—a denim jacket, a Michael Jackson pin or Batman comics––and her obsession with them,” says Clemente. Last year Satrapi released a feature film adaption of her graphic novel Chicken with Plums, which chronicles the final week in the life of her great-uncle, starring Mathieu Amalric.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Lecture: What we learned from 5 million books

Have you played with Google Labs' NGram Viewer? It's an addicting tool that lets you search for words and ideas in a database of 5 million books from across centuries. Erez Lieberman Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel show us how it works, and a few of the surprising things we can learn from 500 billion words.

How Old Books Get That Distinctive Smell

Walk into a used bookshop and you will encounter the unique aroma of aging books. The smell is loved by some, disliked by others, but where does it come from?

Art: Literature Heavyweights


"Literature Heavyweights" (bricks faking books) by Daryl Fitzgerald

Monday, April 9, 2012

Art: Weapon of Mass Instruction

"Arma De Instruccion Masiva" ("Weapon of Mass Instruction") by Raul Lemesoff
Photographs by Raul Lemesoff

Built from a welded frame atop a 1979 Ford Falcon, Raul Lemesoff drives around the streets of Buenos Aires distributing free books to anybody who wants to be assaulted with some serious learnin’

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Bookshelves: Pac-Man Ghost

Pac-Man Ghost Bookshelf by Barcelona artist LightYourselfUp

Ever wanted to decorate your room to the theme of Pac-Man? Or are you just a Pac-Man fan? Well, either way, you will love this Pac-Man Ghost bookshelf. You can get this wonderful accessory for €250 (about $342 USD). Via: Technabob

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Merchandise: Wall Map Vinyl Wall Sticker

The world map vinyl wall sticker is perfect for the well-travelled individual. The design comes complete with various sized positionable dots for marking your travels, or even planning your next trip. A great way to keep track of all the places you have visited. by Vinyl Impression

The world map vinyl wall sticker is perfect for the well-travelled individual. The design comes complete with various sized positionable dots for marking your travels, or even planning your next trip. A great way to keep track of all the places you have visited.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Interview: George R.R. Martin

The #1 New York Times bestselling author discusses his epic saga A Song of Ice and Fire and its adaptation to the small screen at TIFF Bell Lightbox Center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Video: Birth of a Book

A short vignette of a book being created using traditional printing methods.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Merchandise: Fully Booked

Fully Booked by Jack Maxwell
Available at FieldCandy for US$790.37
Are you a big fan of books? We mean, are you a really big fan of books. Because this is, well, it’s an enormous book. It looks like a giant has dropped his favourite best seller. Plus, it also lets you meet up with other book fans on the campsite. You can even hold book groups in your tent and discuss whether Twilight is better than Harry Potter.

FYI: Things we Owe to Shakespeare

Becky, a 20-year-old English Lit geek living in London, scribbled out this list in a Moleskine notebook at 3 am a couple nights ago. She posted it on her Tumblr page, and within 24 hours, more than 11,000 people had saved it in their favorites file.

She was astonished. “I still don’t know how something I scribbled in a hurry at 3am got so many notes in the space of a day? Shakespeare is clearly too awesome,” Becky said in an update on the post today. “I spelt “bated” wrong, awk … Someone said this looks like a serial killer’s notebook, which made me laugh a lot. They’re not wrong, I’ve been a sleep deprived zombie lately.”

She certainly is a girl on a mission.

On her birthday on August 30th, she set a challenge for herself: Read a book every week until she turns 21. “Lately, I’ve gotten into the terrible habit of buying books but never reading them.
Gradually I’ve been reading less and less,” she said.

She put together a list of 52 books (heavy on Palahniuk, Murakami and Hemingway) and posted it here. Want to take the challenge? The details are here.

“I thought it would be a good way to encourage others to read more too.”

She’s also giving away the books she reads.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Cover Art: Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit book jackets designed by Adam Hanson

“And I read Lord of the Rings until I no longer needed to read it any longer, because it was inside me.” - Neil Gaiman

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Video: Espresso Book Machine

The Espresso Book Machine is an on demand printer capable of printing off text at 105 pages a minute, creating entire paperback books in as little as four minutes. The machine offers print titles from an online database of about eight million books, or it can be used for self-publishing. It has been installed in about 70 locations worldwide, most of which are libraries and bookstores

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Humor: Fictional Character Obsession




Finally, a line of thank-you cards I'll actually use!
Source: your ecards