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Tag Archives: Books

Star Wars: The Blueprints

Star Wars: The Blueprints (Images courtesy Epic Ink)
By Andrew Liszewski

While there have been many books over the years that contained blueprints of the fictional ships and weaponry in the Star Wars universe, this is the first to include the original blueprints used for the creation of the sets and props of all six films. Pulled from the Lucasfilm Archives, the blueprints are accompanied by commentary from author J. W. Rinzler and provide an in-depth look at the art and science behind the filming and post-production of the epic sci-fi series.

Most importantly, Blueprints shows how in bringing this extraordinary epic to life, the world of special effects as we know it was born. For the first time, here you will see the initial concepts behind such iconic Star Wars scenes as the Rebel blockade runner hallways, the bridge of General Grievous’s flagship, the interior of the fastest “hunk of junk” in the Galaxy, and Jabba the Hutt’s palace. Never before seen craftsmanship and artistry is evident whether floating on the Death Star, escaping on a speeder bike, or exploring the Tatooine Homestead.

Star Wars: The Blueprints will only be available in a limited edition, hand-numbered run of 5,000 copies. The first 125 are signed by the Academy-Award winning Art Directors for the original Star Wars film: Norman Reynolds, Les Dilley and set dresser Roger Christian, and will set you back a cool grand. While the remaining 4,875 copies are just $500 each.

[ Star Wars: The Blueprints ] VIA [ Coudal ]

Martin Hudepohl’s ‘Badass LEGO Guns’

Martin Hudepohl's 'Badass LEGO Guns' Book (Image courtesy O'Reilly)
By Andrew Liszewski

I’m pretty sure the title of Martin Hudepohl’s new LEGO book says it all when it comes to what kind of models you’ll be building. Like Forbidden LEGO which we brought you a few years ago, Badass LEGO Guns lets you build a small arsenal of LEGO-based weaponry, except that they’re… you know… more badass. The 240 page book contains complete instructions for 5 different weapons described below, and besides patience you’ll also need a robust supply of LEGO Technic pieces to put them together.

Thriller – A powerful crossbow pistol with smooth cocking and chambering mechanisms.
Parabella – A pint-sized, rubber-band shooting marvel.
The Warbeast – A sophisticated, fully-automatic bullpup submachine gun.
Liliputt – A semi-automatic pistol with a nine-brick magazine.
Mini-Thriller – A folding crossbow pistol.

Badass LEGO Guns is available directly from O’Reilly for $29.95, or just $17.97 if you buy it from Amazon instead.

[ Martin Hudepohl's 'Badass LEGO Guns' ] VIA [ Nerd Approved ]

Dear Rockstar, I Enjoy Your Games Immensely, But Will Not Be Paying Half A Grand To Read How They Were Made

Digital + Analogue: The Art and Science of Rockstar Games (Image courtesy Kotaku)
By Andrew Liszewski

To commemorate the 10+ years of the Rockstar Games label, which was founded in 1998, the company has worked with German publisher Stiedl to create this 3 volume, 544 page hardcover tome that features everything from original illustrations to wireframe models to advertising to even what inspired the people and places seen in many of their games. It also includes a DVD with behind the scenes exclusive content, and quite honestly, looks like a fascinating read. However, the publisher has set an RRP of £310 which translates to over $470! That’s almost half a grand! Thankfully Amazon.co.uk has it currently listed for £75.65 (available sometime next month) which works out to a slightly more reasonable $115.

[ Amazon UK - Digital + Analogue: The Art and Science of Rockstar Games ] VIA [ Develop ]

Where’s Stig? Books Means Waldo’s Doomed To Be Lost Forever

Where's Stig? (Image courtesy BBC Books)
By Andrew Liszewski

Where's Stig? (Image courtesy BBC Books) Some say he can be found standing near the caravan trailer just below the Bugatti Veyron, while others say he’s sitting in the BBC production truck, all we know is he’s called the Stig and his Where’s Stig? picture books from BBC Books means we’ve officially stopped caring where Waldo’s hiding!

We know they’re supposed to be just for kids, but the original Where’s Stig? book, illustrated by Rod Hunt and available from the BBC online store for around $9 (£5.99), is chock full of inside jokes, nods to the Top Gear TV series and cameos by a certain Mr. Clarkson, Hammond and May which even the most passive fan will appreciate. And the original book sold so well that a sequel, Where’s Stig? The World Tour, which of course sees the Stig hiding all over the world, is already in the works and will be available near the end of September for roughly the same price.

