The newly discovered Tapanuli orangutan of Sumatra

To the surprise to almost no one, I found this very interesting.

New Species of Orangutan Is Rarest Great Ape on Earth

On November 20, 2013, the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme got a call about an injured orangutan found in the mountainous region of Tapanuli.

 

“He had cuts on his face, on his head, back, hands, and legs,” recalls researcher Matt Nowak. “They even found some air rifle pellets inside his body”—indicating torment and harassment by people. Despite veterinary treatment, the orangutan, named Raya, died eight days later.

 

But Raya lives on as the representative member of a new orangutan species, Pongo tapanuliensis, or the Tapanuli orangutanthe rarest great ape species on the planet.

 

An adult male Tapanuli orangutan in the Batang Toru Forest.
PHOTOGRAPH BY TIM LAMAN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

The Simonsons are good people

I was looking over the Comicpalooza site, when I happened upon the Autograph and Photo Prices. Even though I find the act of charging for signatures largely deplorable, I was curious what people are demanding. While there are some free, most range from $25 to $50.

Two in particular stood out to me.

Simonson Louise No charge

Donations accepted for
Hero Initiative

Simonson Walt No charge

Donations accepted for
Hero Initiative

The Hero Initiative is a fantastic and sorely needed organization for comic book creators.

The Hero Initiative is the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic book creators in need. Hero creates a financial safety net for yesterdays’ creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. It’s a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment.

This further cements Walt Simonson as one of my favorite artists. Apparently, he’s a good human being as well.

The legendary Sidney Bechet was born 118 years ago

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(Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

Born in New Orleans on May 14, 1897, Sydney Bechet was the first great Jazz clarinetist. He famously performed with many famous musicians including Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, and Josephine Baker. A master of improvisation, Bechet often played lead parts that were usually reserved for trumpets.

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In 2004, Tachyon produced a chapbook of Bechet’s OMAR, a tale of of passion, danger, and betrayal in the Bayou.  Infused with voodoo, love, music, and death, the chronicle is wrought out of a brutal period in American history, passed down by a family born into slavery. It is jazz legend Sidney Bechet’s story.

Sidney Bechet died in Paris on May 14, 1959 at the age of 62.

For more about Sidney Betchet, visit The Sidney Bechet Society.

For more about OMAR, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover by William Reid.

Look what just arrived at the Geek Compound!

As chronicled here, Hannu Rajaniemi visited the Tachyon offices in San Francisco. Many thanks to the fine folks there who got me this inscribed copy. 

Tachyon fearless leader Jacob Weisman aiding Hannu.

There are times that I really love my job as Tachyon’s resident social media maven.

Photo by Jill Roberts

HANNU RAJANIEMI: COLLECTED FICTION cover art by Lius Lasahido. Design by Elizabeth Story.

Books received 5/11/2014 Del Rey edition

Let’s take a quick look to see what’s arrived at the Geek Compound.

The Best of Connie Willis
Award-Winning Stories

Promo copy:

Few authors have had careers as successful as that of Connie Willis. Inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and recently awarded the title of Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Willis is still going strong. Her smart, heartfelt fiction runs the gamut from screwball comedy to profound tragedy, combining dazzling plot twists, cutting-edge science, and unforgettable characters.

From a near future mourning the extinction of dogs to an alternate history in which invading aliens were defeated by none other than Emily Dickinson; from a madcap convention of bumbling quantum physicists in Hollywood to a London whose Underground has become a storehouse of intangible memories both foul and fair—here are the greatest stories of one of the greatest writers working in any genre today.

All ten of the stories gathered here are Hugo or Nebula award winners—some even have the distinction of winning both. With a new Introduction by the author and personal afterwords to each story—plus a special look at three of Willis’s unique public speeches—this is unquestionably the collection of the season, a book that every Connie Willis fan will treasure, and, to those unfamiliar with her work, the perfect introduction to one of the most accomplished and best-loved writers of our time.

