James Blaylock – The Ebb Tide

James Blaylock has not been a prolific author in recent years, but with the release of Knights of the Cornerstone earlier this year, followed by the recent release of The Ebb Tide a new Langdon St. Ives short novel, he’s doing his best to make up for lost time. Blaylock is the progenitor of the Steampunk movement in literature and …


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The Art of Howard David Johnson

Some years ago I had the pleasure of working on some publishing projects with Howard David Johnson a local Austin artist who I met through a mutual friend. He was a classically trained artist who was working as a studio photographer at the time and was interested in getting back into art. I was working as an editor and art …


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Giving Your Page a Favicon

You may have noticed that on many pages you visit there is a little icon to the left of the address line in your browser which is unique to that page. For example, this page has a little color decorative initial of an “S” in that spot. This is what’s called a favicon, and it’s a way of identifying your …


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Sighting: Valdemar Font in Age of Misrule

While browsing through our local bookstore over the holiday weekend my eye was caught by a whole series of books which were using our Valdemar font prominently. The Age of Misrule book series by Mark Chadbourn features Valdemar as the main title for the series, so it appears on all the books in the series — three have been published …


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Found Artist: Darren Minke

Earlier this month I got a chance to attend the 31st Annual Old Pecan Street Festival in Austin with my family. It’s a huge street fair with lots of live music and arts and crafts vendors which sprawls down East 6th Street and this year sprawled somewhat over to 7th Street as well. There’s always something new and interesting to …


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It’s Trendy, but is it Art?

Of the various legacies of the Barack Obama presidency, the one which seized the cultural imagination first and may last the longest is the enormously popular poster image created by artist Shepard Fairey. The high-contrast, vertically split image has gone viral on the internet and assumed a place in the visual lexicon of American pop art alongside Andy Warhol’s Marilyn …


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Review: Anchorwick by Jeffrey Barlough

Anchorwickis the fifth and newest novel in Jeffrey Barlough’s Western Lights series. The series is set some centuries after the “sundering” which has separated a cluster of counties inhabited by what seem to be early-Victorian Englishmen from the rest of the world and strangely plunged them into what seems to be the Pleistocene ice-age, complete with mastodons, sabretooths, megatheres and …


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Review: New Books from James Blaylock

Sometimes it may seem like what I write here comes a bit out of left field, but rest assured there’s always method to my madness. In this case a bit of foreshadowing, or laying the groundwork for what’s to come a bit down the road. Which brings us the James Blaylock and his work, including his most recent novel, The …


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Seashore: Simple GIMP Image Editing for the Mac

When I previously reviewed the powerful but geeky GIMP image editor, I found fault with the difficulty of installation and unfamiliarity of the structure for novices and especially for Mac users. As it turns out, Mark Pazolli has adapted the basic GIMP engine to create Seashore, an image editor for the MacOS which addresses many of the concerns I had …


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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman has made a very impressive transition from writing popular graphic novels like Sandman to some very successful adult-oriented fantasy novels, including the recent Anansi Boys. Along the way he’s also produced all sorts of other interesting expressions of his storytelling skills, including movies based on his books like the forthcoming animated film based on his childrens graphic novel …


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Review: Compositor

In my ongoing quest for a low priced and powerful alternative to Photoshop I recently stumbled on an interesting graphic design package called Compositor from Artly There Software. The name Compositor is a reference to the process of photo compositing where images are combined together to create a new composite image, as in blue or green screening in movies. You …


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Ladies of Grace Adieu by Sussana Clarke

Sussana Clarke developed a unique alternative version of 19th century England with a touch of faerie and magic in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and continues that setting with a collection of charming short stories in The Ladies of Grace Adieu. The sheer length of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and the Dickensian style in which it is written makes …


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Designers: GIMP is Not the Answer

Just as I did a while ago with Desktop Publishing programs, I’ve started a search for a low-priced or freeware alternative to Photoshop with which both Mac and Windows users can do effective graphic design work without having to pay an outrageous price. By my calculation, if you bought Photoshop and kept it up to date over the course of …


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