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Nonfiction

alphabetical by author

A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Harry Abelove
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The Lesbian and Gay Reader (ed. with Michele Aina Birale, David M. Halperin)
The biggest and most comprehensive multi-disciplinary anthology of critical work in lesbian/gay studies brings together 42 groundbreaking essays which extensively illustrate the range, scope, diversity, appeal, and power of the work currently being done in the field. Essential reading for anyone interested in the history of sexuality, sexual politics, and gender studies.

Brian Aldiss

Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction
A critical survey of science fiction from its origins through the mid-1980's. A valuable guide to the genre by one of its noteworthy practicioners. - DH

Nina Auerbach

Our Vampires, Ourselves
Our Vampires, Ourselves is not your ordinary work of literary criticism, but rather an entertaining, thought-provoking tour of the history of vampires in Western civilization. The vampires and works discussed include Lord Ruthven, Varney, Carmilla, Dracula, Fritz Leiber's "The Girl," famous film Draculas, Fred Saberhagen's Dracula, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Saint-Germain, Anne Rice's Louis and Lestat, Stephen King's Barlow, films such as The Lost Boys and Near Dark, and countless books. - BO

Jared Diamond

Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Life isn't fair--here's why: Since 1500, Europeans have, for better and worse, called the tune that the world has danced to. In Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond explains the reasons why things worked out that way.

Thomas M. Disch
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The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of: How Science Fiction Conquered the World
In The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of, Thomas Disch does for science fiction what he did for poetry in The Castle of Indolence. First, he treats it not as a playground for idle dreamers, but as a branch of serious literature with significant cultural impact. Second, he brings the perspective of a seasoned practitioner to bear in separating the wheat from the chaff.

Stephen Duncombe

Notes From Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture
This book details the origins and current state of zine publishing in relation to political and social issues. This is a fantastic book for anyone interested in zines, how they were started by science fiction fans, and how they are kept alive by the punk rock scene.

Freeman Dyson
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Disturbing the Universe by Freeman Dyson
This is the classic intellectual autobiography of a great theoretical physicist. Spanning the years from World War II, when he was a civilian statistician in the operations research section of the Royal Air Force Bomber Command, through his studies with Hans Bethe at Cornell University, his early friendship with Richard Feynman, and his postgraduate work with J. Robert Oppenheimer, Freeman Dyson has composed an autobiography unlike any other. Dyson evocatively conveys the thrill of a deep engagement with the world, be it as scientist, citizen, student, or parent. Detailing a unique career not limited to his groundbreaking work in physics, Dyson discusses his interest in minimizing loss of life in war, in disarmament, and even in thought experiments on the expansion of our frontiers into the galaxies.
From Eros to Gaia
Dyson (Physics/Princeton's Institute for Advanced Studies; Weapons and Hope, 1984, etc.) cleans house with this stimulating collection of 35 articles, lectures, and essays on science and the future of humanity--less focused, by necessity, than his earlier works, but with something to satisfy every Dyson fan.
Imagined Worlds
Thanks to new technologies, researchers can see much farther into the galaxies, much deeper into the genetic structure of life, and more clearly into the heart of the atom than ever before. But envisioning our cultural future still requires the kind of probing, reflective human imagination we see at work in these pages. As this distinguished scientist contemplates a world in which genetic engineers create superbabies and pet dinosaurs, in which space colonies raise potatoes on Mars, and in which radiotelepathy allows humans to communicate with dolphins and eagles, he weighs fear against hope. With a rare breadth of literary and historical knowledge and with a wonderful lucidity of style, Dyson transforms science from the intellectual property of specialists into a meaningful concern for everyone with a stake in our cultural future.
Origins of Life
How did life on Earth originate? Did replication or metabolism come first in the history of life? In this updated and expanded second edition of Origins of Life, Freeman Dyson examines these questions and discusses the two main theories that try to explain how naturally occurring chemicals could organize themselves into living creatures. Dyson analyzes the debate with reference to recent important discoveries by geologists and chemists. His main aim is to stimulate new experiments that could help to decide which theory is correct. This clearly-written, fascinating book will appeal to anyone interested in the origins of life.
Weapons and Hope by Freeman Dyson
In Weapons and Hope, Freeman Dyson combines the work of filling in the autobiography he started in Disturbing the Universe and the task of reflecting intelligently and critically on how, exactly, man may hope to survive as a species, given the threat of nuclear weapons.

