Staff Picks: Fantasy Writer Ian MacLeod

All books here.

from this review:

Several hundred years ago a magical substance known as aether was discovered in England, and it changed the world in this beautifully written, complex fantasy novel, British author MacLeod’s second (after the underrated The Great Wheel). Kings were overthrown. Aether-based industries flourished. Now, near the end of the Third Age of Industry (roughly the equivalent of our Victorian Age), great Guilds run the nation. Powerful captains of industry live like nobility, while the impoverished masses risk their lives mining, refining and working with the dangerous substance that supports the economy. Cracks are beginning to show in society, however. The poor are getting poorer. Quality workmanship is hard to find. Those who come into too much contact with aether often mutate into sometimes monstrous creatures called changelings. Worse still, there are dark rumors that the aether may be running out. The narrator, Robert Borrows, who rises from near-poverty as the son of a humble guildsman, falls in love with a changeling, participates in the revolution that brings the Third Age to its end and winds up among the masters of the new world that rises out of its ruins. With its strong character development and gritty, alternate London, this book won’t attract fans of Robert Jordan or Terry Goodkind, but should hold great appeal to readers who love the more sophisticated fantasy of Michael Swanwick, John Crowley or even China Miéville.

Featured Author: Jane Jacobs

Jane Jacobs was a fascinating thinker, economist, urban studies and public policy theorist. Her work addresses the growth of cities and their economies.

Here are some interesting ideas she poses in her work The Economy of Cities.

Why adding new work to old work is crucial to growing an economy (instead of merely dividing existing work more)

Why loosely structured and inefficient economies are better suited to survive change.
Why cities predated agriculture as we know it.
How cities can replace imported goods with their own industries.
Why some villages grow into cities and some do not.
How the design of urban spacies can either promote order or hinder it.

If you are studying urban studies, public policy or economics you need to read her.

For some reason, she has two entries in the catalog. One here, the other here.

Finding Books Outside Alkek Library

Here’s how to find books and other materials that the Alkek Library doesn’t own.

Use Worldcat to search the world’s libraries at once. Request the item you want through interlibrary loan (for books, expect the process to take a minimum of 6 to 8 days). The tutorial below also shows you how to search area libraries if you want to get the item immediately (if you have a Texshare card).

Worldcat video

Nutshell And Demystified Books Provide Great Introductions To Complex Topics

These books are great introductions to legal topics such as arbitration, contracts, corporate finance, copyright law and more.

You need a good introduction to a HARD topic. Written to get you started, and as intelligent as you are.You already know what the median and mode are; you need a discussion of Bayesian probability, or 12 ways of looking at correlation, or population distribution, etc.

Enter the wonderful Demystified series.

Here are some examples.

Business Stats Demystified.
Stats Demystified
Probability Demystified

Passings: Stan Lee (Marvel Comics)

Stan Lee Books Here

Spider-Man, the Hulk, The Fantastic Four, Iron-Man, Captain America, Black Panther, Nick Fury, Silver Surfer, and countless more Marvel creations helped bring a new dimension into comics.

Be sure to check out the graphic novels collection on the third floor. it features many collections of classic comics as well as collectors’ editions of artist editions of many Marvel comics.

Spiderman For blog

From this obituary:

The quintessential Lee hero, introduced in 1962 and created with the artist Steve Ditko (1927-2018), was Spider-Man.

A timid high school intellectual who gained his powers when bitten by a radioactive spider, Spider-Man was prone to soul-searching, leavened with wisecracks — a key to the character’s lasting popularity across multiple entertainment platforms, including movies and a Broadway musical.

Mr. Lee’s dialogue encompassed Catskills shtick, like Spider-Man’s patter in battle; Elizabethan idioms, like Thor’s; and working-class Lower East Side swagger, like the Thing’s. It could also include dime-store poetry, as in this eco-oratory about humans, uttered by the Silver Surfer, a space alien:

“And yet — in their uncontrollable insanity — in their unforgivable blindness — they seek to destroy this shining jewel — this softly spinning gem — this tiny blessed sphere — which men call Earth!”

Mr. Lee practiced what he called the Marvel method: Instead of handing artists scripts to illustrate, he summarized stories and let the artists draw them and fill in plot details as they chose. He then added sound effects and dialogue.