Photo: South Africa The Good News / http://www.sagoodnews.co.za
It would be easy to make an ass of myself trying to say something profound on the passing of Nelson Mandela, But I know enough to know, at the end of the day, how little useful I can say about him. So I will try not to do it and instead keep things short. What I really want to say is that I am glad to have lived in the same time as a man who was a genuine moral force and who had genuine moral character. He was a great man, with all the complexities they possess. And he changed the world.
My thoughts to my South African friends. I can’t even imagine what the passing of a man so important to one’s nation feels like.
Nelson Mandela passed away today at the age of 95. The activist and world leader was the an inspired writer and the author of dozens of books.
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others,” he once said.
To commemorate his life in letters we have put together a literary mix tape with links to free samples of some of Mandela’s writing. You can follow this link to read some of Mandela’s speeches. Below we’ve included links to free excerpts of Mandela’s books. continued…
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I'd love to own my own Death Star, if for no reason than to use our solar system's asteroid belt as my own personal shooting gallery. I'm guessing that the Death Star's planet-killing laser would make short work of a few measly space rocks. There's also the undeniable fact that the Death Star would be an awesome party pad, although I think I'd have to do something about all of those catwalks. None of them seem to have rails, and I wouldn't want a bunch of guests drunk on Juri Juice falling down one of those uncomfortably common reactor cores. Chances are that I won't ever own my own Death Star, but I can get a feel of how it might be like to have my run of the place with the Star Wars: Death Star Owner's Technical Manual. Chock full of blueprints, tech specs and trivia, this is the definitive guide to one of the galaxy's most fearsome (and flawed!) weapons systems. What I like about the book is that it's not dry reading, either. The Death Star is a fascinating piece of technology, and Ryder Windham's text makes this technical manual a book that you'll want to turn to again and again. If you've got a Star Wars geek on your list this Christmas, then The Death Star Owner's Technical Manual is a great gift idea. Chances are that he or she won't have a copy already, and what a great way to explore one of Saga's most iconic locations?
Readers may recall yesterday's post about naming conventions in science fiction in fantasy. I had reached out to several writers of my acquaintance in hope that they'd have a moment to talk about their own processes when it came to naming characters. I was overwhelmed with the responses, and even after posting over a dozen yesterday, I've still got a few more to run. With that in mind, I beg your indulgence as I once again turn to the topic of fantasy names with this response from Drew Karpyshyn, the author of Children of Fire. Drew Karpyshyn: Names are tricky. There's a long-standing tradition in science fiction and fantasy to have unusual and complicated names that are difficult to pronounce and almost impossible to spell, but I prefer to keep my names simple. My novels have numerous characters, so tongue twister names will only make it harder for readers to keep track of who is who. In addition to being simple, I often use names that are representative of the character. For example, in my fantasy novel Children of Fire, Vaaler - the heir to the Danaan throne - is expected to be brave, strong and valorous. Keegan, a young boy who could be a potential savior of the mortal world, has the word "key" embedded in his name, and Rexol - Keegan's wizard mentor - draws on Rex/King to reflect his pride and egotism. This may seem a bit too obvious for some, but I think the overt symbolism helps establish the feel of a character and gives readers something to hold on to until they become more familiar with them. Another trick I use is to steal names from mythology and other classic sources that will evoke certain feelings or associations in the reader. The young girl who suffers gruesome visions of the future in Children of Fire is named Cassandra after the cursed prophet from Greek mythology. Similarly, by giving many members of the fanatically religious Order "Biblical" sounding names - like Ezra, Nazir and Yasmin - I get readers thinking about the harsh "eye for an eye" belief system often associated with the Old Testament. By drawing upon this shared cultural heritage of many of my readers, I'm able to evoke emotions and moods with a simple name that I can then build on or subvert, depending on how the story goes. Want to know more about Children of Fire?
