Science & Technology Book Reviews

RISE OF THE MACHINES by Thomas Rid
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: June 28, 2016

"Not a history of computers but an ingenious look at how brilliant and not-so-brilliant thinkers see—usually wrongly but with occasional prescience—the increasingly intimate melding of machines and humans."
A fascinating study of the "seductive power of the cybernetic mythos." Read full book review >
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: June 14, 2016

"A thoughtful examination of the role of aging and death in supporting life."
An advancement of the challenging theory that, along with growth and puberty, aging also unfolds "on a schedule programmed into the regulatory portion of our DNA." Read full book review >

ECCENTRIC ORBITS by John Bloom
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: June 7, 2016

"A tour de force history of a star-crossed technological leap."
A spellbinding history of a massively impressive work of technology. Read full book review >
ORDINARILY WELL by Peter D. Kramer
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: June 7, 2016

"Written with the compassion, verve, and style that are the author's trademark, this book offers an invaluable overview on the state of treatment and the options available."
The 1993 publication of Kramer's Listening to Prozac set off a controversy about the use of mind-altering drugs in the treatment of mental illness that has still to be resolved, a situation the author finds deplorable. Read full book review >
GRUNT by Mary Roach
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: June 7, 2016

"Battlefield R&D is a topic too fascinating to ruin, so readers who can tolerate the author's relentless flippancy will not regret the experience."
A cannon fires grocery chickens at parked jets, testing ways to protect planes against bird strikes. Readers encountering this esoteric project on the first page will settle back to enjoy another patented scientific romp, this one on battlefield research, by journalist Roach (Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, 2013, etc.). Read full book review >

THE INEVITABLE by Kevin Kelly
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: June 7, 2016

"Kelly's arguments ring true, and his enthusiasm is contagious. Readers will enjoy the ride provided they forget that he has disobeyed his warning against assuming that today's trends will continue."
That futurists have a terrible record hasn't discouraged them, and this delightful addition to the genre does not deny that predictions have been wildly off-base. Read full book review >
FRACKOPOLY by Wenonah Hauter
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: June 7, 2016

"There is no question where Hauter's sympathies lie, and her grim litany of greed, corruption, and environmental damage may stir activists to action but deeply discourage general readers."
An angry polemic on fracking and the importance of "leaving fossil fuels in the ground and reorienting the production and use of electricity." Read full book review >
MAGIC AND LOSS by Virginia Heffernan
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: June 7, 2016

"A thoroughly engrossing examination of the Internet's past, present, and future."
New York Times Magazine writer Heffernan considers the mighty Internet in all its terrible beauty and power. Read full book review >
STRANGER IN THE MIRROR by Robert V. Levine
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: June 1, 2016

"A provocative and convincing case of the malleability of what we think of as 'our self, which in reality is a multiplicity of characters' developed through time and circumstances."
A multiangled exploration of the slippery notion of self-identity. Read full book review >
THE GEEK FEMINIST REVOLUTION by Kameron Hurley
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: May 31, 2016

"Passion and commitment permeate the writing as Hurley illuminates the online cultural vanguard from a feminist's perspective."
A feminist manifesto from the front lines of fantasy fiction, Internet flaming, and Gamergate battles. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: May 24, 2016

"A fresh, lively look at an obsessive desire to own a piece of the wild."
In her spirited debut book, a journalist recounts her quest for a coveted aquarium fish. Read full book review >
THE NEXT PANDEMIC by Ali S. Khan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 24, 2016

"The details are sometimes disturbing, but Khan writes with verve, clarity, and a touch of humor."
Autobiography of a self-described disease detective whose adventures in public health dramatize the need to modify our approach to emerging infections and possible pandemics. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Swan Huntley
June 27, 2016

In Swan Huntley’s debut novel We Could Be Beautiful, Catherine West has spent her entire life surrounded by beautiful things. She owns an immaculate Manhattan apartment, she collects fine art, she buys exquisite handbags and clothing, and she constantly redecorates her home. And yet, despite all this, she still feels empty. One night, at an art opening, Catherine meets William Stockton, a handsome man who shares her impeccable taste and love of beauty. He is educated, elegant, and even has a personal connection—his parents and Catherine's parents were friends years ago. But as he and Catherine grow closer, she begins to encounter strange signs, and her mother, Elizabeth (now suffering from Alzheimer’s), seems to have only bad memories of William as a boy. In Elizabeth’s old diary she finds an unnerving letter from a former nanny that cryptically reads: “We cannot trust anyone . . . “ Is William lying about his past? “Huntley’s debut stands out not for its thrills but rather for her hawkish eye for social detail and razor-sharp wit,” our reviewer writes. “An intoxicating escape; as smart as it is fun.” View video >