Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Exoplanets App


Okay, this is just cool.  In August, Farrar, Straus & Giroux is going to publish Scientific American's Journey to the Exoplanets as an app/book, which is a form so new it apparently hasn't been properly named yet.

Exoplanets are, of course, those newly discovered worlds orbiting stars other than our own.  The project was originally pitched as a giant illustrated print book.  The final version, which has text by Edward Bell and illustrations (including speculative renderings of some of the exoplanets) by Ron Miller, also contains video and audio clips, as well as a "build your own planet" function.

It's coming in August.  They haven't yet decided how much to charge for it.  And you can visit the micro-site (another term I'd never heard before!) here.

The model for all this appears to be Theodore Gray's bestselling app/book The Elements: A Visual Exploration (click here).  Which was not only also a physical book which you can read about here and buy in your local (independent, preferably, but whatever) bookstore, but also a wonderful interactive video display at the Chemical Heritage Foundation (click here) in Philadelphia.

Gray (or Theo, as some of us are entitled to refer to him) is the creator of the Wooden Periodic Table of the Elements (click here if you want to make yourself extremely happy) , for which he was one of the happy winner of the Ig Nobel Prize (click here). He also wrote the introduction to the print version of my own Periodic Table of Science Fiction (click here).

I used to tell people he'd written the intro and that if they knew who he was, they'd be very impressed.  Then I'd tell who he was and they'd be very impressed.  But it looks like he's catching up.

And don't forget . . .

Readercon is coming.  I'll be bringing a bundle of The Nature of Mirrors chapbooks to give away to whoever would like one.  Readercon being a pretty bookish event, and the chapbooks being a signed-and-numbered limited edition, I'm expecting to run out.

Above:  Moon of the Methuselah by Ron Miller.  From the forthcoming app/book.  There are some 75 illos and diagrams in it, and this picture is pretty typical of Miller's work.



Jonathan Crowe said...

Oh dear. If this is anything like The Elements (or another book-app-thingy published by Gray's company, Marcus Chown's Solar System), I'm probably going to have to get it.

(I usually curse when confronted with something so awesome I simply have to spend money. For example: "Oh hell! A rare limited-edition work by that fiend Swanwick! Damn it!" And then I open my wallet.)

See you at Readercon.

Michael Swanwick said...

Ahhhhh, just wait 'til you see what Dragonstairs Press is working on.