Amazon is running a sale on Neon Fever Dream and you can get the ebook today for just $.99. Led by a diverse cast, Neon Fever Dream is a fast-paced, deeply-researched thriller about a dark secret hidden at Burning Man. It's earned praise from Popular Science, TechCrunch, NYT bestselling author DJ Molles, and Hugo/Nebula award winner David Brin. Tim Chang describes the story as, "An amazing blend of international espionage, underground journalism, and martial arts that makes for a fast, fun, and intriguing read." If you've read it, don't forget to let me know what you think by leaving a review. They make a big difference.
And now, books I love that you might too:
Infomocracy by Malka Older is an strikingly cool science fiction story about the future of digital democracy. The cyberpunk-ish world it describes is cast in shades of gray without slipping into dystopia and the plot races across continents with a veteran backpacker's facility. In light of the recent election, this policy-wonk/science-fiction-nerd pipe dream couldn't be more relevant. I'll be surprised (and disappointed) if it doesn't scoop up some big prizes when the awards season roles around.
Magic and Loss by Virginia Heffernan deconstructs the entire internet as humanity's most ambitious piece of art. Heffernan's analysis reframes the cultural conversation about every incarnation of digital media from design to entertainment. Thought-provoking and jam-packed with ideas, this book goes beyond facts to access the deeper layers of meaning hidden within the internet revolution.
Livia Lone by Barry Eisler is a disturbing thriller about the shadowy and all-too-real world of human trafficking and modern slavery. Eisler did an enormous amount of investigative research to inform the novel and it shows. You won't be able to tear yourself away from the story as it accelerates to its Tarantino-worthy climax and when you're left gasping in its wake of gut-wrenching vigilante justice, you'll belatedly realize you learned a lot about a social travesty that gets far too little attention.
Bonus recommendation: Ken Liu's Hugo/Nebula/World Fantasy award winning short story, The Paper Menagerie, nearly brought me to tears as I read it on BART earlier this week. I can't wait to dive into its eponymous collection.
In other news, I just passed the 20k word mark on the rough draft of a new novel that wrestles with the role algorithms play in mediating our digital lives. Production on the Neon Fever Dream audiobook is nearly complete and it should be available for listening within a few weeks. Scout published a fantastic issue on the future of policing and included an excerpt from Cumulus to illustrate the kind of future we want to avoid. I interviewed award-winning science fiction author Lavie Tidhar about his stellar novel, Central Station, for the Chicago Review of Books. I interviewed Lucas Carlson about the AI threat everyone's missing and his new novel, Big Data, for the Mission. Oh, and I've been really enjoying Black Mirror, Westworld, and Mr. Robot.
If you enjoy this newsletter and want to support it, forward this email to a friend. I love sharing amazing stories that explore the intersection of technology and culture. The goal of this newsletter is to recommend books, both fiction and nonfiction, that crackle and fizz with big ideas, keep us turning pages deep into the night, challenge our assumptions, help us find meaning in a changing world, and make us think, feel, and ask hard questions. In an age of digital abundance, quality is the new scarcity. The right book at the right time can change your life.
I also pull back the curtain on my creative process. When I'm not reading books, I'm writing them. If you're interested, you can find my books right here. They've been praised by Businessweek, Popular Science, TechCrunch, io9, and Ars Technica. I'd love to hear what you think if you give them a read.
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