Larissa MacFarquhar photographed by Philip Gourevitch
When I first got a copy of novelist Chuck Wendig’s new book, Zeroes, I thought I was in for a pleasant surprise. I’ve known the writer for his vicious horror novels, big-thinking sci-fi excursions, sidebars into gaming and multimedia, and the blunt and effective advice on writing that he doles out on his blog. Zeroes is nominally about a group of unrelated underground hackers who are co-opted by a government black ops project. It all sounded very mainstream.
But sadly ...
Austin Grossman photographed by Marka Knight.
So you’ve dreamed up a sweeping thriller based largely on historical fact that starts off as a brittle spy novel set in the most agitated years of the Cold War but also happens to throw in some unimaginable Lovecraftian horrors. Now the question is: who should be the hero in this nightmarish alternative history of the United States?
Of course it’s Richard Nixon.
And so emerges what has to be one of the weirdest novelistic entries in what was already ...
Ernest Cline photographed by Dan Winters.
For a guy operating under some dangerously high expectations, Ernie Cline is surprisingly cool and collected when I reach him at home in Austin, Texas, although his inner fanboy is too animated to stay quiet for long.
To recap his origin story, Cline came to prominence as the screenwriter of the 2009 indie film Fanboys. Then in 2010, he sold his first novel, Ready Player One (hereafter known as RPO), which inspired a fierce bidding war for both the publishing ...
Carl Safina photographed by Michael Lutch.
Carl Safina is used to writing about the ocean but in his latest, he turns his attentions to elephants, wolves, and whales to ask big questions about the nature of the lives of animals and man’s place in the natural world. In a starred review, Kirkus calls his new book Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel, “a profound, scientifically based appeal for recognition of the kinship of all living things.”
In the first segment of the book, Safina ...
Fred Goodman photographed by Janet Goodman.
Mark Ribowsky photographed by Mari Fraga
Journalist Mark Ribowsky (The Last Cowboy, 2013, etc.) has tackled tough subjects in the world of music before with candid, contextual biographies of The Temptations, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder and producer Phil Spector, among others. But he seems both confounded and enthralled by his latest subject, the late soul legend Otis Redding. His latest, Dreams to Remember: Otis Redding, Stax Records, and the Transformation of Southern Soul (2015), takes a deep dive not only into the life of Redding ...
Don Winslow photographed by Michael Lionstar
Don Winslow listens to the laughter of children out on the edge of America. Today, the crime writer has lent part of his ranch north of San Diego to a local school doing historical recreations of pioneer life, and the kids are excitedly throwing hatchets in the background.
“When you write books like this one, hearing a bunch of kids laugh is a good thing,” he says.
“This one” may very well be the author’s magnum opus. The Cartel ...