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Chart of the Seven Men and the Two Natures or How To Save Your Soul in 12 Pages

One of my largely unknown idiosyncrasies is a fascination with the fire-and-brimstone aspects of Christianity. I have a modest collection of pamphlets and other publications and I’m always on the lookout for new additions.

This past weekend while thrifting with Brandy, my good friend Jessie found a new piece for my collection.

While not overly full of damnation, it was still plenty frightening enough.

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Stuff received 4/26/13

Let’s take a quick look to see what’s arrived at the Geek Compound.

The Darwin Elevator

by Jason M. Hough

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Jason M. Hough’s pulse-pounding debut combines the drama, swagger, and vivid characters of Joss Whedon’s Firefly with the talent of sci-fi author John Scalzi.

In the mid-23rd century, Darwin, Australia, stands as the last human city on Earth. The world has succumbed to an alien plague, with most of the population transformed into mindless, savage creatures. The planet’s refugees flock to Darwin, where a space elevator—created by the architects of this apocalypse, the Builders—emits a plague-suppressing aura.

Skyler Luiken has a rare immunity to the plague. Backed by an international crew of fellow “immunes,” he leads missions into the dangerous wasteland beyond the aura’s edge to find the resources Darwin needs to stave off collapse. But when the Elevator starts to malfunction, Skyler is tapped—along with the brilliant scientist, Dr. Tania Sharma—to solve the mystery of the failing alien technology and save the ragged remnants of humanity.

VR Troopers: Season Two, Vol. 1

Promo copy:

When three young teenagers are granted extraordinary powers, enabling them to transform into virtual superheroes, they’re charged with the task of defending our world from the encroaching powers of the evil mutant known as Grimlord. Join Ryan Steele and his best friends, Kaitlin Star and J.B. Reese as they battle the virtual horde as the VR Troopers!

The exciting second season begins here with the first 20 episodes!

Pathfinder Tales: Pirate's Honor

Pathfinder Tales: Pirate’s Honor

by Chris A. Jackson
Cover by Denman Rooke

Promo copy:

Rough Seas

A pirate captain of the Inner Sea, Torius Vin makes a living raiding wealthy merchant ships with his crew of loyal buccaneers. Few things matter more to Captain Torius than ill-gotten gold—but one of those is Celeste, his beautiful snake-bodied navigator. When a crafty courtesan offers the pirate crew a chance at the heist of a lifetime, it’s time for both man and naga to hoist the black flag and lead the Stargazer’s crew to fame and fortune. But will stealing the legendary Star of Thumen chart the corsairs a course to untold riches—or send them all to a watery grave?

From award-winning author Chris A. Jackson comes a fantastical new adventure of high-seas combat and romance set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

 

Books received 1/27/13 Del Rey edition

Let’s take a quick look to see what’s arrived at the Geek Compound.

The Best of All Possible Worlds: A Novel

The Best of All Possible Worlds

by Karen Lord

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Karen Lord’s debut novel, the multiple-award-winning Redemption in Indigo, announced the appearance of a major new talent—a strong, brilliantly innovative voice fusing Caribbean storytelling traditions and speculative fiction with subversive wit and incisive intellect. Compared by critics to such heavyweights as Nalo Hopkinson, China Miéville, and Ursula K. Le Guin, Lord does indeed belong in such select company—yet, like them, she boldly blazes her own trail.

Now Lord returns with a second novel that exceeds the promise of her first. The Best of All Possible Worlds is a stunning science fiction epic that is also a beautifully wrought, deeply moving love story.

A proud and reserved alien society finds its homeland destroyed in an unprovoked act of aggression, and the survivors have no choice but to reach out to the indigenous humanoids of their adopted world, to whom they are distantly related. They wish to preserve their cherished way of life but come to discover that in order to preserve their culture, they may have to change it forever.

Now a man and a woman from these two clashing societies must work together to save this vanishing race—and end up uncovering ancient mysteries with far-reaching ramifications. As their mission hangs in the balance, this unlikely team—one cool and cerebral, the other fiery and impulsive—just may find in each other their own destinies . . . and a force that transcends all.

