Lots of fantastic new books are released every month, many of which are guaranteed to appeal to geeks. Here, we offer a selection of those titles; some about technology or geek culture, some being science fiction or fantasy novels, and some being books we just think you’ll like.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into some of the great books we think you should be reading this month. You never know what gold you’ll find lurking inside.
Women in Game Development: Breaking the Glass Level-Cap Edited by Jennifer Brandes Hepler
The gender pay gap is a well-attested theory, and most people will have heard about the problems the game industry has been having with gender equality. Women in Game Development collects contributions from a number of well-known female game designers and lets them share their experiences, insights, and passion for games.
Hepler has been very successful in the game development world, having worked on a number of tabletop games before switching to video games and becoming the senior writer for three Dragon Age games as well as Star Wars: The Old Republic.
No matter what your experience with the gender issues in game development is, this will be a great book to open your eyes to diversity in gaming; by both foregrounding female game designers and emphasizing the fact that game development can be a male-dominated and often hostile field, it promises to shine light on a part of the scene that’s not often discussed.
Released on July 17, 2016.
As robots get more and more advanced, they become capable of doing more of the jobs — both blue- and white-collar — that are currently held by humans. And while we might hope that the creation of these robots will also come with the creation of a lot of jobs, as happened in the Industrial Revolution, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Martin Ford doesn’t think that will be the case. In fact, he predicts rampant unemployment and inequality in the face of rising healthcare and education costs.
It’s not a pretty prediction, but it’s an important one to be aware of. Ford’s book gives readers a glimpse into the future and comes with a few dire warnings about what we’ll need to do to make sure that information technology benefits us and following generations instead of throwing them into economic chaos.
Released on July 12, 2016.
Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky
This gorgeous illustrated book is probably meant for children, but the art alone makes it worth having in your house. The fact that it’s about 50 really amazing women who changed our views of science makes it doubly awesome. Each page is illustrated in striking duotones combining gray and another color (like the awesome purple on Patricia Bath’s page, below).
Including researchers in fields like biology, engineering, math, physics, and many others, Women in Science celebrates the women that too often get overlooked when we talk about people making history in the STEM fields, and that’s important for boys, girls, men, and women alike. The book also includes a number of insightful infographics and an illustrated scientific glossary.
Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension by Samuel Arbesman
Arbesman, a complexity scientist, tells a fascinating and somewhat alarming story in Overcomplicated; as technology becomes more and more advanced, he posits, it “mimics the vagaries of the natural world more than it conforms to a mathematical model,” and starts doing things that we don’t really understand.
He gives examples of a number of seemingly freak accidents that technology experts are still baffled by, including the suspension of trading on the New York Stock Exchange and the recent problems with Toyota automobiles that saw them accelerating out of control.
Even the people who created the technologies we use today are surprised by the things that tech does from time to time, and that comes as a surprise to those of us who use that tech on a daily basis. And while that’s a bit worrying, it also, according to Arbesman, gives us a new opportunity to look critically at the world around us, according to Arbesman. This book is sure to challenge a number of the conceptions you have about the modern world.
Released on July 19, 2016.
Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History by Thomas Rid
Rise of the Machines can be described in a single sentence as a “sweeping history of our deep entanglement with technology.” By looking at the history of two specific groups — those who seek to use technology to make the world a better place, and those who seek to use technology to control it — Rid shines some light on how we got to the modern technological age.
The history of cybernetics is a deep and fascinating one, beginning in World War II and continuing today; from Cold War bomber defense systems to cyberwars and beyond. Cybernetics has had an incalculable effect on humanity, and looking back at where it started and how it has progressed is a great way of preparing ourselves to look at its implications in the future.
Released on June 28, 2016.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling
Even before its release Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is already the #1 bestselling book for the year, beating out big names like The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, When Breath Becomes Air, and Hamilton: The Revolution. It’s a pretty big deal.
If you weren’t able to check out the West End production of The Cursed Child in London, now’s your chance to get caught up on the latest events in the Potter world. This book is the script of the first two parts of the play. Because it’s a script, it doesn’t read like a novel, and that’s likely to throw a lot of people off (I can almost guarantee that a significant portion of people who have pre-ordered it don’t realize that it’s a script).
Still, it IS the next chapter in the Potter saga, full of fantastic magic and other geeky things, and that means a lot of geeks are going to grab it as soon as it hits the shelf.
Released on July 31, 2016.
Life Debt: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig
Disney’s decision to bring the hammer down on the Star Wars Extended Universe has angered a lot of people, but the new cadre of writers that are putting out Star Wars books includes some notable names, including Chuck Wendig. The first entry in the Aftermath trilogy was a success, if a slightly controversial one. Nonetheless, if you’re a Star Wars fan, you’re going to want to grab this book.
Set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, the Aftermath trilogy shows readers how the galaxy got to be the way it is at the beginning of Episode VII. Life Debt follows Norra Wexley and her band as they embark on a desperate mission to free Chewbacca and find Han after they fall into an ambush on their way to liberate Chewie’s home planet of Kashyyyk.
Released on July 12, 2016.
What Are You Reading This Month?
These seven books are made for geeks, but with the massive number of books that are being released all the time, there are certainly a lot of other great options. So, we want to know what you’re reading this month, whether it’s aimed at geeks or not!
What was the last great geeky book you read? What are you reading right now? Will you be picking up any of these books? If you’ve read any of them already, what did you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments below…