The Chimerist

Posts tagged The Chimerist

Robin Sloan’s Fish app is, like it says, a tap essay about the difference between liking and loving something on the Internet — about the way most of us enjoy things only once, in a rush, online. We click the little star or heart or “like” button, maybe even update our “Read it Later” queue. Then we move on, never to return.

For me, it’s more rarely than never. I Google up old favorites; I rummage through my archives for links to and thoughts on things I read years ago; but most of my quick hits have moved to Twitter, and those are a lot harder to track down six or thirty months later. And yes: most of what I like online, I see only once.

That’s always been true for me of some other things, too. Magazine articles. Theatrical productions. Limited-run films. Even books. Plenty of books. The problem isn’t unique to the Internet, but it feels different here, more endemic to the medium. So many new things are always streaming past that we don’t often make time to visit the old ones. 

Sloan advocates going back to things. Really sitting with them, getting to know them. To say much more than that might spoil the Fish for you, so I’ll just recommend downloading it and reading through, possibly more than once. There is no back button.

For a good companion app, try the beautiful and mysterious Everything Is Its Own Reward, which I, like Laura, find myself returning to often, especially at the end of a stressful day. It took me several readings to remember to look for the hidden parts.

Maud Newton

When it comes to integrating images, text and video in inventive ways, some of the most promising new tablet apps have been produced by museums. It’s a logical fit: Museums are about both information and looking at things. People absorb their exhibits by wandering around, in a self-directed and often non-linear manner. And museums tend to be funded by corporations who like the idea that their investment will result in their logo being attached to prestigious content distributed all over the world, not just in the city where the museum is located. That means the apps are often free.

The new app for the Design Museum in London is, unsurprisingly, beautifully designed. It features 59 exemplary objects from the museum’s collection, everything from iconic chairs and the original, candy-colored iMac to the first plastic-covered nappy (diaper), devised by an American housewife in 1946 and celebrated in the accompanying text as an example of ingenious “design without designers.” Others are simply beautiful.

The items are presented on a grid, with each column and row scrollable either vertically or horizontally. Select an object and the entry expands to reveal a gallery of photographs from various angles, text explaining the object’s provenance and the reasons for its inclusion, and a brief video of museum director Deyan Sudjic talking about why it’s notable. Although Deyan has a pleasant voice and extemporizes comfortably, the videos are the weakest part of the app because they are superfluous. There’s nothing in them you can’t already find in the text or photographs. Occasionally, they miss an opportunity, such as not including the sound of Alberto Alessi’s famous Whistling Kettle, which was designed to sound like an American freight train, and since many of these objects are praised for their functionality, it would be nice to see some of them in action.

A curious effect of meandering through the Design Museum Collection app and other forms of non-linear media is a low-level anxiety that you might miss something. In a physical museum, you can poke your head in every room and assure yourself that you’ve covered all the exhibit territory in the building. Every so often, using the Design Museum app, I found myself scrolling an interesting object off the main page and then not being able to find it again. (The scrollable “strips” seem to change their composition when you move in and out of an entry.) Where was that weird-looking TV, again? Eventually, I found it, but this nagging sensation of incompleteness is something nonlinear-media creators need to bear in mind. The idea is to make art and information accessible to an audience in new ways, not (or at least not always) to make them wonder if it’s been withheld.

Finally, while I’m leery of the mania for injecting social media elements into every cultural experience, I love that the Design Museum app supports comments on every single entry. The objects were all designed to be used, and it’s delightful to read accounts (both laudatory and derisive) of what it’s like to live with them. 

Laura Miller

I’m looking forward to Samantha Gorman’s Penumbra, an iPad app created with Danny Cannizzaro that blends art and literature and is designed to “challenge the notion of a static ‘ebook’ by carefully integrating short film, rich animation, illustration and fiction.” Gorman has posted several video previews at her site. (Thanks for the tip, Patrick.) 

Maud Newton

When the New York Public Library released Biblion last year, it properly wowed iPad users interested in inventive ways of presenting information. Alexis Madrigal at the Atlantic proclaimed it a model for the magazine apps of the future. So far, though — nearly a year later — there hasn’t been another issue.

The theme of the premier issue is the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City. The library signed on to get all materials pertaining to the event right from the very beginning, so it’s a fabulous trove of documents, correspondence, blueprints, sketches, photographs, short films, even a menu or two.