The Daylight War: Book Three of The Demon Cycle

The Daylight War:
Book Three of The Demon Cycle

by Peter V. Brett
Cover by Larry Rostant

Promo copy:

With The Warded Man and The Desert Spear, Peter V. Brett surged to the front rank of contemporary fantasy, standing alongside giants in the field such as George R. R. Martin, Robert Jordan, and Terry Brooks. The Daylight War, the eagerly anticipated third volume in Brett’s internationally bestselling Demon Cycle, continues the epic tale of humanity’s last stand against an army of demons that rise each night to prey on mankind.

On the night of the new moon, the demons rise in force, seeking the deaths of two men, both of whom have the potential to become the fabled Deliverer, the man prophesied to reunite the scattered remnants of humanity in a final push to destroy the demon corelings once and for all.

Arlen Bales was once an ordinary man, but now he has become something more—the Warded Man, tattooed with eldritch wards so powerful they make him a match for any demon. Arlen denies he is the Deliverer at every turn, but the more he tries to be one with the common folk, the more fervently they believe. Many would follow him, but Arlen’s path threatens to lead to a dark place he alone can travel to, and from which there may be no returning.

The only one with hope of keeping Arlen in the world of men, or joining him in his descent into the world of demons, is Renna Tanner, a fierce young woman in danger of losing herself to the power of demon magic.

Ahmann Jardir has forged the warlike desert tribes of Krasia into a demon-killing army and proclaimed himself Shar’Dama Ka, the Deliverer. He carries ancient weapons—a spear and a crown—that give credence to his claim, and already vast swaths of the green lands bow to his control.

But Jardir did not come to power on his own. His rise was engineered by his First Wife, Inevera, a cunning and powerful priestess whose formidable demon bone magic gives her the ability to glimpse the future. Inevera’s motives and past are shrouded in mystery, and even Jardir does not entirely trust her.

Once Arlen and Jardir were as close as brothers. Now they are the bitterest of rivals. As humanity’s enemies rise, the only two men capable of defeating them are divided against each other by the most deadly demons of all—those lurking in the human heart.

The Night of the Swarm (Chathrand Voyage)

The Night of the Swarm

by Robert V.S. Redick
Cover by Craig Howell

Promo copy:

Robert V. S. Redick brings his acclaimed fantasy series The Chathrand Voyage to a triumphant close that merits comparison to the work of such masters as George R. R. Martin, Philip Pullman, and J.R.R. Tolkien himself. The evil sorcerer Arunis is dead, yet the danger has not ended. For as he fell, beheaded by the young warrior-woman Thasha Isiq, Arunis summoned the Swarm of Night, a demonic entity that feasts on death and grows like a plague. If the Swarm is not destroyed, the world of Alifros will become a vast graveyard. Now Thasha and her comrades—the tarboy Pazel Pathkendle and the mysterious wizard Ramachni—begin a quest that seems all but impossible. Yet there is hope: One person has the power to stand against the Swarm: the great mage Erithusmé. Long thought dead, Erithusmé lives, buried deep in Thasha’s soul. But for the mage to live again, Thasha Isiq may have to die.

God of War II

God of War II

by Robert E. Vardeman
Cover by Charlie Wen

Promo copy:

All the majesty and mayhem of Greek mythology springs to life once more in the powerful second novel based on the bestselling and critically acclaimed God of War® franchise.

Once the mighty warrior Kratos was a slave to the gods, bound to do their savage bidding. After destroying Ares, the God of War, Kratos was granted his freedom by Zeus—and even given the ousted god’s throne on Olympus.

But the other gods of the pantheon didn’t take kindly to Kratos’s ascension and, in turn, conspired against him. Banished, Kratos must ally himself with the despised Titans, ancient enemies of the Olympians, in order to take revenge and silence the nightmares that haunt him.

God of War II takes the videogame’s action to electrifying new heights, and adds ever more fascinating layers to the larger-than-life tale of Kratos.

Books received 1/27/13 Pyr edition

Let’s take a quick look to see what’s arrived at the Geek Compound.