Scott E. Green

Contemporary Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Poetry
Themes from science fiction, fantasy, and horror have become increasingly established in contemporary poetry in the US and abroad since the early 1970s. This reference includes guides to major magazines that publish this type of poetry, with an index of poets published, a bibliography of major anthologies, and a biographical directory of poets active in the three genres. Also included is an appendix of awards, a general index, and a poem title index. A brief introduction looks at the history of publishing in the field.

Donna J. Haraway
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Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature
In a collection of 10 essays with a feminist perspective, Haraway provides an analysis of the popular and scientific struggles involved in the telling of evolutionary tales.

Geraldine Harris

Gods and Pharaohs from Egyptian Mythology (The World Mythology Series)
This is one of the best easily-accessible works on Egyptian myth that I've come across, with beautiful color pictures. Encyclopedias of Egyptian gods are common, as are books on life in ancient Egypt, and dry collections of translated myths, but finding the myths retold in an engaging and well-written way can be difficult. Gods and Pharaohs takes some of the most interesting and fundamental Egyptian legends and tells them in short, easily-readable pieces that make for great story ideas. Despite the young adult reading level, it's thoroughly grounded in research. It also has a short section on who the gods are and what the glyphs mean, but the real reason to read it is for the beauty and power of the myths and illustrations. - MK

Dorothy Hartley

Lost Country Life
This beautiful and heartfelt encyclopedia of rural life in the Middle Ages gets its special charm because the author, as a little girl, knew shepherds and laborers who lived in a way that had hardly changed through the centuries. She evokes that land, now lost forever, where man was the measure of all things. Using as a framework a 16th-century calendar of advice for farmers, she takes us month by month through the country-dweller's year, and opens up the customs and traditions of a vanished rural life.

Mark Heath
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Drawing Cartoons
A primer on drawing cartoons.

Allan G. Johnson
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The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy

Gwyneth Jones

Deconstructing the Starships: Science, Fiction. and Reality
Contemplating the scientific study of sex, a topic remarkably rarely addressed by science fiction writers, Jones turns to a collection of scientific essays from the Eleventh International Conference on Comparative Physiology.
See the review in Strange Horizons.

Thomas Laqueur
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Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud
This is a book about the making and unmaking of sex over the centuries. It tells the astonishing story of sex in the West from the ancients to the moderns in a precise account of the history of reproductive anatomy and physiology. - BO

Ursula K. LeGuin
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Dancing at the Edge of the World (ed.)
This collection of lucid, witty, warm, and intelligent talks, essays, and reviews was written with the goal of gentle subversion of the established order. Says the author, "I think I ought to stand up and be counted, lest silence collude with injustice." Her subjects, which she categorizes (and even codes for the reader) as Feminism, Social Responsibility, Literature, and Travel, offer astute observations on a variety of timely topics.

Hal Lindsay
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The Late Great Planet Earth (with C.C. Carlson)
For Christians and non-Christians of the 1970s, Hal Lindsey's blockbuster served as a wake-up call on events soon to come and events already unfolding—all leading up to the greatest event of all: the return of Jesus Christ. - BO

Nick Mamatas
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You Are Being Lied To: The Disinformation Guide To Media Distortion, Historical Whitewashes & Cultural Myths (edited by Russ Kirk)
Contains article "Go Out and Kill People Because This Article Tells You To" by Nick Mamatas.

Helen McCarthy
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The Anime! Movie Guide
This is the most complete film-by-film guide to anime with more than 750 listings of films and videos. - BO
Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation
McCarthy, who has written extensively about anime, offers an overview of the artist's career in animation and manga. She discusses each film in detail, with character descriptions and plot synopses, but she writes as a fan (rather than a critic or historian), and her text overflows with superlatives. - BO
The Anime Encyclopedia: A Guide to Japanese Animation Since 1917 (with Jonathan Clements)
In this important book, Jonathan Clements and Helen McCarthy present an enormous amount of information about 2,000 series and features, detailing their plots and relationships to other anime properties. In these areas, the book is definitive, and readers can only wish a comparable volume existed for American animation. - BO
The Erotic Anime Movie Guide (with Jonathan Clements)
The definitive handbook of Japanese animation's most fascinating and controversial sub-genre--erotic anime. - BO

Debbie Notkin

Flying Cups and Saucers: Gender Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy (ed.)