The only way to read Biblion is to wander through it, an experience that more than one observer likened to meandering around the fair itself. It’s an impressive emulation, as well, of rummaging through a good archive or taking in a museum exhibit. If you care about women at the fair (scantily-clad ones were a major attraction), or the Czech Pavilion as a commemoration of a republic that fell to the Nazis while the exhibition being built, or what the staff uniforms looked like, or the story of the African-American composer who wrote the music for the Democracity exhibit inside the fair’s giant dome, you can head straight for that and then fork off in other directions later. Navigation is complex, but after a while you get the hang of it.

The material is clustered around short, well-written essays, and this, as well, seems ideally suited to the material. I wouldn’t call Biblion a model for the tablet magazines of the future, however, because it doesn’t offer one of the primary things magazine features and books provide, which is the order of linearity. Making sense of raw facts, pointing out strands of cause and effect, conveying which bits of information mean more than others: These are some of the meaning-making services that writers and editors perform. It’s a mistake — one often made by unreflective technoevangelists — to assume that linearity’s role in that service is no more than a vexing constraint imposed by the print medium.

For a subject like the 1939 World’s Fair, however, the reader’s freedom to browse through the app’s content at will is exactly the right format. Biblion is spectacularly produced with clever little animations and nice touches like a rotating set of opening images and suggestions for which topic to visit next.

It must have cost a fortune to produce, which makes me fear the library will never get around to assembling another issue. (The web version of Biblion has a collection of stuff on Percy and Mary Shelley up at the moment, but no iPad version seems pending.) I hope that’s not the case, because the access Biblion provides to the world’s great library collections is one of the most exciting possibilities of tablet computers.

Laura Miller

The iPad has made me more conscious of my utter lack of talent at visual art than anything that’s happened since the weekend painting class I took when I was nine. I think that’s because tablet-made art, no matter how sophisticated, still seems so novel and so accessible beneath the shiny, shiny glass, like some kind of delightful accident that could happen to anyone: I have this app, too, so why can’t I draw a cherry blossom tree like that?  Obviously the same principle applies here as to actual pencil and paper. It’s not the tools, it’s the ability. And the patience.

As tools go, though, I do like Paper, a simple app which allows you to create, and to sketch and diagram in, unlimited notebooks. Everyone who’s denounced the payment set-up has a point; while the app itself is free, you have to buy the pens and brushes individually, for a total of about $8. And the Rewind feature is cumbersome and limited. I’d prefer an Undo button with endless recall. You’d understand why if you saw the “sky” I tried to draw.

I’ll always be devoted to my actual composition notebooks, but they get cluttered and filled with ephemera, and I can only keep track of one at a time. So I’ve decided to try using Paper for some of my quick notes, outlines, timelines, to-do lists, and ideas related to my various projects and interests. I like being able to sort them so cleanly. 

I’ve also started a travel journal. I haven’t kept any kind of diary, unless my blog counts as one, since I was in my early twenties. Figuring out what to say, even to myself, was too stressful. Excising the stupid things I wrote in them was too complicated. Many pages got ripped out; huge paragraphs were markered over. In the end, I threw all those notebooks away.

With this app, you can erase sentences, pages, and entire notebooks with a quick touch of the screen, so I won’t have any excuse. I’ve made after-the-fact notes on my recent, fun travels and am hoping to keep it up when I’m away in May.

Maud Newton

Oh, March — so grey and brown. Is there any month more likely to infect a resident of the East Coast with wanderlust? Lately I’ve been treating my incipient spring fever with a form of simulated travel that can only be enjoyed on the iPad.

TourWrist is the app for a panoramic photo sharing service of the same name. Users upload panoramic photos, which are pegged to the geographical location where they’re shot. You can find them as pins on a map or browse through thumbnails.

The special advantage of the iPad app is a gyroscope setting. With that option turned on, you can hold your tablet up and view the panorama as if through a window, with the image changing as you rotate. Some of the panoramas are 360-degree “strips” — that is, with nothing but black, empty space above and below — but most are fully immersive, so if you hold the iPad directly above your head and look up, you’ll see the sky — or the vaulted ceiling of a cathedral.

The odd thing about TourWrist is the mix of subject matter. Realtors and hoteliers post panoramas of their property for potential customers, and there’s a fair amount of random stuff from users who are just trying it out. In the UK, which has a lot of pins, you might find yourself standing at the center of the ancient stone circle at Castlerigg, and then hanging out with a teenager on his back porch in a suburb of Oxford.

