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Volume 19 of Smith Journal is an atlas of unpredictable pathways – stories of people who reckoned they knew where they were going before veering off-road completely, managing to avoid the potholes along the way.

Cop Mathew Rejis is the ultimate cover boy in that regard – the tech head and jokester started out at an indie record label and worked for Apple, but then fooled everyone he knew by joining the LAPD. He’d be the first to agree that life would be as boring as a bucket of hair if it came with a street map.

And then there’s architect Galina Balashova, who was beavering away on memorials and parks until being tapped on the shoulder for something far loftier – the interior design of Soviet spaceships. She managed to sneak some subversively domestic elements into the rockets, all under the noses of scientists who were none too thrilled to have a woman in their midst.

Moviemaker Lloyd Kaufman, full of peace, love and the ’60s, was all set to be a social worker before being led astray by his film society roommate at college. Who needs to save the real world when you can get the Toxic Avenger to do it for you on the big screen?

While we’re taking you down alleys and byways, you can get some ideas for redesigning the human body, learn about brainy birds and read about a bloke who went halfway around the world on a postie bike. Come along for the ride.

 

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Across the ditch: Volume 19 should hit stores in New Zealand on June 20. Ask your local if it's not on shelves then.

Overseas readers: We'll be with you in shortly (click here to find out when), but if that's too far away you can order a copy online and we'll send it straight out. Like, right this very second.