News

Sparks of Fire Holiday Special!

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Between now and the end of the year, when you buy the first copy at full price, you can add additional copies at only $15 (foreign $28). Half off! You also get a free gift of a Sparks of Fire Press “Artistic License” (for every book ordered) sent in a mail art envelope. Now you’ll never be without the permission you need to let your creative juices exceed culturally-imposed limits. You’ll be LICENSED! Order your copies here.

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“An Evening with Gareth Branwyn,” at Salon Contra in DC, Next Monday

Join me next Monday, Sept 22, for a special Pink Line Project “Salon Contra” event.

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contraLogoAn Evening with Gareth Branwyn
Monday, September 22
6:30-8pm
@Pink Line Project HQ (details provided after RSVP)

Author and cyberculture pioneer, Gareth Branwyn, will be here to talk about his new book, Borg Like Me & Other Tales of Art, Eros, and Embedded Systems. If you’ve already been to one of Gareth’s DC readings, this will be slightly different, more interactive and conversational. Gareth will share stories around the book and his very colorful life, read a few passages, and he says he’s going to perform a magick ritual. Seriously. He’ll also have books for sale. RSVP here: email hidden; JavaScript is required

Hope to see you there!

I Did a Reddit Ask Me Anything

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On Thursday, I did an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit, talking about some of the subjects covered in Borg Like Me. There’s one question asked (and my answer):

Question: In the book The End of Absence, author Michael Harris points out that we are the last generation alive that remembers before the InterWebNet was born. I’m no Luddite, I may be online too much since my health forced me to quit my very physical work. I find it harder and harder not to want love and reinforcement from my social media “friends”. The 56K ping of a modem dialing still makes me smile. As a borg and jacked-in to the world as you are, how do you cut those wires, now invisible? Is it even possible?

Answer: You know, as someone who’s been such a breathless cheerleader of all this virtuality, I’m started to become annoyed with certain aspects of it — like the constant desire for “thumby” validation on FB, the endless selfies, and endless kitty-cat videos, pop culture memes, etc. I think, in many ways, the maker movement is a reaction to such overwhelming virtuality — going back to getting our hands dirty.

I think we’re going to need to learn to be far more digitally self-disciplined, to have unplugged days. I’ve been thinking about taking off from socmedia every other day, as an experiment. It’s staggering to think the amount of lost productivity to socmedia and online frivolity and self-absorption.

When my son was in grade school, they had a media literacy class, to teach kids how to be critical of media, advertising, internet content, etc. I think we need a similar thing for online presence/digital self-discipline: how to effectively manage your usage, how to parse socmedia content and weed out the growing satire/hoax content, how to balance online and offline human connections, and so forth. I think Doug Rushkoff is onto something with his recent book, Present Shock.

Read the entire discussion here.

Borg Like Me: The Soundtrack

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In Borg Like Me, I have a series of “Immersive Media Notes,” with suggestions for music to play while you’re reading the essays (or before/after). I’ve created a Borg Like Me soundtrack on Spotify which includes all of the songs mentioned in the book.

You can access it here.

Press Resources

Please help me get the word out on Borg Like Me. Since this is a crowdfunded/self-published project, all of the PR rests on me. I’d be ever so grateful if you’d help me spread the word. Tell your friends about the book, buy copies to hand out, send my press materials to anyone you think might be interested in covering it, share links of your blog or social media.

Front Cover (high res)

Back Cover (high res)

Author reading two essays from the book:

Chapter Zero: The Launch Party (http://youtu.be/teZd9tIv4Pk)

Tears in the Rain (http://youtu.be/nYaXEcxCan4)

Published excerpts:

Borg Like Me (title essay on Boing Boing)
boingboing.net/2014/07/10/borg-like-me.html

A VCR Was Harmed in the Making of This Article (on MAKE)
makezine.com/2014/08/26/borg-like-me-an-excerpt-about-perseverance/

Tweet Line:
Read Borg Like Me, @garethb2’s smart, passionate, intense trip along the bleeding edges of art, tech, and culture. http://amzn.to/1maeU2t

What others are saying:

“Borg Like Me is a song of hope.” – Casey Rae, Future of Music Coalition

“Borg Like Me is fantastic!” – RU Sirius (countercultural iconoclast and Mondo 2000 founder)

“Amazing” – Mark Frauenfelder – (Boing Boing founder)

“If it wasn’t for your early writing… I probably wouldn’t have been inspired to do the stuff I’m doing.” -Tom Igoe (co-creator of the Arduino microcontroller and beloved NYU/TISCH professor)

Download the full press release

Announcing the “Hard Launch” of Borg Like Me

We consider the July release of Borg Like Me to be a soft launch, designed to fulfill all of the Kickstarter backer rewards and to work out all of the bugs for order fulfillment. Now that all of that is sorted out and fall is upon us, it’s time to launch this baby with as much powder as we can pack into the motor tubes. Here is the release that’s going out to the press.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sept 2, 2014, Arlington, VA –Sparks of Fire Press is pleased to announce the release of Borg Like Me & Other Tales of Art, Eros, and Embedded Systems, a best-of collection and “poor man’s memoir” from cyberculture pioneer and maker movement midwife, Gareth Branwyn. This heavily-illustrated, beautifully-produced volume chronicles Branwyn’s personal and professional journey, from his coming of age in a commune, to his involvement in the 90s “zine scene” (desktop published small mags), to his tenure at such influential cyber arts/culture rags such as Mondo 2000, bOING bOING, Wired, and his eight years at MAKE, spearheading the growing maker movement.