[ Where's Stig? & Where's Stig? The World Tour ] VIA [ Autoblog ]

Voyage To The Heart Of Matter Pop-up Book Featuring CERN’s Large Hadron Collider

Voyage To The Heart Of Matter (Images courtesy The ATLAS Experiment)
By Andrew Liszewski

The majority of people who are afraid of what will happen when CERN’s large hadron collider is finally put into operation probably have no idea what it really is, or what it’s designed to do. But what better way to educate the masses on the intricacies of the world’s largest science experiment than through an intricately detailed pop-up book? That’s what made me the amateur surgeon I am today!

Voyage To The Heart Of Matter – The Atlas Experiment At CERN was written by Emma Sanders, though it’s probably the paper engineering skills of Anton Radevsky that will make this a must-have Christmas gift for everyone from amateur physicists to the scientists actually working on the ATLAS experiment. But since it won’t be available until the end of November for about $33, it might be cutting it a bit close for the gift giving season.

[ Voyage To The Heart Of Matter - The Atlas Experiment At CERN ] VIA [ Shiny Shiny ]

Mini Weapons Of Mass Destruction

Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction (Images courtesy Amazon)
By Andrew Liszewski

Take your cubicle wars past the archaic stage of just spitballs and elastic bands with John Austin’s book, Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction. It provides 35 different ways to effectively raid the office supply cabinet at work in order to protect your desk and all the innocent files who call it home.

Toy designer John Austin provides detailed, step-by-step instructions for each project, including materials and ammo lists, clear diagrams, and construction tips, for mayhem-loving MacGyvers. The 35 devices include catapults, slingshots, minibombs, darts, and combustion shooters. Build a tiny trebuchet from paper clips and a D-cell battery. Wrap a penny in a string of paper caps to create a surprisingly impressive “bomb.” Several of the projects even include variations where combatants mount laser pointer sights to their shooters to increase their accuracy.

~$12 from Amazon, office supplies not included.

[ Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction ] VIA [ Make ]

Electronic Popables Will Be The Next Generation Of Pop-Up Books – I Hope

Electronic Popables (Images courtesy Jie Qi)
By Andrew Liszewski

Who would have thought that someone would find a way to make pop-up books, aka the best type of book ever invented, even better? Well that’s exactly what Jie Qi, with assistance from Leah Buechley and Tshen Chew, from the MIT Media Lab have done with their Electronic Popables. The book uses traditional pop-up paper book mechanics but also integrates modern paper-based electronics for more “dynamic interactivity.” In other words it makes them even more awesome, as you can see in the video below.

[ high-low tech - MIT Media Lab - popables ] VIA [ Architectradure ]

Star Wars: Sounds – The Stories Behind The Effects

Star Wars: Sounds  The Stories Behind the Effects (Images courtesy becker&mayer)
By Andrew Liszewski

When it comes to Star Wars it’s usually the visual effects that get all the attention, but the films’ sound design and foley work are just as impressive. So it’s cool to see a new book from becker&mayer that specifically takes a look at the sounds created for the ‘science fiction’ saga.

The Sounds of Star Wars illuminates the audio universe of Star Wars by exploring the vision for an “organic” sound that George Lucas and sound designer Ben Burtt brought to the movies’ sound effects, as well as how these distinctive sound effects were achieved. The book features a state-of-the-art audio module that will easily allow readers to hear the sounds while learning the stories behind those sounds. Lavishly illustrated pages will include clear markers directing readers to listen to specific tracks as they view and read about the scenes.

There’s no release date or pricing info available just yet, but the 304 page book does include an embedded audio module loaded with more than 200 sounds from the films.

[ Star Wars: Sounds - The Stories Behind The Effects ] VIA [ TheForce.net ]

Concept Shelf Splits With Your Book Collection

By Evan Ackerman

No matter how much of a technophile you are, you’ll be hard-pressed to replace any of your books with a gadget. ::Cough:: And books, you know, just kinda pile up. In piles. Which is why some enterprising souls invented first the bookcase, and then the expandable bookcase, and finally this splittable bookcase, which lets you stuff an infinite amount of books into a finite (but expandable) amount of shelf.

It’s really rather brilliant. Since you try and cram everything ever written into the one single bookcase you own anyway, you might as well get once like this, which actually expands to accommodate it. There’s a hinge at the bottom, a split up the middle, and expander thingies hidden inside the hollow shelves. I imagine eventually the shelves will get completely horizontal, and instead of bookshelves you’ll have a book arc, at which point you can color coordinate your entire collection and have a book rainbow. And won’t that be special.

Currently this bookshelf is just a concept, but I bet you could hammer together something comparable if you put your mind to it.

VIA [ Design Blog ]