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Topics - Tashia Howk

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News / Why Jonathan Franzen hates you?
« on: September 21, 2013, 04:09:09 AM »
From his privileged perch, Franzen can pick and choose, deciding which British newspaper gets the honor of running his 5600-word condemnation of self-promotion that ends with an unironic hyperlinked invitation to buy his new book.

News / Angry entrepreneur replies to patent troll with racketeering lawsuit.
« on: September 17, 2013, 10:30:48 AM »
Patent trolls are legal.  Can one be nailed for extortion? One man is betting yes.

Kindle and e-book news / Amazon today introduced Kindle MatchBook...
« on: September 03, 2013, 10:11:59 AM »
... a new benefit that gives customers the option to buy—for $2.99, $1.99, $0.99, or free—the Kindle edition of print books they have purchased new from Amazon. Print purchases all the way back to 1995—when Amazon first opened its online bookstore—will qualify once a publisher enrolls a title in Kindle MatchBook. Over 10,000 books will already be available when Kindle MatchBook launches in October, including best sellers like I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving and The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch, with many more titles to be added over time. Customers can learn more by visiting

“If you logged onto your CompuServe account during the Clinton administration and bought a book like Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus from Amazon, Kindle MatchBook now makes it possible for that purchase—18 years later—to be added to your Kindle library at a very low cost,” said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President of Kindle Content. “In addition to being a great new benefit for customers, this is an easy choice for publishers and authors who will now be able to earn more from each book they publish.”

Bundling print and digital has been one of the most requested features from customers. With Kindle MatchBook, they can keep their favorite book on their shelf, and have a copy in their digital library for reading, perhaps re-reading it with features like X-Ray and Popular Highlights.

“I love this idea. It’s simple, brilliant, and good for everybody,” said best-selling author Marcus Sakey. “I love to have print books on my shelf, but I love reading my Kindle on the go, and there are plenty of titles I’d like both ways. It’s ridiculous to ask readers to pay full retail twice for the same book.”

Kindle MatchBook features include:

Kindle editions at a great price: Amazon customers who purchase or have purchased qualifying print books can get the Kindle edition for prices that are typically $2.99, $1.99, $0.99, or free.
For book purchases dating back to 1995: Print purchases all the way back to 1995—when Amazon first opened its online bookstore—will qualify once a publisher enrolls a title in Kindle MatchBook.
Easy discovery: Readers can easily look up their entire print book order history to discover which of their past purchases are enrolled in Kindle MatchBook.
Popular Kindle-only features: As with regular purchases, Kindle MatchBook titles have unique features such as Whispersync, Popular Highlights, and X-Ray.

Read anywhere capabilities: In addition to Amazon’s best-selling Kindle devices, customers can download a free Kindle reading app for iPhone, iPad, Android tablets and phones, PC or Mac and start building their Kindle library today.

Kindle MatchBook will launch with books from Ray Bradbury, Michael Crichton, Blake Crouch, James Rollins, Jodi Picoult, Neil Gaiman, Marcus Sakey, Wally Lamb, Jo Nesbo, Neal Stephenson, and J.A. Jance, among others. In addition, Amazon Publishing will include all its titles in Kindle MatchBook. Authors and publishers using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) can enroll their books in the program today by visiting

Press Releases / Festival in the Shire is only a few weeks away.
« on: August 29, 2013, 08:56:49 AM »
We are pleased to announce that our next Festival in the Shire event will take place in Aberdeen, Scotland, from September 12-15th, 2013. It is being organised by Mark Faith’s Festival Art and Books in association with the Artist Gallery and held at their premises in Holburn Street, Aberdeen.

The event will include an exhibition of fantasy art including album covers and Tolkien inspired art. Also on show will be a selection of rare Tolkien first edition books and collectable posters. World renowned artist Rodney Matthews, who has taken his talents to the world of fantasy art with great success, and a man who in the past has created album covers for rock bands such as Thin Lizzy, Asia and Magnum will be there to give a talk, present his work and sign your prints. Other artists include Ruth Lacon, Joe Gilronan, Ted Nasmith and Roger Dean and many more. There will also be a collection of vintage Tolkien posters.