Previously published material is woven throughout with Branwyn’s unabashedly honest commentary, personal anecdotes, and original essays. Read about the smart-druggies behind Mondo 2000, impersonating Billy Idol in cyberspace (for Billy Idol), the making of the iconic early 90s hypermedia book, Beyond Cyberpunk! (hailed by MacWeek as “revolutionary”), and essays on the growth of the maker movement and Gareth’s elected “maker saints.”

Borg Like Me was crowdfunded (via a successful 2013 Kickstarter campaign), self-published, and is being printed on demand. Nearly two dozen noted artists contributed existing and original drawings, photos, and sculptural objects to illustrate the book. These contributors range from comic book well-knowns Shannon Wheeler, Danny Hellman, and John Bergin, to fine artists Terri Weifenbach and James Huckenpahler, to iconic found-object artists Jeremy Mayer, Greg Brotheron, and Nemo Gould. Even Mark Frauenfelder (Boing Boing founder and former editor at Wired and MAKE) contributed artwork (as well as the book’s touching foreword). Borg Like Me contains 33 illustrations in all.

Borg Like Me is a smart, personal, and passionate trip along the bleeding edges of art, technology, and culture at the turn of the 21st century.

Handy Resources:

Front Cover Hi-Res: http://sparksoffirepress.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/BLM_ProductShot_Frontb.png
Back Cover Hi-Res: http://sparksoffirepress.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/BLM_ProductShot_Back.png

Author reading two essays from the book:
Chapter Zero: The Launch Party (http://youtu.be/teZd9tIv4Pk)
Tears in the Rain (http://youtu.be/nYaXEcxCan4)

Published excerpts:
Borg Like Me (title essay on Boing Boing) boingboing.net/2014/07/10/borg-like-me.html
A VCR Was Harmed in the Making of This Article (on MAKE) makezine.com/2014/08/26/borg-like-me-an-excerpt-about-perseverance/

Tweet Line:
Read Borg Like Me, @garethb2’s smart, passionate, intense trip along the bleeding edges of art, tech, and culture. http://amzn.to/1maeU2t

What others are saying:

“Borg Like Me is a song of hope.” – Casey Rae, Future of Music Coalition

“Borg Like Me is fantastic!” – RU Sirius (countercultural iconoclast and Mondo 2000 founder)

“Amazing” – Mark Frauenfelder – (Boing Boing founder)

“If it wasn’t for your early writing… I probably wouldn’t have been inspired to do what I’m doing.” -Tom Igoe (co-creator of the Arduino microcontroller and beloved NYU/TISCH professor)

For more information:

703-615-7341, email hidden; JavaScript is required, sparksoffirepress.com

Borg Like Me & Other Tales of Art, Eros, and Embedded Systems
Gareth Branwyn
List Price: $29.95
Paperback: 296 pages
Publisher: Sparks of Fire Press (Sept 2, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0692233237, ISBN-13: 978-0692233238
Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches , Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

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New Pricing Announced

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Now that all of the digital versions of Borg Like Me are available, and as we go into the fall bookselling season, we wanted to re-think the pricing on the products we’re offering. We’ll be announcing some special bundles and holiday goodies, but in the meantime, we’ve decided to offer the print book with the autographed bookplate, for $30. This has previously been a $40 purchase. Originally we’d said that postage would be extra, but we’ve decided to keep the price at $30, postpaid. The book sells for $26 on Amazon (and it’s $4 for shipping), so this makes it competitive to order direct from Sparks of Fire, and you get the autographed bookplate. You also get a Sparks of Fire mailer covered in my custom Sparks of Fire Press rubber stamps.

The Sparks of Fire Press bookplate, designed by Blake Maloof and gorgeously letterpress printed by our pals at Zeichen Press.

The Sparks of Fire Press bookplate, designed by Blake Maloof and gorgeously letterpress printed by our pals at Zeichen Press.

For the ebook versions, we’ve also decided to lower the price, from the KS reward level of $15 to $10. This is to keep us price-competitive with Amazon/Kindle.

Order your print and ebook copies here.

All Formats Now Available!

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We are thrilled to announce that Borg Like Me is now available in four formats. After much teeth gnashing and hair pulling (no, not mine), we now have all three of the promised electronic book formats available to add to the print edition. You can now order the book in PDF, MOBI (for Kindle), and EPUB (for iBook and Nook) formats. One benefit of the digital versions is that all of the art that was submitted to us in color is retained in color (the print book has an all B&W interior).

We have also decided to drop the price of the digital editions to $10. Kindle Publishing Direct tells us that this is something of a sweet spot for an ebook of this type. We hope so.

You can order your digital copy here.

Borg Like Me is HERE!

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400 copies of Borg Like Me arrived on my doorstep this week! These are the Kickstarter reward copies and copies for the media. The book is now also available from my site here and via Amazon. For the rest of the summer, when you order from Sparks of Fire, you’ll get free shipping and a free digital version (normally $15). See the order page for more info.

Here are some peeks inside the book:

photo 1 copy

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We Did It! Thanks to All My Backers

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What a TRIP! Thanks to all my Borgie pals for making this happen. Final total $20,776. DECENT! I can work with that.

Really touched by all of your generous pledges, your help in getting the word out, and all of the general good vibes I’ve enjoyed over the past 30 days. It means a lot.

I’ll be continuing to update you all from time to time here and will also have my Sparks of Fire Press site up soon. In the meantime, I’ll be here on my blog, and on twitter @garethb2. And hopefully next week, I’ll send out the survey where we’ll be settling up on the extra pledge rewards you may have kicked in for.

Credit Card Processing

The credit card message you’ll get from Amazon has “Kevin Maloof” as the recipient. That’s ME! That’s my *real* name. Shhhh… Only my mother, the IRS, and now YOU know my secret identity. Please don’t let Lex Luthor know.

Love and hydraulic fluid to you all,

Gareth