 

Power Under Pressure (The Society of Steam, Book Three)

Power Under Pressure
(The Society of Steam, Book Three)

by Andrew P. Mayer
Cover by Justin Gerard
Interior illustrations by Nicholas Stahlman

Promo copy:

This is an adrenaline-fuelled steam-punk adventure series that will have you one the edge of your seat to the very last page. The Society of Paragons is gone – destroyed from within by traitors and enemies. With the death of The Industrialist and the rebirth of the Iron-Clad as a monstrous half-human creature known as “The Shell,” Lord Eschaton now has almost everything he needs to cover the world in fortified smoke and rebuild it in his image – everything except for the mechanical heart of the Automaton. The device is nearer than he knows. Just across the East River, hiding in a Brooklyn Junkyard, Sarah Stanton is trying to come to restore the mechanical man to life. But before she can rebuild her friend, she must first discover the indomitable power of her own heart and save herself. Only then will she be able to forge a ragtag group of repentant villains, damaged Paragons, and love-mad geniuses into the team of heroes known as “The Society of Steam.”

The Crossing (Blood of the Lamb: Book One)

The Crossing
(Blood of the Lamb: Book One)

by Mandy Hager
Cover by Larry Rostant

Promo copy:

A compelling dystopian novel;

winner of the 2010 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards: Young Adult Fiction

Maryam refused to play by the Rules, and now they’re out to get her blood. . .
The people of Onewere, a small island in the Pacific, know that they are special—chosen by the great Apostles of the Lamb to survive the deadly Tribulation that consumed the Earth. Now, from their Holy City in the rotting cruise ship Star of the Sea, the Apostles control the population—manipulating texts from the Holy Book to implant themselves as living gods. But what the people of Onewere don’t know is this: the white elite will stop at nothing to meet their own bloodthirsty needs . . .

When Maryam crosses from child to woman, she must leave everything she has ever known and make a Crossing of another kind. But life inside the Holy City is not as she had dreamed, and she is faced with the unthinkable: obey the Apostles and very likely die, or turn her back on every belief she once held dear.

The Crossing is a fast, suspenseful drama underpinned by a powerful and moving story
about love and loss.

 

Earth Girl

Earth Girl

by Janet Edwards

Promo copy:

Just because she’s confined to the planet, doesn’t mean she can’t reach for the stars.

2788. Only the handicapped live on Earth. Eighteen-year-old Jarra is among the one in a thousand people born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Sent to Earth at birth to save her life, she has been abandoned by her parents. She can’t travel to other worlds, but she can watch their vids, and she knows all the jokes they make. She’s an “ape,” a “throwback,” but this is one ape girl who won’t give in.

Jarra makes up a fake military background for herself and joins a class of norms who are on Earth for a year of practical history studies excavating the dangerous ruins of the old cities. She wants to see their faces when they find out they’ve been fooled into thinking an ape girl was a norm. She isn’t expecting to make friends with the enemy, to risk her life to save norms, or to fall in love.

 

The Devil's Looking Glass (The Swords of Albion, Book 3)

The Devil’s Looking Glass
(The Swords of Albion, Book 3)

by Mark Chadbourn
Cover by Chris McGrath

Promo copy:

James Bond adventure in the court of Queen Elizabeth!

 

1593: The dreaded alchemist, magician, and spy Dr. John Dee is missing. . . .
Terror sweeps through the court of Queen Elizabeth, for in Dee’s possession is an obsidian mirror, an object of great power which, legend says, could set the world afire. And so the call goes out to celebrated swordsman, adventurer and rake Will Swyfte—find Dee and his looking glass and return them to London before disaster strikes. But when Will discovers the mirror might solve the mystery that has haunted him for years—the fate of his lost love, Jenny—the stakes become acutely personal.

With London under siege by supernatural powers, time is running out. Will is left with no choice but to pursue the alchemist to the devil-haunted lands of the New World—in the very shadow of the terrifying fortress home of the Unseelie Court. Surrounded by an army of unearthly fiends, with only his sword and a few brave friends at his back, the realm’s greatest spy must be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice—or see all he loves destroyed.