If you just want to look at gorgeous vistas — and believe me, anyone who has ever cursed the inability of a snapshot to capture a great view should try panoramic photography — TourWrist could be frustrating. (There are filters so you can look at one kind of photo at a time, but oddly enough, no search feature.) If you’re also the kind of person who stops to examine the photographic listings posted outside realtor’s offices, then the opportunity to peer at dining rooms in Rome might be as alluring as the panoramas of famous landmarks. The things in-between are what I like best: a country church, a spot on a hiking trail, the old square of a small town in France. These things seldom end up in travel brochures, but they happen to have attracted the camera of a local hobbyist, who has been generous enough to share his or her little corner of the world.

And if you just want to be wowed, I recommend the fifty — count ‘em fifty — panoramas shot on the outrageously picturesque streets of Bruges.

Laura Miller

I don’t hate games. In fact, I can become as obsessed with a game as anybody else. It’s true, however, that I don’t care for most popular iPad games because 1) combat bores me and 2) I don’t like cartoon characters. I can offer no defense for myself on the second count: Animation, apart from Miyaazki and some Pixar, mostly just leaves me cold. 

For this reason, my eyes glaze over at the sight of countless app icons featuring the big-eyed, wacky/goofy cartoon heroes of the average casual iPad game. I don’t want to defend towers, help Squidgy the Squirrel get his nuts back, or plant crops. (The “time management” game genre baffles me more than any other — how did mimicking the least enjoyable aspect of modern life become a form of play?)

But here at The Chimerist, we love us some Vectorpark. Maud has already praised Levers and the delightfully bizarre Feed the Head. Now it’s my turn to celebrate Windosill, my favorite of the bunch. 

Windosill involves rolling a toy truck through a series of tableaux. In each scene, you have to figure out how to obtain a small cube (I think of them as sugar cubes) that will enable you to get to the next scene. This involves interacting with peculiar objects and beings: windmills made of feet, giant eyeballs, a sort of jack-in-the-box snake thing, colored dots that swarm like bees, and a little man in a space ship, among others. Clouds can be peeled back to obtain water, or shattered like glass. Disembodied tongues and beaks poke out of cubbyholes. Everything is bathed in a cool, blue glow like the light cast by a television set in a dark room.

Windowill is simple, I suppose, but it feels like its own little snow-globe world, consistent and self-contained. Yet it’s full of clever surprises. In its own small way, it’s just about perfect.

Laura Miller

Color, I recently realized, is a big reason why I love my iPad. I spend most of my day looking at black characters on (more or less) white pages. If I have the time to get out to a museum, I’ll sometimes stand in front of paintings, gorging on their colors, until I feel almost woozy. But I don’t often have the time for that. My iPad can give me a chromatic hit to tide me over.

Color Uncovered is a free app produced by the Exploratorium, a science museum in San Francisco. Each page explains how a certain aspect of color works, often using optical tricks, like asking you to stare at a color negative image for 30 seconds, then switching it with a black and white version of the same image, causing it to seem, briefly and gloriously, technicolored.

You may already sorta know this stuff — saturation and complementarity, etc. You learned it in school decades ago. But chances are you don’t really remember it that well, partly because tools like this weren’t around to teach it to you. I confess, though, that I’ve never entirely understood why TV screens are made up of tiny blue, red and green lights when I always thought the primary colors were blue, red and yellow. Now I know.

In addition to the various optical illusions and other illustrations of how our minds and eyes perceive color, this app includes some delightful, deftly edited videos in which people of various ages talk about what certain colors signify to them. Remember those late-night undergraduate bull sessions about how we can’t really be sure that other people are thinking of the same thing we are when they say “red”? Well, these videos could revive such talk. I was mystified by the emotional connotations the interviewees attached to my favorite color (green, if you must know).

Writing often gets short shrift in a visually -based app like Color Uncovered. Not so in this case. The text is perfectly calibrated to be understood by the many young visitors to the Exploratorium, without irritating adult readers. Every aspect of this app, down to its smallest design elements, is beautifully and expertly rendered. 

Laura Miller

I’m more drawn to games than you are, Laura, especially when I’ve spent the day writing, but I’ve never been good at shoot-em-up stuff.  I like cards and other kinds of strategy, and things involving connections or geometric shapes. Pipe Dream, derailer of many undergraduate papers, was an old Windows favorite. Tetris, too, but I never had nightmares about it, which is more than I can say about the pipes’ green goo.

