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An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2011-05-22 05:23
Subject: [links] Link salad is still not in paradise
Security: Public
Tags:books, cool, culture, links, personal, photos, politics, publishing, religion, science, sex
Typography — Abi Sutherland on signalling of change through type. I think her criticism of SFnal print typography is perhaps not yet fully formed, but I take her point.

The world's most inspiring bookstoresFrom Gothic cathedrals to revamped factories, these spaces will make you rethink your Kindle.

A color photo from 1911 — Art Guru James Gurney with color photography (as it were) from very early on. I believe I've linked to the photo source collection before, in this post he briefly discusses both the original shooting technique and the modern reconstruction process.

Io: The Prometheus Plume — I am sucker for these outer moons photos from APOD.

Loose Bolts on Space Station Give Spacewalkers Trouble in Orbit — If only the headline had been "loose nuts"...

Playboy survey reveals Internet's impact on sex — Do I really need a NSFW tag on this one?

U.S. weather extremes show "new normal" climate — Darn that liberally biased reality. The weird thing is, climate change shouldn't be a partisan issue. It's sort of like gravity being a partisan issue. Or evolution. (Ahem.) There's nothing liberal about this, except insofar as willfully know-nothing conservatives set themselves in opposition to observable reality and overwhelming scientific consensus for purely ideological reasons. ("Piss off the liberals" and "punch a hippie" often seem to be the guiding principles of Republican thought.)

Jon Huntsman's Climate ProblemI'm not a meteorologist. All I know is 90 percent of the scientists say climate change is occurring. If 90 percent of the oncological community said something was causing cancer we’d listen to them. Intellectual sanity from a Republican on a reality-based issue? My god, the Rapture has come. Cue the Rush Limbaugh apology tour in 3... 2... 1...

Newt Gingrich’s meltdown on the launch pad — I wonder if Newt's "Don't quote me" rule applies to Right wing 'gotcha' quotes from progressive figures?

Bin Laden’s Gone. Can My Son Come Home? — Commentary from John Walker Lindh's father. Remember when the Right so loudly complained that Lindh was prima facie evidence of the traitorous nature of all liberals? Yet somehow every Right wing domestic terrorist is either a patriot or a rare exception. Eric Rudolph has a hell of a lot more in common with the GOP than Lindh ever did with any significant American political group.

?otD: Still here?

Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (WRPA nonfiction projects)
Body movement: suburban walking to come
Hours slept: 7.25 hours (fitful)
Weight: n/a (forgot)
Currently (re)reading: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

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User: history_monk
Date: 2011-05-22 13:24 (UTC)
Subject: Other reasons the right tends to disbelieve climate change
1) "Change is bad" Denying that things are changing allows one to continue living in the same way, which is always good, by conservative standards.

2) "Cars are good" The idea that a lifestyle built round cars, with no fallback, might be a bad idea in the long term has a lot to do with the related denial that oil can run out. It also allows people with cars to feel superior to those without.

3) "Our wealth is the natural order" The idea that things might be changing in ways that will undermine American wealth and power is naturally unwelcome.
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User: barbarienne
Date: 2011-05-22 16:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I feel exceptionally well qualified to comment on the use of SFnal (or not) typefaces to show alien cultures and languages, since I've designed literally hundreds of SF/F books for two major SF publishers.

What it boils down to is this: the book may be representing future or alien societies, but it's being published now. And whether it's in the midlist or a lead title, the publisher is not content to try to sell it just to SF wonks who might be attracted by some creative use of type; they're hoping to sell it to everyone, including people who are new to the genre, and might not react enthusiastically to a lot of alien typefaces.

More importantly, no one has either the budget or the time to dick around with cool typefaces. Text designers love to go to new faces, but in a mass market environment--and even if the book is published in hardcover, it may still be a mass market environment--the emphasis is on getting the damn thing done and out the door.

For more than a decade I made a living designing paperbacks and hardcovers as an in-house designer (and later manager) for one of the Big Five. I designed, no shit, more than 100 books per year (on top of designing back ads, setting random pages for pick-up designs, and piles of other pre-press and design work). I had approximately 3 hours to design a typical book.

I imagine there are designers who have more time, but in a big-house jobbing environment, this is pretty standard. I'm a decent designer, but the reason I now get freelance work isn't because I'm the best, but because I'm fast. Sometimes I'm "on", and other times I'm just cranking out something with typefaces I'm very familiar with.

There are a dearth of good, readable SFnal typefaces. I had a much easier time finding handwriting fonts, from "bubbly" teenage-girl handwriting, to something that looks as if it came from a quill pen.

My default "email" typeface was always Futura, since it was readable and came in a variety of weights. My default "computer interface" typeface was always Russell Square--again, legibility outweighed other factors. I wasn't going to commission or create an all-new typeface; neither was I going to fall back on something obvious and dated such as OCR-A or the myriad faces emulating old-school calculators or low-pixel, green-on-black computer screens.

Future typefaces would be great, but the only typefaces we have available are ones created now or in the past. The best a designer can do is try to avoid the obvious.
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User: pingback_bot
Date: 2011-05-22 16:43 (UTC)
Subject: On SFnal typefaces
User barbarienne referenced to your post from On SFnal typefaces saying: [...] Over at Jay Lake's blog [...]
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