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Archive for the ‘Book From My Desk’ Category

Title: The Steampunk Bible

Authors: Jeff VanderMeer with S. J. Chambers

I’m super excited for the publication of The Steampunk Bible by Jeff VanderMeer and S. J. Chambers, available May 1 (pre-order now!). As always happens when I get involved in a new project, I suddenly find myself completely immersed in that world. Since working on the book, I’ve been to Steampunk events, I spotted Steampunks at Comic-Con (my favorite was the Steampunk Boba Fett), and I’ve been introduced to some amazing writers and artists who I hope to work with in the future.

I feel lucky to have been involved in this project, because I came to this book in a fairly roundabout way. A colleague had acquired it, and only a few months later had to leave the company. Someone needed to step in as editor, and as a lover of science fiction and fantasy, I jumped at the chance. I am so glad I did. Working with Jeff and Selena was a dream. Not only are they amazingly creative, they’re also just fun to work with (very few of my authors respond to my emails with “SQUEEEE.” It’s refreshing.). Jeff also literally knows everyone in the world. I could not believe how many people he conned into being involved with this project. Every day it was like, hey guess what? Imperial Chinese Steampunk robots by James Ng? Check! Comic panels from Phil and Kaja Foglio’s Girl Genius, Molly Crabapple’s The Puppet Makers, and Mike Mignola’s Amazing Screw-On Head? Check, check, check! An original project from Steampunk Workshop founder Jake von Slatt? Check! Astounding works of art from Steampunk makers, designers, photographers, fashionistas, and artists from around the globe? In spades!

Fitting it all together was definitely the hardest part. Our wonderful designer Galen Smith did a stellar job of figuring out this jigsaw puzzle, and the result is just stunning. As I am an endpaper snob, the dragon dirigible sketch and finished piece is just the perfect opening and closing to the book. The cover riffs on an old French edition of Jules Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaries (currently hidden in my office). When we asked Jeff and Selena for ideas about cover direction, Jeff mentioned the old French editions as a possible starting point. I doubt he expected us to take it as far as we did! We found a beautifully preserved copy on eBay, scanned the cover, and then digitally altered it to include modern Steampunk images and our own text. The result is set off with a spot gloss that really makes the gold pop against the red.

I’m so happy with the finished book and can’t wait to see it in stores. Here are some sneak peek spreads for your perusal and also, the very special debut of my Steampunk portrait. I asked Jeff and Selena to have their portraits done by the very talented Krista Brennan for the About the Authors page and they “forced” me to have one done as well…which I did not include in the book mind you! My colleagues are all very jealous and want robot helpers who delivery tea and biscuits as well.

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Title: The Selby is in Your Place

Author: Todd Selby

Todd Selby seems to know all the coolest people. As a longtime fashion and interiors photographer, it’s only to be expected that he’d be welcome in the homes of Karl Lagerfeld, Simon Doonan, Christian Louboutin, and Helena Christensen. But Todd also just seems to know crazy, quirky people, most of whom have the most crazy, kooky, splendid, lovely, drool-inducing houses and apartments I’ve ever seen. Take for instance Karl Lagerfeld’s jaw-dropping library or Simon Doonan’s giant foot sculpture that doubles as a ping-pong chair.

Not really an interior design book and not really just a photography book, The Selby in is Your Place is nevertheless just a book you want. It makes you excited about your home, opening doors in your mind as you start to imagine if your own apartment could ever look this cool. But it’s something about Todd’s eye, his genius for capturing moments and finding angles that wake up spaces and make them seem extraordinary. Oh and did I mention the book comes with stickers? Yeah, there are stickers.

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Title: I Am Plastic, Too

Author: Paul Budnitz

 

Who says toys are just for kids? I mean, seriously, you can’t tell me that you weren’t ecstatic that time you were at home digging through your old stuff and you happened upon your My Little Ponies! Or your Pog collection! Man, I had a great slammer. What I’m trying to say is, we don’t have to be satisfied with the memories from our childhood. Because there’s a whole world of toys out there made just for you and me. And the best place to look for them is at Kidrobot. Or you could get a thorough overview of the designer toy world in a new Book From My Desk, I Am Plastic, Too. The second book from Kidrobot, this volume contains all the hottest artists and illustrators pumping out creepy, crazy, and cute little toys perfect for your cubicle. I have a Santa with a skull-and-bones Santa hat and a bottle of boozy eggnog looking at me right now! He’s been celebrating all year round and is just working up to the holiday buzz.

Suddenly I really, really wanted that Smorkin’ Labbit (a rabbit with a cigar for the uninitiated). The big silver one! Or this awesome blinged-up Gorilla by Da TeamBronx. With toys from over 140 artists and companies from six continents, the book features all the latest, coolest collectibles. Some are one-of-a-kind creations that draw huge bids on eBay, while others go for a couple dollars on Kidrobot’s website. I’ve been eyeing that walrus plushie for awhile now. . . (click “Continue Reading” for pictures!) (more…)

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Doi Kham Phrueksa Treehouse Resort in Thailand

When I grow up, I want to live here:

Ok, not precisely there because I’m not planning to move to Thailand or anything. But isn’t this place amazing! It’s just one of the treehouses I found out about while working on New Treehouses of the World. The author, Pete Nelson, owns his own treehouse building company called Treehouse Workshop based in Seattle, WA. He even gives treehouse building seminars. The book includes many treehouses he built himself, along with ones he has discovered all over the world. Working with him was a great experience and as soon as my mother saw this book she wanted to know if he’d build us a treehouse, too . . . haven’t followed up with him about that yet.

My friends and I wanted to build a treehouse when we were kids, but Florida is relatively short on good house-bearing trees, so it turned out more like a platform hut than your typical house. We scouted out three perfectly spaced palm trees in my neighbor’s wild backyard and put up a triangular platform between them (ok, we had a little help from her dad). I remember spending all day collecting palm leaves to help “thatch” the roof. It turned out pretty raw, but it served its purpose: official neighborhood clubhouse. We would all tromp through those woods collecting berries, moss, and pond scum (yep, that seems gross now), and cart it up to the clubhouse to make “stew.” There were also official clubhouse rules and someone was President, though I can’t remember who now.

Pete’s treehouses are a lot more sophisticated. Most of them could be vacation homes, with beautiful verandas and balconies, and even running water and electricity. The book really captures what’s magical about living in the trees. People get excited when they see a treehouse, not just because it takes them back to being a kid, but also because there’s something almost primeval about living in the forest. I hope you’ll take a look at the book and watch out for my name in the acknowledgments (the first book in which I ever appear!).

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