I’ve found some great games for the iPhone — Eliss and, before the “upgrades,” Twistlink and Surfacer — but most either haven’t been reconfigured for the iPad or don’t translate well to the larger screen. One exception is Stay, another balance game, this one involving falling squares, rectangles, and skulls. Though Stay is sized for the iPhone, not the iPad, the washed-out, low-res images don’t suffer the way so many others do in the 2x-blowing-up. I prefer the larger version.

In the easiest mode, the idea is to keep your little red triangle on the seesaw as long as you can. Once you get the hang of it, it’s not so hard. Until the skulls start dropping.  They explode into eight or ten deadly little black asteroids.  

I’ve never gotten good enough to discover what horrors lurk in the more difficult settings.

—Maud Newton

Maud and I have been going back and forth on The Chimerist’s house style. My journalism background makes me unusually sticklerish on this subject; I care less about which style we use than that we’re consistent. Maud likes the Oxford comma, which I’m not used to since it’s not AP style (what most of the publications I write for use). I did adjust to it, though, when writing my book, which was governed by the Chicago Manual. So, we’re using the Oxford comma. Unless I forget, in which case, Maud gets to scold me.

The thing we’re hung up on, however, is how to set the names of apps. AP style puts the titles of most works of art in quotation marks, rather than italics. That’s due to something about typesetting in the newspapers where AP style emerged back in the olden days. (It also turned out to be good for early HTML publications, where the last character in an italicized word would lean into the space before the first character in the next word set in roman type — awful!) But italics do look better, and you don’t run into trouble with possessives.

Anyway, we’ve been kicking the question around, and at one point Maud went in to put the titles of all apps in quotes. This didn’t seem weird for apps like "Chopsticks" or "Meanwhile," which are obviously fictional, narrative works like novels or films. But what about Evernote or Flipboard? They’re apps, too, but setting their names in quotes or italics feels strange — they’re tools like Microsoft Word or Scrivener, not works of art. (Though Scrivener comes pretty close to art in my book.)

This question gets to the heart of what we want to explore with The Chimerist. Some apps are most definitely works of art; others are definitely not. But what about Strange Rain, an app that I approached as a piece of storytelling, but that my friend Clive uses as a sound effects machine when he’s having trouble getting to sleep? An app that’s not especially creative — say, a basic catalog of images from an art exhibit — would definitely get quotes or italics if it were published as a printed book, but requires a lot less ingenuity in the making than Evernote.

We decided from the start that The Chimerist would not cover the utilitarian apps that (along with games) dominate most app review sites. We want to do our small bit to foster and encourage the innovative use of tablets as a creative platform. But the App Store is a crazy hodgepodge of barely-organized stuff, from currency converters to interactive versions of T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land.” (As a former bank clerk, Eliot might have appreciated the irony of that.) It’s not always clear what’s art and what’s not. After all, most people think of Steve Jobs as immensely creative but he never made an actual work of art in any conventional sense of the term. 

Who knew that a little thing like quotation marks could trigger so much soul-searching about our mission?

—Laura Miller

These are my screenshots — two photos by Pierre-Louis Pierson, of the Comtesse de Castiglione, Virginie Oldoni, a woman who is both a muse to my second novel, The Queen of the Night, and the villain of it as well. The first, “The Opera Ball,” I like to look at as it perfectly contains the tone of the novel. The second, “Scherzo di Follia,” on the home page, is a famous one of her eye.

Oldoni was a bit of a 19th Century Cindy Sherman, one of the most famous beauties in Second Empire Paris and probably the most notorious mistress of Napoleon the III. She had herself photographed in her most famous gowns and costumes to document her own history, and Pierson did very well by her. She’s my novel’s presiding ghost, and I wrote about her before I knew she existed, inventing a character like her before finding a photo of her by Pierson, dressed as I had described her. These two photos help me remember what I am doing somehow, so they are here.

I bought my iPad back in 2010. I didn’t initially like it, despite some high hopes. I found the lack of Flash ridiculous, an ostentatious prohibition like the colored dots Apple forced fashion magazines like GQ and VMan to put on their photo spreads, over nipples and other potentially obscene areas. These actually enraged me so much I almost returned it. The censorship by dot was all due to Steve Jobs’ famous fear of porn, and it made the tablet editions of these magazines look and feel a lot like they were being subjugated to the demands of a high-tech gated community run by a co-op board with a bizarre moral code. One that was only going to force you to pay for things you could get for free elsewhere, and without the dots. I didn’t like a machine that felt as if it didn’t trust me to be an adult. Who were these dots for? Who was going to accidentally see a nipple and be offended except me? My window to the future of media had a child lock on it that I didn’t ask for and couldn’t take off.