Drew Karpyshyn has made his mark with imaginative, action-packed work on several acclaimed videogames, including Mass Effect and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, as well as in a succession of New York Times bestselling tie-in novels. Now Karpyshyn introduces a brilliantly innovative epic fantasy of perilous quests, tormented heroes, and darkest sorcery—a thrilling adventure that vaults him into the company of such authors as Terry Goodkind, Brandon Sanderson, and Peter V. Brett. Long ago the gods chose a great hero to act as their agent in the mortal world and to stand against the demonic spawn of Chaos. The gods gifted their champion, Daemron, with three magical Talismans: a sword, a ring, and a crown. But the awesome power at his command corrupted Daemron, turning him from savior to destroyer. Filled with pride, he dared to challenge the gods themselves. Siding with the Chaos spawn, Daemron waged a titanic battle against the Immortals. In the end, Daemron was defeated, the Talismans were lost, and Chaos was sealed off behind the Legacy—a magical barrier the gods sacrificed themselves to create. Now the Legacy is fading. On the other side, the banished Daemron stirs. And across the scattered corners of the land, four children are born of suffering and strife, each touched by one aspect of Daemron himself—wizard, warrior, prophet, king. Bound by a connection deeper than blood, the Children of Fire will either restore the Legacy or bring it crashing down, freeing Daemron to wreak his vengeance upon the mortal world.
Starting last week and continuing through December, Boom! Studios will add their entire back catalog of comics to Comixology. Available immediately are Boom’s graphic novels and collected editions of current catalog works, such as Bravest Warriors, Hellraiser, Incorruptible, and Supurbia, as well as film tie-ins 28 Days Later and Adventure Time. As of this writing, other series newly online include the likes of Drums and Farscape: Scorpions. The total list of initial titles is fourteen series, a good number for any publisher. But when the backlist is complete, there will be hundreds of books over dozens of series. Boom founder Ross Richie mentioned in a press release distributed by Comixology that the two companies will be having a number of co-promotions that make use of the platform, in celebration of the company’s expanded digital presence. Boom joins a number of other publishers small and large in making partnerships with Comixology since the summer. Comix announced a spate of new companies that would sell digital comics at New York Comic Con in October, and they havne’t slowed since. Avatar Press and Viz Media were among them, though perhaps the largest announcement to come out the convention was Comixology’s partnership with DC Comics. In a deal similar to Boom! Studios’, it was announced that DC Entertainment and Vertigo’s entire lineup of graphic novel trades and collected edition books would be available for download as of October 8th, 2013. This included legendary titles Sandman, Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and the now-infamous New 52. Presumably, the new Sandman comics will be available as they debut, as well. Comixology is a cloud-based digital comics-reading platform, which allows comics of all kinds and sizes to be available on smart phones (iPhone and Android), e-readers (iPad, Kindle Fire, and Windows 8), and internet browsers. They have a proprietary “Native View” system, which chops up comic pages into legible sections based on the device’s size. A team of staff with backgrounds in film and illustration decide by hand how to segment each page and cell, which gives the comic more life while reading digitally. This service accounts, in part, for the delay time in uploading comic companies’ back catalogs. Boom, DC, and Avatar will get the Native View treatment. Comixology also has an international reach, with comics available in the UK, Ireland, and several nations in mainland Europe. It also has a large presence in France, and Boom’s comics will be available to the French market; one of them available in the US is already in French, Elric: L'équilibre perdu. Interestingly, Viz’s new presence on Comixology was also for the European market, and it alone: the deal was specifically with Viz Media Europe. (Viz handles its own digital downloads in the US, from its website.) On October 9th, 2013, it was announced that Viz’s partnership with Kazé, a french-language manga subsidiary of Viz Media, would partner with Comixology to release French-language manga titles digitally, to various French-speaking countries in Europe, such as Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Monaco, and of course, France. Titles include books by Viz Media parent companies Shueisha and Shogakukan, as well as Hakusensha, Kadokawa Shoten, Gentosha, Akita Sho-ten, Square Enix and Ichijinsha. They comics would be available in original right-to-left format, and will not, for now, have Native View. Recently, Archaia was purchased by Boom, so what of their titles? There’s no mention in the deal of Archaia’s backlist being available on Comixology just yet. However, Comix’s list of over 40,000 titles, publishers, and indie creators is ever-growing, so check back again here soon to see if your newest loves and old flames are ready to be yours again.