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Nonfiction Books of SFnal Interest
January 1999

* Benford, Gregory Deep Time: How Humanity Communicates Across Millennia (Avon Bard 0-380-97537-8, $20.00, 225pp, hc, February 1999, cover by Tom Canty) Benford's first nonfiction book is about humanity's efforts to send messages into the far future: warnings about nuclear dump sites; coded diagrams on space probes to be deciphered by aliens. Some of this material appeared as essays in F&SF. (Tue 5 Jan 1999)

Bukatman, Scott Blade Runner (British Film Institue 0-85170-623-1, $10.95, 96pp, tpb, 1997) Criticial examination of the 1982 Ridley Scott film, one of the ''BFI Modern Classics'' series of books about significant 20th century films. Another, not seen, is by Camille Paglia on Hitchcock's The Birds. (Fri 1 Jan 1999)

* Casti, John L., & Anders Karlqvist, eds Mission to Abisko: Stories and Myths in the Creation of Scientific ''Truth'' (Perseus Books 0-7382-0002-6, $25.00, 8+194pp, hc, December 1998) Anthology of essays resulting from a 1997 symposium conducted by John Casti, held in the Swedish village Abisko, on the question ''How do the stories that scientists tell each other, and the public, affect the way they do their science?'' Contributors include Greg Bear, Gregory Benford, Paul J. McAuley, Larry Niven, Ian Stewart, Jack Cohen, John D. Barrow. (Fri 1 Jan 1999)

* Fromkin, David The Way of the World: From the dawn of civilizations to the eve of the Twenty-First Century (Knopf 0-679-44609-5, $25.00, 253pp, hc, January 1999) A history of the world in under 250 pages. The way of the title is a ''river of scientific and technological innovation'' that's built for a thousand years and that promises ''exciting prospects...for a world still constrained by its past and by human nature'', according to the dust jacket text. (Fri 22 Jan 1999)

* Gershenfeld, Neil When Things Start to Think (Henry Holt 0-8050-5874-5, $25.00, 11+225pp, hc, January 1999) Another book about the infiltration of computers into everyday life; recently paired with Ray Kurzweil's book (listed in January) as the subjects of a debate in Slate. (Wed 27 Jan 1999)

* Heard, Alex Apocalypse Pretty Soon: Travels in End-Time America (Norton 0-393-04689-3, $24.95, 360pp, hc, February 1999) A survey of ''America's most intensely religious and political believers'' on the eve of the new millennium, including UFO cults, life-extentionists, Biblical literalists, would-be utopians. Copious notes, but no index. (Fri 22 Jan 1999)

* Highfield, Roger The Physics of Christmas: From the Aerodynamics of Reindeer to the Thermodynamics of Turkey (Little Brown 0316366110, $20.00, 320pp, hc, December 1998) This book was widely reviewed in December and perhaps as a result could not be found at any bookstore in Locus Online's neighborhood; not seen.

* Lapham, Lewis H., ed. (with Peter T. Struck) The End of the World (St. Martin's/Thomas Dunne Books 0-312-19264-9, $24.95, 22+297pp, hc, December 1998) An anthology of nonfiction writings, from Plato and Pliny to Freud and Picasso, assembled by the editor of Harper's, about various visions of the end of the world over the centuries, including lists of prophecies for the 21st century. (Mon 18 Jan 1999)

* Nahin, Paul J. Time Machines 2/e (Springer/AIP Press 0-387-98571-9, $34.00, 32+628pp, hc, November 1998) "Time travel in physics, metaphysics, and science fiction" -- a textbook sized tome. (Mon 18 Jan 1999)

Rebello, Stephen Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho (St. Martin's Griffin 0-312-20785-9, $14.95, 224pp, tpb, December 1998) Reprint (Dembner Books 1990) presumably timed to cash in on the success of Gus Van Sant's remake, released in early December 1998, of the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock film. The cover has a quote from Van Sant: ''Essential... I've learned so much from reading this book.'' (Fri 1 Jan 1999)

* Wagner, Jon, & Jan Lundeen Deep Space and Sacred Time: Star Trek in the American Mythos (Praeger 0-275-96225-3, $27.95, 13+264pp, hc, 1998) Yet another pseudo-academic tome analyzing the Star Trek phenomenon. Locus Online opened this book at random, read that ''The Paradise Syndrome'' was a first season episode of TOS [the original series], and put it back on the shelf. [It was a third season episode.] (Fri 8 Jan 1999)

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