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From Issue #30 November 21, 2013

Editor’s Note

Hold us closer! Plus this week’s issue, short stories, and a letter.

By Glenn Fleishman Twitter icon 

The cover of our upcoming book

A book that you can help make happen.

Turning pixels to paper

As an online periodical, we know it’s fully ironic (if not electronic) that we’ve longed to be “real” — something static, immutable, inked, and on paper. Perhaps we’re Pinocchio, but we’re not lying when we say how much we like print, even if we’re currently incarnated as pixels on a screen.

However, we wanted to take advantage of the medium of print, and not just replicate The Magazine on paper. We planned for a long time to make sure we could meet that mark, and we’re happy to announce the launch on November 20, 2013, of a crowdfunding campaign to produce something that feels like us but uses the richness of offset printing: a beautifully designed hardcover edition of stories from our first year of publication.

We’ve included articles and essays that readers like you responded to the most forcefully and about which we heard the most. We want to make something lovely that you can hold in your hands and that shares these great stories.

These include John Patrick Pullen’s tale of an eastern Washington town trying to build a 60-foot-tall lava lamp, Jason Snell’s recollection of the chance meeting of his parents that led to his improbable existence, Brianna Wu describing the challenges of building an independent videogame company, and Jacqui Cheng’s trip to the Hamilton Wood Type Museum, where old practices are refreshed and kept new.

For a full list of the stories we plan to include, visit the Kickstarter campaign. You’ll see an array of stories, starting at the origin of the publication and up to our anniversary issue. We’ve included compelling personal essays and reported stories about the past, present, and future.

The book will be about 200 pages long and feature over two dozen articles. You can see the cover above, which we commissioned from painter Amy Crehore. (She also painted the illustration for Rosie Spinks’s “Hacked Off.”) You can download a preview of what the print book’s design will look like, including a table of contents and its cover.

A bundle of the print book and the ebook version (in PDF, MOBI, and EPUB versions, all without digital rights management, or DRM, locking) is $35, which includes shipping within the United States, and is a discount off what we’ll sell the book for after we fulfill our Kickstarter backers’ pledges.

But we’ve set up a super early bird special of $25 for people who jump in quickly, and a regular early bird special at $30 after those are snatched up. You can purchase the ebook version by itself for just $10. (Book shipping outside the United States adds $15; international shipping prices skyrocketed in January.)

We have other reward levels, too. At $100, you can show your support as a patron of The Magazine and be thanked in the book (and get the print edition, the ebook edition, and a year’s subscription). At $200, we’ll send you five copies of the book along with the other items and our thanks.

We’re also creating digitally printed reproductions of Olivia Warnecke’s butterflies-and-moths painting from “Down from the Mountaintop,” and a signed, numbered, and limited digital print of Amy Crehore’s cover painting. Consult the campaign for the full range of offerings and details.

The basic financial target for the book pays everyone involved in its production as well as providing authors, photographers, and illustrators with a reprint fee. However, if we hit a higher target, we’ll expand the book from 200 to 300 pages, and up the reprint fees to contributors. Even higher targets will let us produce ebooks containing more articles from the first year and beyond, and add special features to the print edition.

Printing is expensive and involved, and designing a book takes an enormous amount of care and attention. Rather than guess at how many books to print, we’ll let crowdfunding align the size of the print run (and the scale of what we do) with our readers’ interest. We hope you’ll find the book interesting enough to back.

The cover of our upcoming book

Issue 30

In this issue

Canadian Lianne Bergeron married a Dutch man years ago and settled near Amsterdam, where they are raising their four children. She loves the Netherlands, but at this time of year she finds that the Dutch incarnation of Saint Nicholas (Sinterklaas) is so different that she’s had to make some adjustments — including coping with the lack of Dutch interest in Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

In “Sint’s Abilities,” Lianne explains the ins and outs of the three-week celebration that starts in mid-November, with the arrival of Sinterklaas, and ends December 6. She also cautiously treads into the turbulent waters around the Sint’s “Black Petes,” the garishly attired helpers who appear like racist caricatures to those outside the Netherlands. She gives us context to help explain their role, and she wonders how their depiction might change in the future. Andy Warner provides the illustration; Lianne and her husband, the photos (Lianne previously told us about Dutch cargo bikes.)