Mark Faith, founder of Festival Art and Books and Festival in the Shire, is not only Rodney Matthews’ agent and a prolific collector of rare Tolkien first edition books and posters, he is also a Tolkien expert who has recently showcased his knowledge of the subject on a number of television programs including Channel 4’s auction show Four Rooms. The event is to coincide with the airing of a new UK History channel series entitled Pawn Stars UK. Pawn Stars is one of the History Channel’s flagship shows. The original US show was the second most viewed show in North America. Rodney Matthews and Mark Faith will be in an episode screening on the September 9th at 9pm. There will be another chance to see Mark Faith on screen when he appears on a second episode in which he will showcase his rare complete set of the first ten Hobbit impressions on Monday, September 23rd. All of the books are in exceptional condition and took over four years to bring together making a truly unique collection.

About Mark Faith
Mark started in the rare book dealing business as Mark Faith Books (MFB) in January 2003, mostly as a hobby. As time went on MFB became more and more specialized and began primarily dealing in Tolkien books and memorabilia. Despite this Mark very quickly began dealing in millions of pounds worth of rare items. He was dealing with the most valuable and rarest pieces from the beginning, items including a signed Hobbit book which sold for £54,000 and a rare Lord of the Rings set which went for £75,000. This baptism of fire has made him one of the leading Tolkien dealers today. Mark is now trading under the name of Festival Art and Books.

He has helped a number of collectors to become more comprehensive in their knowledge of Tolkien and has recently supplied some of the rarest and most important items to a private Tolkien museum opening in Switzerland this autumn. One avid collector who is a big fan of Mark’s business and describes his dealing with him in the following way, “Mark introduced me to the works of Tolkien a few years ago and he is now coaching me on all things Tolkien and is helping me build up a pragmatic collection. His knowledge and contacts are incredible, they are to die for and I have no hesitation in recommending Mark’s work.”

Festival Art and Books:

About Festival in the Shire
Mark used his expertise and extensive contact list to hold one of the biggest Tolkien events in 2010 – Festival in the Shire. Held over three days, there was a comprehensive list of Tolkien experts giving lectures. Art show, stalls, entertainment and fan expo.

Festival in the Shire

August 2010 Festival, Fan Expo and Conference over three days (

We also produce 2-3 smaller, local fan events in the UK and Europe.

Other Events:
August 2011 Machynlleth, Wales. Art exhibition, rare books and artists
September 2012 Leiden, Holland. 75th Anniversary of the Hobbit. Art exhibition, rare books and Tolkien merchandise and a program of talks

About Rodney Matthews
Rodney Matthews has worked as a designer-illustrator for over 30 years. He has illustrated album covers (including Thin Lizzy, Barclay James Harvest, Rick Wakeman and Magnum among others), video games, fairy tales, children’s literature and book dust jackets. Over 80 of his designs have been published as poster prints, selling in millions world-wide. His talents are world renowned. For example, John Cleese places him “among the greatest artists who have ever lived.” His works have been exhibited in Britain’s most prestigious galleries, and he has held one-man exhibitions in variety of places including Switzerland.

His very unique style has earned him a loyal following of fans, who have seen his illustrations in connection with some of the literary worlds biggest names including C.S Lewis, Kenneth Graham, Lewis Carroll and of course Tolkien.

About Four Rooms

Channel 4’s hugely popular television show Four Rooms offers sellers of valuable and collectable items, a chance to pitch their items to four of the UK’s biggest dealers. Up to 30 dealers are rotated throughout the series to give the viewers variety. They range from the art collector and academic Ruth Meakin to the interior designer and A list dealer Celia Sawyer. Mark did not accept any offers for his Lord of the Rings first editions when he appeared on the show but recently sold the set for £15,000.

Further information:

The founders of book recommendation site Lovereading have said they are “baffled and shocked” by Amazon’s decision to terminate its affiliate programme linking titles to the Amazon website.

News / Print me a moon base, please.
« on: February 01, 2013, 02:03:03 PM »
Setting up a lunar base could be made much simpler by using a 3D printer to build it from local materials. Industrial partners including renowned architects Foster + Partners have joined with ESA to test the feasibility of 3D printing using lunar soil.

