In Jeff Vandermeer's Authority, Even the Desk Jobs are Weird

Authority, the gripping second installment in Jeff Vandermeer's Southern Reach trilogy, has a very different vibe than its predecessor, Annihilation. Where Annihilation took an expedition deep into the mysterious Area X, Authority shows us the bureaucratic apparatus aimed at studying it. And everything we know is… » 7/30/14 4:05pm Wednesday 4:05pm

Joe Abercombie's Half A King Is A Coming-Of-Age Tale Soaked In Blood

If you've been waiting for the right time to check out acclaimed fantasy novelist Joe Abercrombie, then his new novel Half a King is probably the perfect jumping-on point. It's short, with a sympathetic main character, a fast-paced plot, and plenty of neat world-building. Highly recommended. » 7/29/14 4:00pm Tuesday 4:00pm

Most Wearable Technology Has Been a Commercial Failure, Says Historian

Given the hype around wearable technology like Google Glass, you might be surprised to learn that the wristwatch is still the most successful example of modern wearable tech. Over the past century, wearables have mostly been commercial failures. A new book from MIT Press explores this forgotten history. » 7/21/14 4:42pm 7/21/14 4:42pm

Digital Rapture Is Mind-Expanding Science Fiction At Its Finest

Science fiction is the literature of ideas, and therefore of possibility. After all, we human beings live on a small rock spinning throughspace at a breakneck speed, in a galaxy doing the same, in an unfathomably sized universe made of up dark matter we can't even detect. It's mind-boggling to think about, but science… » 7/07/14 4:14pm 7/07/14 4:14pm

Holy Crap, The Girl With All The Gifts Will Blow Your Mind

Some books feature powerful characterization and heart-stopping emotional journeys. Others have great world-building in the service of a thundering great adventure. Still others have clever scientific ideas. But it's rare to find a book like M.R. Carey's The Girl With All The Gifts, which aces all of the above. » 7/01/14 3:07pm 7/01/14 3:07pm

If You Want to Understand Cities in the 21st Century, Read This Essay

In 2008, a young model from rural Canada was brutally murdered in a Shanghai apartment building. The story of how her assailant was (maybe) caught, chronicled by journalist Mara Hvistendahl her engrossing essay And the City Swallowed Them, reveals how 21st century cities are changing the world. » 6/26/14 6:26pm 6/26/14 6:26pm

The Memory Garden By Mary Rickert Is A Breathtaking Masterpiece

Many of the best fantasy novels have an aura of mystery that goes beyond signs and portents into the realm of the ineffable. There are mysteries that have answers, and mysteries that are their own answer, and they intertwine. The Memory Garden by Mary Rickert manages this blend beautifully. And heart-breakingly.… » 6/09/14 4:00pm 6/09/14 4:00pm

The Secret Life Of Sally Ride, The First American Woman In Space

When Sally Ride died in 2012, her obituary noted a new fact that was widely picked up: that she was survived by her partner, Tam O'Shaughnessy. The first American woman in space suddenly became a more complicated figure. Now Lynn Sherr, a journalist and friend of Ride, has created a brilliant and eye-opening biography. » 6/04/14 3:24pm 6/04/14 3:24pm

In California Bones, Los Angeles Is a Magical Authoritarian Regime

Greg Van Eekhout's new novel California Bones is a supernatural noir tale. Set in an alternate Los Angeles ruled by authoritarian sorcerers and corporate moguls, it's an engrossing story about political malevolence. But it's also a caper about the ultimate magical heist. You won't be able to put it down. » 6/03/14 4:07pm 6/03/14 4:07pm

From Footprints to the Feet that Made Them

Footprints, swimming scrapes, casts, eggshells, toothmarks, and even dung are the traces left by creatures going about their lives. For every fossilized bone, an ancient creature left behind uncounted traces of the life it lived. Tony Martin explores the world revealed by ichnology in his book, Dinosaurs Without Bones. » 5/27/14 1:19pm 5/27/14 1:19pm

Goblin Emperor Has One Of The Most Lovable Characters We've Met In Ages

The Goblin Emperor is a fantasy novel worth reading, though it's hard to describe. It's a story of court intrigue, in a steampunk world inhabited solely by elves and goblins. But they're not Tolkien's elves or goblins, they're not Martin's courts, and the steampunk does not involve a single pair of goggles. » 5/23/14 1:20pm 5/23/14 1:20pm

In The Tropic of Serpents, a Naturalist Studies Dragons and Politics

One of the many pleasures of reading a Marie Brennan novel is that a swashbuckling quest to find dragon eggs in the tropics is never just that. It is also a complicated political story of colonial incursion and ecosystems in peril. Welcome back to the world of Lady Trent, a naturalist with a dragon obsession. » 5/12/14 7:00pm 5/12/14 7:00pm