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Christmas gift suggestions

Here’s a few nice things that people I internet-stalk have produced lately. (“Things”, haha, of course they’re all books.) No, these are not suggestions for getting me gifts. In fact, I’ve already got myself at least one item from this list, but I’m not telling you what, so you dursen’t gift me for fear of doubleups. So there.

First up, three for lovers of obscure facts and oddities. I haven’t read any of these yet, but they come from people with good online track records so I expect they’ll be good value.

Mark Rosenfelder has published The Conlanger’s Lexipedia. A “conlanger” is a person who invents languages, but he also claims it to be “Perfect for conlangers, conworlders, language freaks, firefighters, actuaries, Methodists, snipers, spies, baritones, lepidopterists, Mind Flayers, and gnolls!” (I suspect the list is not exhaustive.) I’ve spent many happy hours lost in his site but I didn’t realise he wrote books: this seems to be his fifth (including a novel), but I can’t find a page listing them all at once. Anyway, I would expect this one to be entertaining and informative even if you’re not inventing languages. And if you’re considering buying it, it seems like now might be a good moment.

Greg Ross has a book out, titled after the site whose high points it collects: Futility Closet. “An idlers miscellany of compendious amusements”, who could resist that?

Kevin Underhill has also collected some blog material, under the more imaginative title of The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance (almost titled The Brazilian stutterers’ discount, which if anything would have made me more likely to buy it). This is a collection of odd laws (subtitle: “And Other Real Laws that Human Beings Actually Dreamed Up, Enacted, and Have Sometimes Even Enforced”), a spin-off project from his legal-humour blog, Lowering the Bar.

And then there are my standard plugs for two comic projects I think are especially worth supporting:

I thought John Allison had a new Bad Machinery book out, but I must have been dreaming. So there is still the first one (also in hardcover), which is very lovely, and plenty of other merch while we wait for the next Bad Machinery case to hit print.

And Volume 4 of Tom Siddell’s Gunnerkrigg Court has been out in hardcover for a while; he’s also just added the spin-off Annie in the Forest to his site (it’s also available in print).

I think it was John Allison who said something like —I’m failing at finding the quote at the moment, which may mean that he said something completely different and it wasn’t him who said it anyway, but in any case here’s what I remember him, or possibly someone else, saying, roughly paraphrased— “Working in webcomics is like giving away hotdogs for free, then trying to make a living from selling tshirts about them.” Which I think means, when these folk do find a way to actually sell you, you know, the hotdog itself, it’s great to encourage them (and more importantly, the hotdog publishers, I’m not sure this metaphor is really working with me any more) by buying hotdogs. Their comics in print, I mean.


  1. S. glaber wrote:

    This is what you were looking for from Mr Allison: “Making a living from webcomics is like being a plumber who fixes a customer’s pipes for free then sells them a sandwich to make ends meet.” Fortunately he, and several of my other favourite webcomic artists, have started selling PDFs of their work, which is handy for people like me who want the plumbing not the sandwich, but move house too often to buy many books. I, too, thought that Bad Machinery 2 was out because I’d seen it on Amazon, but on inspection it’s only for pre-order, with an ETA of March.

    Also, thanks for the link to Annie in the Forest — I thought it was print only and am now rejoicing that I can read it online.

    If you want more printified webcomics to ask people not to buy you, I can recommend Derelict and The Abominable Charles Christopher.

    Monday, December 9, 2013 at 2:39 am | Permalink
  2. tikitu wrote:

    Thanks Sponts. Hard to google “plumber” when you keep typing “hotdog”.

    That BM2 pre-order is probably what I meant, too.

    I am resolutely resisting checking out those other webcomics, because I have a nasty suspicion they might have … archives.

    Monday, December 9, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink
  3. tikitu wrote:

    Oh, I had a twitter exchange with Allison sometime last year, because I was confused about how resistant he was to offering PDFs. It seems they don’t sell at all unless they’re heavily marked down from print price, at which point they compete mightily with print editions. Damned either way kind of situation.

    Monday, December 9, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink
  4. tikitu wrote:

    So yeah, Derelict kept me up until 2am this morning, and The Abominable Charles has archives from 2008… You terrible tempter you.

    Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink