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In Search of the First Science Fiction Novel

Name-checking of early science fiction authors usually includes Mary Shelley, H.G. Wells, and Jules Verne who all wrote during the nineteenth century. But could the origins of Science Fiction go much further back than that? And how far back? We take a look at the various titles that may have a claim to being the first Science Fiction novel. 

Posted by E.H. Kern

The Best Axe-Wielders in Literature & Pop Culture

On July 19th 1860, one of the most infamous women in history was born. Lizzie Borden was an upstanding member of her community. She taught Sunday school at her local church and was a member of the Woman’s Christian Temperance League. Then on August 4th 1892, Lizzie allegedly picked up an axe and murdered her father and step-mother in a most brutal fashion. The general belief is that Borden did commit the murders, but she was acquitted of the crime. We can never definitively say if Borden ever wielded that axe, but as a tribute to her, here is a look at some of the best axe wielders in pop culture and literature.

Posted by David Winnick

How-to Tuesday: Make a Fetching Fascinator with Flowers and Tentacles

Wildflowers, a favorite of Marianne Dashwood, and tentacles, both feature elegantly in Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. Tentacles curled around wildflowers make delightful hair fascinators and are perfect for pleasant afternoons spent picnicking and/or battling monsters of the deep. These flowery accessories are easy to whip up with just a few supplies!

Gather your materials:


  1. Barrette bases – Almost every kind of craft barrette works well for this project; but avoid the kind that have to bend back and forth to close. This can cause the decorations to snap off.
  2. Fake flowers – Small silk or fabric flowers from your local craft store work perfectly.
  3. Lightweight clay – I used Model Magic for this project, but you could also use a polymer clay like Sculpey.
  4. Assorted paints – Any acrylic craft paint and small brushes will work.
  5. Hot glue gun – Hot glue is perfect for this project; it sets quickly and provides a sturdy base for the decorations.


Step 1: Mold your tentacles. Roll a small amount of clay between your palms to form a long strip that narrows at the end. Curl and pose your tentacles into shapes that will wrap around your flowers. Fit each tentacle to the shape of your barrette base, molding them to meet the base. 

Step 2: Let your tentacles set. If you are using an air-drying clay, allow your tiny sculptures to dry undisturbed. If using a polymer clay, bake them according to instructions on the packaging. 
Pro-tip: curl your tentacles around small objects to hold their position as they dry. If you are concerned about stability, roll a wire in the center of your clay before you begin sculpting.

Step 3: Paint the tentacles.  Creatures with tentacles can often change colors, so choose any colors you like! You can even add glitter paint or nail polish for an aquatic glimmer. Try painting small circular suction cups to the underside of a tentacle for added depth and texture. 

Step 4: Secure your tentacles. Once the tentacles have dried, use your hot glue gun to glue them to the barrettes. Don’t worry about any wispy strands of hot glue you might see, it’s easy to clean those up after your project is finished.

Step 5: Add your flowers. Arrange flowers one at a time, placing them in the grasp of your tentacle and using your hot glue gun to secure. Trim any lengthy stems before gluing the flowers in place. 
Pro tip: use leafy greenery or extra blossoms to cover any visible portions of the barrette.

Step 6: Finish and wear! Let the fascinator cool and dry, reinforce any weak spots with glue, and gently remove any remaining threads of hot glue.

Wear a subtle sea monster barrette to the office, or celebrate cephalopods with a big, bold fascinator out for an afternoon in the sun! Snap a picture of your projects and tweet them to us at @QuirkBooks.

Posted by Margaret Dunham

Celebrate May the Fourth with a DIY Death Star Piñata!

I find your lack of candy disturbing…

Why did the Imperial forces keep rebuilding the same interstellar battle station? Clearly because it was full of candy. Make your own Death Star piñata for May the Fourth, a Star Wars birthday party, or a release party for Star Wars: The Force Awakens! (Bonus points if you use a lightsaber to take a whack at it!)

Posted by Margaret Dunham

Clone Club Book Club: We Pick Perfect Reads for All of Orphan Black

Maybe at the moment everyone is a bit too busy trying to stay alive to get through any reading challenges but I like to think Alison would force everyone to make time for book club. Or maybe Helena has dreamt the whole thing. Either way here’s an imagined Orphan Black Book Club with each character’s book selection for their designated month.

Posted by Jamie Canaves


CHICAGO! Quirk Books is coming your way! We’re packing up our bags, swag, and a whole lot of awesome books and headed to C2E2 .

We’ll be in booth #516. And, we’re so pumped that we have to preview all of the amazing things you can expect to find at our booth.

Posted by Nicole De Jackmo