Marc Okrand

The Klingon Dictionary : English/Klingon ...
This is an amusing tribute to fandom: A dictionary for a language that doesn't exist. The Klingon Dictionary includes a language primer and a translation guide from Klingon to English. The language is complex and has a guttural sound, but anyone who enjoys playing with language will have a ball figuring out the syntax. Although the language is artificially created, it has a "live" feel, because it has several elements of incongruity, just like every natural language acquires over its evolution. Fun to play with, or a great gift for the Hard Core Trekkie in your life. yIlaD paq! (Read this book!) - PS

David H. Richter
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The Critical Tradition: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends (ed.)

Rudy Rucker
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The Fourth Dimension (with Roy Rucker, David Potlavis)
This is a nice well-written book about what a 4D Universe would be like, and delves a bit into Einsteinian spacetime. - BO

Carl Sagan

The Dragons of Eden : Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence
Carl Sagan's Pulitzer Prize-winning book covers theories on human intelligence in some of the most readable prose I've ever come across in science writing. The "dragons of Eden" are the reptilian centers of our brain, the medulla and other hindbrain centers where programming from our evolution still remains. The two levels above that, like the cerebral cortex, are overlays where human intelligence comes into play, but deep down in our brains responses like the "fight or flight" drive still influence our behavior. Though written before the advent of PET scans, this still remains full of fascinating ideas on how humans think and how we came to think. Best of all, this is short and pithy, while still full of the lively mind that made him so famous. - MK

John Scalzi
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The Rough Guide to Money Online (ed.)

Charles Seife

Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
Zero is an engrossing book that traces the history of the concept of zero, and its path from ancient history to modern physics. The story is told with wit and humor, and the author is not afraid to take small side trips in order to make understanding easier on the reader. While the book will be most appreciated by those with a solid grounding in mathematics or physics, the concepts are laid out in such a way that they are readily approachable by anyone. No prior mathematical experience is assumed, and the author gives readers all the tools they need to follow along. Of particular interest to Speculative Fiction readers are the explanations of relativity, string theory, black holes, wormholes and similar phenomena often used and abused by fiction writers, in terms easily understandable to people who, like myself, find themselves without a degree in quantum physics. - PS

Steve Sneyd
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Star-Spangled Shadows: Poetry in American Fanzines
Flights from the Iron Moon

S. Alan Stern

Pluto and Charon: Ice Worlds on the Ragged Edge of the Solar System (Space Science Series) (with Jacqueline Mitton)
Which planet is furthest from the sun? It's a question whose answer has just changed. For the last 20 years, the answer was Neptune, giving scientists the opportunity to study the closer Pluto. As of February 1999, Pluto has again looped out beyond Neptune's orbit, and will remain there until 2,232.--ABCNews.com For the first time in nearly two decades, here is the story of this distant planet of the solar system and its moon Despite our growing understanding of Pluto and its moon Charon, there have not been any books written on them since 1981, when Clyde Tombaugh's book was published in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Pluto's discovery. Now well-known astronomer Alan Stern presents the first popular account of what we have learned about Pluto and Charon since 1980. It starts with the discovery of Pluto in 1930 and culminates with observations obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope in 1996.
Pluto and Charon (Space Science Series) (with David J. Tholen, ed.)

James Twitchell
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Dreadful Pleasures: An Anatomy of Modern Horror
Dreadful Pleasures takes a lively look at the stories that make our hair stand on end. James Twitchell examines the appeal of horror through the centuries--its persistence in our culture, its manifestations in art, literature, and cinema, and our need for the frisson it provides. - BO
The Living Dead: A Study of the Vampire in Romantic Literature

Robert Wright

Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny
The title of this book refers to the mathematical concept of the "zero sum game". Wright examines human history -- both at evolutionary and social time scales -- through the lens of game theory. He argues that the history of "advance" towards more intelligent life-forms, and more cooperative, interdependent societies, is unsurprising. He further suggests that these trends are likely to continue regardless of any efforts to halt them, and outlines an approach to public policy and private philosophy that embraces interdependence rather than isolation, and ameliorates the shocks of continuous change. Wright shows how a coolly scientific appraisal of humanity's three-billion-year past can give new spiritual meaning to the present and offer political guidance for the future. - RMH

Bookstore blurbs written by: Nathan Barker, David Horwich, Mack Knopf, Beth Oing, Sarah Palmero, Paul Schumacher