March 7th, 2013

dr who:arm yourselves (with books)

Happy World Book Day!

(Well, it is in the UK. I know we have it earlier than some countries so it doesn't clash with the kids' Easter holiday.) When we were in school we used to get vouchers today for money off books and a book fair might be set up in the school hall, or the school library when we got to high school, and it was a wonderful time. Alas, I can’t send you a voucher or a book fair, but I can point you at free books :D

FreakAngels by Warren Ellis (writer) and Paul Duffield (artist)
I was waiting until my birthday to buy this, but then I discovered that this series of six graphic novels that was originally a weekly web comic is still available on its original archive online. So I’ve just finished reading it. The ideas were interesting, I liked most of the art, and the amusing parts were amusing. I will point out that when it says that it’s mature, it is (PM me if you want to know why).

The concept plays with what would John Wyndham’s Midwitch Cuckoos be like if they grew up and the fear of a flooded London – it is all round very British – so we have twelve young people with strange powers in a dystopian future where Britain has been messed up trying to maintain a survivors community in Whitechapel. Don’t expect lots of answers to the big mysteries, although I was satisfied with what we did get. Do expect wonderfully complex character interactions.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
If you know of Cory Doctorow you’ll know he has thoughts on technology and the internet. This YA novel is available free online because he put it there. I read this one last year and it’s a good’un.

The blurb is this: Big Brother is watching you. Who’s watching back? Marcus is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works – and how to work the system. Smart, fast and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems. But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison, where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days. When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state, where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.

Blackberry Keep Moving Project with Neil Gaiman
This is a fascinating thing where Gaiman has written 12 stories, which you can find as a pdf here (new words from Gaiman; run don’t walk), for the months of the year based on prompts people tweeted and everyone everywhere has been invited to create art to go with them. The tweets and artwork as work a look just as much as the stories.

Also Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere is now a radio thing
It starts March 16th on BBC Radio 4 and it’ll be on international iPlayer and as a podcast. I can’t believe the cast they’ve gotten for this. No, really. Christopher Lee, James McAvoy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Anthony Head, Bernard Cribbens, Natalie Dormer, Sophie Okenado, David Harewood, Romola Garai, and David Schofield. Performing a thing by Neil Gaiman. It’s Christmas.

Project Gutenberg free ebooks
And here’s a great resource of over 42,000 books. Don’t be put off by the fact that their copyright has expired (in the US). Try browsing by popularity and you’ll find piles of classics and old favourites.

Happy reading! :D