I recall the trees, incandescent as copper wires over my head.
No, Robot, No!
The role of robots in our present and future is ever in flux. They are, and have been: dolls, toys, servants, pets, experiments, weapons, carers, companions. They threaten to replace us, to exceed us, to exterminate us. And we for our part go on remaking them – in our minds as much as in labs and lairs.
Let No, Robot, No! act as your portable guide to the poetics of AI, automata and digital sentience. Hack into it. Overhaul and overload it. Keep it near you like a whirring clockwork heart.
The robots are not just coming – they're already here. No, Robot, No! is your all-whirring, all-processing guide to robots, AI and digital consciousness. From cyborgs to love machines, ethics to algorithms, Wall-E to Roomba, this inquisitive handbook delves into the wires of our lives with machines. No.3 in the Headbooks series.
Headbooks: headlong expeditions into the half-known. A blend of the factual and fantastical, the lyrical and the visual – and fully customisable, with scrapbook and do-it-yourself pages.
Rowyda Amin, Andre Bagoo, Clive Birnie, Theodoros Chiotis, Angela Cleland, Iris Colomb, Joey Connolly, Ria Dastidar, Rishi Dastidar, Sarah Dawson, Harry Giles, Matthew Haigh, Cliff Hammett, Tom Humberstone, Yvonne Litschel, James Midgley, Gabrielle Nolan, Ollie Palmer, Astra Papachristodoulou, Abigail Parry, Flo Reynolds, Adam Samson, Ruth Stacey, Alex Stevens, Becky Varley-Winter, Katy Wareham Morris, Rebecca Wigmore, Chrissy Williams, Cat Woodward.
Happy New Year everyone! 2017 was fantastic for us at Sidekick Books, and we’d like to say thank you to everyone who has supported, hosted and read our work this year.
Huge thanks in particular to Arts Council England (ACE) for funding our next run of alchemical misadventures – thank you for supporting us!
Here’s a whistlestop rundown of our 2017 highlights, and some things to look forward to in 2018, including calls for new poetry:
Aquanauts was the first in our Headbooks series: a set of interactive, highly visual complete-me-yourself books aimed at taking poetry out of one corner and inviting readers to become collaborators.
To launch Aquanauts, we joined forces with live artist and poet Abi Palmer to host Aquanautica, a deep dive into a post-flood world. Participants followed the signal of the mysterious Captain Nautilla to find a cavern of merbartenders, scientists, sirens, signs, sceptics and sculptures.
Enjoy more of poet John Canfield’s photos on our Instagram channel.
And you can find Aquanautsright here!
Bad Kid Catullus
Bad Kid Catullus, aka Headbook #2, takes Rome’s filthiest bard as its starting point, but this is no ordinary series of translations. In BKC, an orgy of poets transports Catullus through genre, time and form: sashay from noir to high fantasy to western, spy some pointed graffiti or study a sex position calligram of those famous carmina…
Get down and dirty with Bad Kid Catullusright here.
The Headbooks launch took place at the Poetry Café, Covent Garden, included wine, grape, figs and honey cake, as well as fauns, fornication and a forum of toga-clad poets.
Visit Ian McLachlan’s Instagram for more decadent photos (Ian was the faun in question!).
The Headbooks exhibition features art from Kid Catullus and Aquanauts, and is on for free at the beautifully refurbished Poetry Café until 31 January 2018.BUT ALSO! Got some poems hanging around that need a good Frankensteining? Come and join us for Sidekick Remixathon, a workshop to go along with the exhibition, in which Jon and K will show you how to make gold from “gah!”
More information here!
Finally for 2017, we invited poets to send us aperture poems for our Advent Calendar. The aperture poem was invented by James Midgley, and involves taking an existing text (or inventing one), and placing an imaginary window frame over part of it, leaving only a portion visible to create a new micro-poem.
View all 26 (yes, we got carried away) aperture poems here!
That was all dandy, but this is the exciting bit. What comes next?
Do your resolutions include writing more? Then get yourself in a mechanical or echolocatory frame of mind! We’ll be issuing calls for two new Sidekick Headbooks! Follow us on Twitter or Facebook or sign up for our mailing list at the bottom of the page to get the first alerts!
1. No, Robot, No! will be a celebration of real and fictional robots. Philosophy, ethics, mechanics, automation – choose your mode!
2. Battalion will explore the dark and delightful world of bats. We’re after biology, ecology, myth and movement – keep your ears open!
Have a Happy New Year, one and all – look forward to playing with you all in 2018!
Jon and Kirsty
Sidekick Books is extremely happy to announce that Arts Council England have given us funding to produce our first four Headbooks! This thrilling and unusual set of titles aims to introduce poetry to new audiences through play, rich visuals and interactive elements.
Huge thanks to ACE for their generosity in supporting our work. Sidekick’s collaborative, multi-author focus means our titles fall outside the guidelines of many prizes, so ACE’s support enables us to carry on mixing, meddling and commissioning strange creations.
The Headbooks series is a genre-busting set of gift books blending visual poetry with games and activities, and bringing poetry out of the corner of the bookshop, into the light. Our first Headbook, due out next month, is Aquanauts, a twisting, turning journey under the water. Featuring calligrams, colour pages, exercises and creative prompts, it’s a deep dive into the unknown and a feast for the senses. Here’s a taster:
We’ll be following up this aquatic adventure with a journey through time to the Roman empire, to meet Bad Kid Catullus, an explosive set of new Catullus translations, riffs and reactions, mixing collage with frottage. That’ll be due in September.
Finally, in 2018, we’ll be issuing open calls for submissions for The Sidekick Book of Sidekicks, a tribute to the shadows that follow heroes and villains, and No, Robot, No!, an updated, multiplayer version of K and Jon’s debut joint pamphlet.