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Guest Post from Image Source
By John O’Reilly

christoph-niemann-new-yorker (1)
The New Yorker has been playing with the theme of Hard and Soft recently, not least with it’s October 6 “Rainy Day” cover by Christoph Niemann, which had an alternative life on the web as the magazine’s first ever gif cover (see the full story and the gif here).

New-Yorker-Cover

The November 24 issue features illustrator Richard McGuire’s, “Time Warp” cover. He explains the image on The New Yorker website“As I walk around the city, I’m time-travelling, flashing forward, planning what it is I have to do.” (McGuire is long-celebrated in the more cultish circles of comics connoisseurs as the creator of “Here” originally published in Art Spigelman’s Raw magazine). The cover (headline image) echoes McGuire’s interest in how our experience of the everyday is layered with different slices of time. But the issue’s features explore the changing relationship between the 2D and the 3D. ‘Print Thyself’ explores how 3D printing is transforming medicine and features the image below by photographer Lori K. Sanders.

printthyself

The caption for the image readsA 3-D printer used by researchers at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute creates a model vascular network.” When we still don’t know what this tech means for us, or how it will radically change our familiar systems of making and distributing, Sanders delivers a highly textural photo, of contrasting surfaces, blocks of colour and geometric shapes. The visual and design shorthand for the future has always been Kubrick and 2001, but Sanders shoots the future like Mondrian – blocks of shape and colour.  “Good Game explores the rise of the professional cyber athlete and is accompanied by an image by photographer Jenny Hueston. The caption reads, “Scarlett [Sasha Hostyn], the most accomplished woman in e-sports, is known for her macro mutalisk style and kick-ass creep spread.”

Cyber-Athlete--e1417097970216

The strange language in the caption comes from the world of gaming (strategies) and that blown out look is a great look for someone living in the in-between of the Hard and the Soft, a space that is neither and both. The kind of dazed-over-exposed visualises a kind of of jet-lag you might get as you recover from the intensity of game space. And if anyone doubts that this is a thing, the feature notes that, “As of last year, gamers of international renown are eligible for P1-A exemptions, otherwise known as ‘athlete visas.’ Robert Morris University, in Illinois, has added League of Legends, a “multiplayer online battle arena” game, as a varsity team sport, and this semester the program began awarding athletic scholarships.”   

Read more about the Age of Hard and Soft on Image Source’s blog.

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Stephen King made a big splash in the publishing world when he recently announced that he has no plans to publish a digital version of his new novel “Joyland” (June 2013, Hard Case Crime). Well, maybe at some point, but in the meantime, “let people stir their sticks and go to an actual bookstore rather than a digital one,” he told the Wall Street Journal. It’s not that King’s a luddite either: his January essay on guns was published digital-only as an Amazon single. And all the way back in 2000 he perplexed the publishing establishment by releasing the novella “Riding the Bullet” as an e-book. (At the time, Jeff Bezos still thought Kindle meant starting a fire with wood chips.) Hey, if King were predictable, do you think 500 million people would have shivered their way to the terrifying ends of his tomes? So kudos to Cujo’s creator for pushing people back into bookstores. But maybe this was the perfect book to take advantage of the changeling nature and limitless options of digital: because the art for “Joyland” really pops, and there’s a lot of it.

 

king_paperback_cover

Although the story is set in North Carolina in 1973, the nostalgia-tinged paperback edition cover resembles
a 1950s dime store mystery. The stylized illustration provided by Glen Orbik features a buxom redhead
startled in the corner of a carnival, clutching a brownie bullet camera.

king_limited_frontandback

Then there’s the limited edition hardcover by artist Robert McGinnis, who give us the backside of a
string-bikini-clad raven-haired woman walking on the beach in heels carrying a rifle. More 1973,
perhaps, a hint of Hef and all. But wait, there’s more! Susan Hunt Yule illustrated a map of Joyland
especially for the limited edition that graces the back cover. She ditches sex appeal for a colorful and
downright cheerful look at the amusement park with a cool pop-modern aesthetic. Which cover is
right? Now stop it: you know you can judge a book that way.

Stephen King always keeps us guessing, paying homage to the bookstore just as his covers nod to
old books. And Hunt Yule, if you call her quick, may just be able to draw you a map to get to your
local bookstore–while it’s still there.

 

This article originally appeared on 2Paragraphs

 

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