Monthly Archives: January 2011

A tale of two cities

On the heels of Amazon announcing yet another record period on Friday, with the company’s first $10 billion quarter, sales up 36%, and offering a characteristically tricky little metric for Kindle books surpassing paperbacks as the bestselling individual item on Amazon (there is no mention of how hardcovers or other analog book formats fit in here), there was more bad news from Borders on Sunday as they announced that they won’t be paying their January bills or rent and analysts are speculating that the company could file for bankruptcy as early as next week.

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Today on the Internet


[click the image to see more of the artist]

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Alan Moore’s Neonomicon

Eisner Award-winning comic writer and novelist Alan Moore is not really retired, and I have proof. I just finished reading the third issue of Neonomicon. As opposed to Neo‘s predecessor, The Courtyard (also good), Neo is not based on Moore’s stories. It is scripted by Moore himself and immaculately drawn by Jacen Burrows, and definitely worth a read.

A few years ago I said this about  Alan Moore’s hardback follow-up to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume Two, called The Black Dossier:

Black Dossier seems less a celebration and more an indulgence into Moore’s impractical world views and towering intellect. And although Moore certainly has these former traits in spades, they are not, nor have they ever been the only things that make his work so transcendent, and perhaps more disappointing still: Moore is intelligent enough to know this, and he is neglecting his obligations as a story-teller in this book.

The Black Dossier marked a time when I was particularly fed up (but still jealous of) Mr. Moore’s brilliance and idiosyncratic narratives. Even I, a huge fan of William Lee, did not the highly enjoy the style-copy in the book. Put shortly: for a comic, Dossier had a lot of text, and for a text narrative, it was slow and not in the spirit of his previous work on League. I enjoyed Moore’s second follow-up to League, entitled 1910, but I didn’t say anything about it to anyone but my friend Ed, who didn’t even read it.

The auxillary throwback cover for iss. 3 says it all.

Now I’ve read Neonomicon (published by the wonderful Avatar) and I’m crowing from the rooftops: All Lovecraft and Moore fans with a sturdy stomach should enjoy this series. Yes, I said Lovecraft. Moore has been writing about Lovecraft and referencing Lovecraft throughout his career, and Neonomicon represents his most powerful telling of the mythos yet.

Jacen Burrows is at his best here. His art so clearly and richly delineates the characters, and he portrays the horror unflinchingly. It has been a pleasure watching Mr. Burrows develop into a true storytelling force over the past years. In Moore and Burrows is Lovecraft reborn into a metaphysical, metafictional nightmare. Go read it.

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Filed under (Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below We're All Going to Go, A picture says a thousand words, Alex Smith, apocalypse porn, Book Publishing, Fiction, Lovecraft, sporting gentleman posts

Nabokov’s butterfly theory vindicated

at the NYT, thank god! Rest easy, Vlad.

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The State of Things

I came across this map of what your state is the worst at, over at pleated jeans. Among the surprises: Rhode Island has the highest rate of illicit drug use (since there are 15 people in RI, I think this number is heavily skewed by Brown, PC, and most especially RISD), Washington state has the highest rate of bestiality(just, come on guys), and Tennessee is the most corrupt (as we all learned in the 4th grade, D.C. is not a state).

These determinations are largely based on US census figures and data from, go to pleated jeans for the full notes.

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… when you’re leaving

True to the tragic artist form, DFW is getting a lot of posthumous mileage lately, and he’s mentioned prominently in this essay from yesterday’s Book Review on the philosophical novel. Also from the Book Review, this reminded me of Dale Peck briefly and nicely touching on the difference between novels in the alienating and democratic traditions in his review of Thomas Bernhard’s My Prizes a couple of weeks ago.

DFW was also evoked, on the need for curation of the internet in a recent New Yorker profile of AOL CEO  Tim Armstrong, and I like the crassness of his quote:

There are four trillion bits coming at you, 99 percent of them are shit, and it’s too much work to do triage to decide. So it’s very clear, very soon there’s gonna be an economic niche opening up for gatekeepers… Because otherwise we’re gonna spend 95 percent of our time body-surfing through shit.

Oh yeah, and there was this piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education about DFW’s academic legacy.

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Yomi is a cardgame invented by a design consultant (boardgames and videogames) and tournament competitor, David Sirlin.

Sirlin published and is distributing the game pretty much by himself, and while it’s a hefty price tag for what is essentially a card game (albeit it an exceptionally designed one that provokes the imagination), it also means that he’s extremely dedicated.

Yomi is a card game (no collecting necessary) that works a lot like rock, paper, scissors–with a lot of reading your opponent and making the right call as to what they might play next. The theme of Yomi should be familiar to some of our gamer readers: Each player selects a pre-made deck which represents their character, and each card in their hand represents one or two combat moves their player can make.

Yeah, kinda like Yu-gi-oh...only we recommend it.

Yomi is simple to learn, and free to play and learn online here. But the beauty is in holding a deck and sitting across from a friend. Yomi only recently came out, but has already made the #1 game in several top ten lists of high profile game critics (check out their awesome videos here and here.)

Check Yomi out today.

Thanks to BGG for this one.

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