Boing Boing Feature: All Quiet on the Martian Front

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Last week, I had the pleasure of writing a piece for Boing Boing about my favorite new tabletop sci-fi wargame, All Quiet on the Martian Front.

It’s 1908. Earth has finally recovered from the terrifying shock of the Martian attacks of 1898 that nearly laid waste to London. While a few of the world’s more cautious leaders, intellectuals, and industrialists call for continued vigilance and defense preparations against the possible return of the deadly mechanized Martian horde, most of the world has fallen back into complacency. Under the cover of this collective sleep, once more, Martian cylinders begin to fall from sky. This time, the Martians land in largely uninhabited areas of the globe, and this time they’ve inoculated themselves against the earthly microbes that proved their undoing in the first invasion. The second wave of the Great Interplanetary War has begun.

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Read the full piece here.

WINK Review: The Think The Book

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WINK is a site that’s dedicated to the unique and glorious qualities of the print book. Similarly, The Thing The Book celebrates all aspects of this amazing medium that revolutionized the world. Created by John Herschend and Will Rogan, the Bay Area artists behind one of my favorite subscription-based art projects, The Thing Quarterly, The Thing The Book gathers together over 30 well-known writers, artists, photographers, and thinkers, and asks them to riff on some traditional element of the book: cover, bookplate, table of contents, footnotes, endnotes, index, endpapers, etc.

Read the full review here.

Last Kickstarter Backer Report of the Year

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Here is the last KS newsletter with a round-up of my Borg Like Me activities for the year.

What’s in Store for 2015

I’ll do some more book readings next year, but mainly I’ll be moving on to other projects. I’m currently working on “The Eros Part: Further Writings on Love, Sex, and Muses,” the third volume in the Borg Like Me chapbook series. This was a reward for a KS backer level and so is my top priority. Realistically, it may not be out until Spring, but I think it’ll be worth the wait. I’m also working on “Sucks-Less, Too,” the follow-up to “Gareth’s Tips on Sucks-Less Writing.”

I might also be launching a casual, periodic podcast, called Café Gaga, that will cover what’s going on at Sparks of Fire Press, weird and wonderful things that are crossing my transom, some conversations with interesting friends doing interesting things, etc. I also have at least one Sparks of Fire collaborative art project I’m planning. And those are just what’s swirling around SoFP and Borg Like Me. I have several other projects in the pipeline I’m pretty excited about and will tell you more about them as soon as I can.

Read the full newsletter here.

Wink Review: Syllabus

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My latest review on WINK, of Lynda Barry’s intensely inspiring Syllabus:

Professor Lynda Barry has been on a roll of late. First, she published her astonishing and inspired writing-workshop-in-a-book, What It Is. She followed that up with Picture This: The Near-sighted Monkey Book, which covered drawing in much the same way that What It Is approached writing. In Syllabus, Barry has published her actual hand-drawn lesson plans from her popular college class entitled “Drawing the Unthinkable.”

Read the entire review here.

Tom Igoe Reviews Borg Like Me in MAKE Magazine

I was thrilled to get my latest copy of MAKE and to discover this review of Borg Like Me by maker icon Tom Igoe (co-creator of the revolutionary Arduino microcontroller).

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WINK Review: Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia

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We all know the multimedia artistic brilliance of pioneering New Wave band Devo. And many of us know that Devo co-founder Mark Mothersbaugh is an artist who works in other media. But even other moderately devoted fans such as myself may be surprised to realize just how multiple Mothersbaugh’s artistic talents are, how persistent, or how significant when surveyed as a whole. This is all remedied in an impressive new volume, Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia, assembled by Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Denver Director Adam Lerner.

Read the complete review here.

RU Sirius Interview Me for H+ Magazine

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From Sirius’ Intro: Gareth Branwyn’s latest book, Borg Like Me, takes a slightly unusual route to tell us the story of his Cyborgification, a process that started, of necessity, when he was very young. By combining memoir-style segments with articles published in various periodicals ranging from my own MONDO 2000 through Wired, Boing Boing and Make, the book both reflects back on various periods in counterculture/technoculture and reflects them directly via writings that appeared at the time.

The result is surprisingly coherent. It’s also a serious read that touches on some dark and difficult days. Gareth loses control over his body and he loses his wife, first to the touring life of a rock musician and then to suicide. Through it all, his spirit of romanticism, experimentation, curiosity and hackers/tinkerers’ ethics persevere.