“Terrestrial 3D printing technology has produced entire structures,” said Laurent Pambaguian, heading the project for ESA. “Our industrial team investigated if it could similarly be employed to build a lunar habitat.”

Foster + Partners devised a weight-bearing ‘catenary’ dome design with a cellular structured wall to shield against micrometeoroids and space radiation, incorporating a pressurised inflatable to shelter astronauts. A hollow closed-cell structure – reminiscent of bird bones – provides a good combination of strength and weight. The base’s design was guided in turn by the properties of 3D-printed lunar soil, with a 1.5 tonne building block produced as a demonstration.

“3D printing offers a potential means of facilitating lunar settlement with reduced logistics from Earth,” added Scott Hovland of ESA’s human spaceflight team. “The new possibilities this work opens up can then be considered by international space agencies as part of the current development of a common exploration strategy.”

“As a practice, we are used to designing for extreme climates on Earth and exploiting the environmental benefits of using local, sustainable materials,” remarked Xavier De Kestelier of Foster + Partners Specialist Modelling Group. “Our lunar habitation follows a similar logic.”

The UK’s Monolite supplied the D-Shape printer, with a mobile printing array of nozzles on a 6 m frame to spray a binding solution onto a sand-like building material. 3D ‘printouts’ are built up layer by layer – the company more typically uses its printer to create sculptures and is working on artificial coral reefs to help preserve beaches from energetic sea waves.

“First, we needed to mix the simulated lunar material with magnesium oxide. This turns it into ‘paper’ we can print with,” explained Monolite founder Enrico Dini.  “Then for our structural ‘ink’ we apply a binding salt which converts material to a stone-like solid. Our current printer builds at a rate of around 2 m per hour, while our next-generation design should attain 3.5 m per hour, completing an entire building in a week.”

News / Doctor Who series 7 news accumulator!
« on: November 13, 2012, 06:22:12 AM »
A fantastic round-up of everything known about the next set of Dr Who stories, including nuggets of gold on the Neil Gaiman episode.

News / Official Synopsis for Iron Man III!
« on: October 20, 2012, 08:17:09 AM »
Are you ready for an Iron Man 3 attack? Next week we see the first trailer and a “sneak preview”. In the meantime, here's the Official Synopsis...

Kindle and e-book news / Panic time at Amazon.
« on: October 20, 2012, 02:56:00 AM »
Amazon is being killed in the print book market by the de-facto boycott of its publishing arm by all the main book stores, finds the Wall Street Journal. Unless they can up printed novel sales, no agent is going to bring them a big name author again!!

News / Navy Lasers’ First Target: Enemy Drones!
« on: October 10, 2012, 05:38:07 AM »
One of the first tasks the Navy expects to assign its forthcoming arsenal of laser guns: shooting down drones that menace its ships.

News / Luke Scott Loom’s large over scifi movies.
« on: August 30, 2012, 04:32:20 AM »
When Ridley Scott is your dad, you might think that somewhere in the back of Luke Scott’s mind is the thought that he has got a lot to live up to.

News / Star Wars Detours.
« on: August 25, 2012, 05:37:15 AM »
For those that like their Star Wars live action-stylee and believe that the Clone Wars is a step too far for the Lucas Film franchising monster, you may want to avert your delicate eyes now, for Seth Green’s Star Wars: Detours send-up is nearly upon us.

News / Putting humans on Mars - it *will* happen!
« on: August 25, 2012, 03:31:28 AM »
Extrapolating from current robotic developments, we will have super-fast, ultra-light spacecraft propelled by lightsails that will enable interstellar travel with the human brain, but not the body. The human brain will be integrated with that of the spacecraft, utilizing advances even more profound than those in the physical and electronic technologies.

News / James Cameron will shoot 3 “Avatar” sequels at same time.
« on: June 26, 2012, 11:15:05 AM »
Sigourney Weaver confirmed tonight that James Cameron is shooting “Avatar” 2, 3, and 4 all at the same time, all with her, and starting this fall. But first…

News / Fringe season five confirmed.
« on: April 27, 2012, 12:31:25 AM »
Fox has remained unusually loyal to Fringe, and commissioned a fifth and final, 13-episode season of the JJ Abrams-produced show. It’s the very definition of bittersweet news, isn’t it?

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