Free Books

E-Book Giveaway: Soul Purpose

Longtime readers of this blog may recall my review of Nick Marsh’s Past Tense as “the one with the robot.” Well, the rights to that novel and the first in the series, Soul Purpose, have recently reverted back to Nick from the press that originally published them, and he’s giving away free e-copies of Soul Purpose over the next three days (April 10 through April 12).

Click on the image for information on downloading a free e-copy of Soul Purpose.

The original cover image for Soul Purpose. Click for information on downloading a free e-copy.

Muktuk Wolfsbreath: Hard Boiled Shaman

Originally appearing in the pages of Cud (Fantagraphics) in the mid 90’s and then in a three-issue miniseries for DC comics in 1998, Muktuk Wolfsbreath has found new life in the form of an online graphic novel by wizard of suburbia Terry LaBan. Part Neil Gaiman-esque fantasy, part Sam Spade detective novel, Muktuk Wolfsbreath: Hard Boiled Shaman follows the adventures of the eponymous hero as he plumbs the depths of the human soul in prehistoric Siberia.

What’s especially striking about this series is that, as its epigram suggests, throughout the proceedings LaBan pays loving tribute to the classics of the noir genre. Our first glimpse of Muktuk is that of a reluctant hero: down on his luck and haunted by his past. Then in a walks a beautiful woman with troubles of her own. Though Muktuk never spells it out in so many words, it’s easy to imagine Humphrey Bogart narrating the opening frames of the story with something along the lines of, “Of all the bearskin tents in all the tundras in all the world, she had to walk into mine…”

From there, things take a turn for the fantastic as Muktuk gets drawn into a bitter confrontation across spiritual planes with his rival, Umiak Birdbutt. The result is a wild hallucinogenic ride that’s light years away from LaBan’s more recent depictions of the foibles of suburbia in the daily Edge City comic strip. Indeed, if Edge City represents LaBan’s day job, then Muktuk Wolfsbreath is where the artist/writer goes at night — to dream, to dazzle, to go a little crazy, and — most of all — to explore. Here, we see an artist experimenting with forms, mixing and matching to create something new. What’s more, the fact that LaBan is giving it all away for free makes it all the more appealing.

All told, a funny, inventive, and intriguing comic.

Click here to check it out!

–Review by Marc Schuster

Shelf Unbound – Now Free!

I’ve been a big fan of Shelf Unbound magazine since its inception last year. Publisher Margaret Brown and her team of literature and pop-culture enthusiasts do a wonderful job of bringing their readers, among other things, the latest news from the indie scene. Fans of Small Press Reviews will especially enjoy their coverage of new books from small and independent presses. And the best thing of all is that the magazine is now available for free! The latest issue focuses on music writing and also includes an interview with author Edwidge Danticat. Enjoy!

Cover Up – Free from The Permanent Press

Karl Grossman’s Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power was a big seller for The Permanent Press when it was originally released in 1980 and also when a second edition came out in 1982. With recent uncertainty surrounding the safety not only of the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station but of nuclear power in general, Grossman’s book is as important as ever, and The Permanent Press is issuing a third, updated, edition free of charge for anyone interested in downloading a copy. In the words of publisher Martin Shepard: “We’re not interested in making a nickel off Cover Up. Let William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins, make a profit from 20-year-old Bristol Palin’s ghost written Not Afraid of Life due out this summer. Our passion in publishing has always been the good feeling that comes from doing worthy books, which trumps profits any time.” Click here to download a free copy.