Alexandra Duncan has an unusual part-time job that almost precisely tracks the evolution of medical science and of an American society that has, at least in part, changed its attitudes about whether a woman’s body is her own. She writes in “The Cervix Industry” about the important educational work in which she uses her own body as the teaching tool.

Can technology teach us to clean up our act? It’s a messy issue, Amy Westervelt writes in “Force of Habit,” in which she explains how a new automotive product and new ideas about personal transportation can produce actual transformation.

When Cara Parks shows up at a stranger’s doorstep and demands a meal, they know to expect her. A peripatetic and curious person, Cara investigates firsthand the trend in meal-sharing services in “Meal Ticket,” and looks at the broader issue of the sharing economy. I’m sorry this issue doesn’t come in smell-o-vision so that you could drink in the meal she documents in photos.

The house appears abandoned, but there are clues throughout. One of the most successful independent videogames of the last year was produced by a small team with intense effort out of their own savings. Living on tuna fish might be OK if you can have a “Strong Foundation” underneath. Chris Higgins takes us through the conception and development of Gone Home.

The art for our cover comes from elements supplied by Karla Zimonja, one of the game’s designers and a principal of the company that created it, for which we thank her. They will be familiar to those who have played the game — and may be an enticement to try it for those who haven’t.

Daily stories on Medium

In case you missed our earlier announcement, we’ve partnered with Medium, a lovely publishing and editorial platform, to produce new, shorter stories four days a week, and republish some of our archives on the fifth.

Here are the stories we’ve added since the last issue:

  • It Ain’t What It Used to Be” has Jen A. Miller take us through the science of nostalgia.

  • Transit-Story Housing,” by Colleen Hubbard: San Francisco once had a neighborhood constructed from old streetcars. Little remains.

  • I’ll Fry Anything Once,” in which Matthew Amster-Burton tells of the joys of tempura restaurants in Tokyo.

  • For Whom the Kale Tolls,” by Rosie Spinks. Through her research, she takes down the notions that gentrification is always a bad thing for decaying neighborhoods and that hipsters are a blight. She spent a year documenting the change of a neighborhood in England.

  • Would you be surprised that there is a “Unipiper” who plays flaming bagpipes while riding a unicycle and wearing a Darth Vader mask? Would you be surprised that this fellow, interviewed by Chris Higgins, lives in Portland? No?

  • In a very personal essay, I explain my mother’s “Last Words” and the best moment of my life.

  • Computing Has Always Been Personal” maintains Brittany Shoot, who attended the crowdfunded 38th reunion of the Homebrew Computing Club, the legendary birthplace of the PC industry.

Keep checking back, as we’re using Medium to tell lovely little snapshots of stories that you can read in a spare moment.

Letters

You can tap the Share button in iOS at the top of any article and then tap Write Letter to Editor. Or email us with your thoughts, noting any article to which they apply. We also read comments and questions on Facebook, Twitter, and App.net. (Although we see iTunes reviews, we cannot respond there; please contact us directly with any issues that need a response.)

On “My Girlfriend, Who Lives in Michigan

Thom:

Once again my favourite article from The Magazine is on a topic that I thought had been exhaustively documented. When the Manti T’eo story broke I followed it with a lot of interest, since I, as many people did, wondered how it could possibly have happened.

But it wasn’t until a few articles came out exploring the role T’eo’s culture and religion might have played that I thought I had the “complete” picture of what had happened. I felt for a young man who, in all likelihood, had been in love with a ghost.

Jason Snell’s article is a lovely personal reflection that doubles as further commentary on T’eo’s story, and reminded me the better part of humanity is trust, even when it hurts us.

Glenn Fleishman is the editor and publisher of The Magazine, and contributes reguarly to the Economist, Boing Boing, TidBITS, and Macworld. The father of two, Glenn won two episodes of Jeopardy! in 2012, and he won't let you forget it.

You can purchase our complete archives, almost 300 articles, as a DRM-free ebook in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats. We ceased publication of new work on December 18, 2014.
You can purchase our complete archives, almost 300 articles, as a DRM-free ebook in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats.
©2017 Aperiodical LLC. The Magazine's online ISSN: 2334-4970. We ceased publication on December 18, 2014. You can purchase our complete archives, almost 300 articles, as a DRM-free ebook in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats. Read our privacy policy. Learn more about us. Billing troubles? Email us. Talk with us on Facebook and Twitter. Consult our FAQ for more answers. iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.