Read the entire interview here.

WINK Review: Beyond The Dark Veil

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My most recent WINK review, of a book of Victorian post-mortem photography is now live.

Beyond the Dark Veil is a handsome new volume from Washington state’s Thanatos Archive, published by Last Gasp (perfect casting there!), exploring this fascinating, now seemingly macabre death practice. This is a gorgeously-produced hardbound volume with an embossed, gold-foiled black leather cover and golden-edged pages. Photography comprises the bulk of the content, but there are also essays from Jack Mord (owner of the Archive), author and death researcher Bess Lovejoy, artist Marion Peck, poet Joanna Roche, historian of photography Joe Smoke, and others.

Read the full review here.

My Friends Are the Gifts

I have decided that, for Christmas this year, I’m going to give only presents made by friends. I have so many friends with Etsy stores, small businesses, self-published books and music, artwork, and other things to sell, I figured why not support my pals (and self-employment) and share some of their amazing handiwork with family and my other friends?

I did a post on my Facebook wall sharing this idea and asking friends to list their wares in the comments. I got nearly 200 Likes and comments/listing of items for sale. I couldn’t list them all in this post, but here are some of my favorites, mainly products I already own or can vouch for.

Many people commented on how much they loved this idea. Half a dozen did similar posts on their FB pages. Consider doing so yourself and buying from your friends this year, or at least buying more handmade wares and self-published media. And if you do, I’d love to hear about it.

 

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Borg Like Me (and other neat stuff) [Gareth Branwyn] Well, shameless as it is, I couldn’t sleep with myself if I didn’t first hawk my own self-published crap. My Sparks of Fire Press imprint sells my book, Borg Like Me, several chapbooks, rubber stamps that I’ve designed, mini bookmarks, and bookplates. From now until the end of 2014, buy one print book and get all additional books for half price. You also get issued a free Artistic License with every book ordered. Who doesn’t need artistic license?

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Combat Garden Gnomes Shawn Thorsson is a very talented props and costume maker who is a frequent favorite at Maker Faire, with his giant robots and genetically-engineered superhuman costumes. And these adorably deadly Combat Garden Gnomes! One year, I got my family “Poo Pets” (biodegradable animal statues pressed from animal poop) for their gardens. We may need to trade up in guardians of the garden lethality.

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Cyberoptix Tie Lab My friend Bethany Shorb is an artisanal crazy-woman. I love seeing all of the amazing products (and fine art) she creates, and the passion and single-mindedness with which she pursues her muse. I own (and adore) several of her incredible (and spectacularly nerdy) neckties. Now she’s branched out into bowties, scarves, ascots, all kinds of gorgeous stuff. Bethany’s wares come in really lovely boxes (there’s even a wooden gift box option), making these a really special gift to give. And, as Bethany says, these are: “Ties that don’t suck.”

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Goshdarnknit Notebooks For the past 11 years, I’ve kept all of my notes and (not so) big ideas in Moleskine Cahiers pocket notebooks. DC artist Rania Hassan prints her own lovely illustrations on blank Moleskines. I have several of Rania’s printed Cahier-sized books and they’re always a treat to pull from my pocket.

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Zeichen Press I’ve had a mad crush on the boutique letterpress shop, Zeichen Press (OK, and maybe Fran Shea who co-owns it, along with Jen Shea), ever since I did an interview with them for a Maker Business series on MAKE. I was thrilled when they also agreed to do my Sparks of Fire Press bookplates. Zeichen does a lot of commission printing like that, but they also do an amazingly funny line of letterpress greeting cards. It’s Fran’s sharp-witted, funny, and just plain kooky sense of humor that brings out the toe-in-dirt schoolboy in me. I want to get some of those “No Soliciting Unless You’re Wrapped in Bacon” cards, laminate them, and give them out as door signs (after I snag one for myself).

Read More »

Holiday Deal for Borg Like Me!

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Between now and the end of the year, when you buy the first copy at full price, you can add additional copies at only $15. Half off! You also get a free gift of a Sparks of Fire Press “Artistic License” (for every book ordered) sent in a mail art envelope. Now you’ll never be without the permission you need to let your creative juices exceed culturally-imposed limits. You’ll be LICENSED! Order your copies here.

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