Worse, it wasn’t even legislated — it was only due to Steve Jobs’ personal foibles, and as such, it was immune to appeal, unlike, say, a law. But then I found Comixology and so the device stayed put. Because I really did like reading comics on the iPad — it was like the most organized set of reading copies ever. 

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Once Magazine brings photojournalism to the iPad in monthly issues of three stories each. The format is simple — several pages of intelligent reporting interspersed with gorgeous photography — but native to the device, so that the essays are pleasing and straightforward to navigate, with surprising touches: a short, unobtrusive opening sound clip; a brief, dreamy video, easily skipped if you’re not in the mood on first read.

You can tell right away that this is not a periodical imported from print.  

The writers and photographers the editors work with have a way of making the people and places whose stories they’re telling feel present rather than bemusedly scrutinized.

For the March issue, photographer Thomas Lekfeldt and writer Lene Winther traveled to Zambia to document Chinese development and influence there. The resulting essay, Africhina, examines the tension between the region’s desperate need for jobs, education, and investment, which China is providing, and concerns about sustainability and — in a place where protesting miners have been shot at by their Chinese managers — human rights. 

And Satan Also Came Among Them,” by Noah Friedman-Rudovsky and Jean Friedman-Rudovsky, is about the rape, over three years, of 130 women (and girls) in an eastern Bolivian Mennonite colony by eight men who sprayed “a homemade anesthetizing substance” through bedroom windows at night to drug entire families. Even now, some members of the community deny that any of this actually happened. The victims, including the girl disappearing behind the door in the shot above, worry that the experience left them “stained.”

The March issue also featured Once’s first work of fiction, from Peter Orner, also photo-illustrated. With so few general-interest magazines publishing short stories these days, I’m interested to see what April brings.  

A subscription costs $1.99 per month; single issues are $2.99. The images below, taken from an essay on seal hunts in Greenland, appeared at the magazine’s debut last September. 

The photographer is Andrea Gjestvang. Once promises to split App Store revenues with contributors.

Maud Newton

In which we talk with Findings about our reasons for starting the site.


Welcome to the second installment of “How We Will Read,” a series exploring the future of reading from the perspectives of publishers, writers, and intellectuals. This week, we talked to Laura Miller and Maud Newton, founders of The Chimerist, a new blog dedicated to exploring the imaginative potential of the iPad.

Laura Miller is a writer and critic. She was a co-founder of Salon and is currently a staff-writer there. Maud Newton is a writer, editor and critic whose work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Bookforum, Narrativethe Los Angeles Timesthe Paris Review Daily, Granta, The Awl,and many other publications.

In addition to ruminating on the experience of using the iPad, Maud and Laura discussed the future of narrative forms, interactive storytelling, and their hopes for the evolution of publishing. What resulted was two poetic and nuanced views of what digital reading means to people who love books. Their work at The Chimerist had already distinguished Laura and Maud as thoughtful writers at the intersection of media and technology. It was incredible to hear what else they were thinking about as they navigate this new and rapidly changing space. Check out their interview below, and be sure to check out The Chimerist, too.

Tell me how you guys got together and founded the Chimerist.

Maud Newton: Well, this is the first time Laura and I have spoken over the phone.

Laura Miller: We did actually have lunch in person to talk about it.

MN: And we got drinks once. But those were the only in-person meetings we had about it. I was writing a little diary for the Paris Review about using my iPad, and I was having a back-and-forth with Laura about how annoying the app store is to navigate. I was going to quote her in the interview, so I asked her if that was okay, and we started talking about how great it would be to do a site about the iPad. That was May or June of 2010.

What about the iPad appeals to you as readers and consumers?

LM: I actually had this argument with a friend last night — he was advancing the Cory Doctorow thesis that it’s this horrible, oppressive device because it forces you to be a consumer rather than a creator. And I don’t necessarily disagree with the idea that it is more a device for consumption of culture than production of culture. But I already have a laptop, so it’s not like it’s supplanting my laptop when I want to create something. Most the stuff I create for The Chimerist I create on my laptop, not my iPad.

There’s some sort of disgrace to being a reader, or a viewer, or just absorbing some work of culture — it’s this lesser activity, by that rationale. I really disagree with that. I feel like reading and looking at art and all of these things are creative acts in their own way. The experience of a piece of culture being appreciated takes two people. A poor reader cannot have a great reading experience with a great author.

With the iPad I can be more relaxed and receptive. In the industry lingo, it’s called the “lean back” rather than the “sit forward” mode. That is a buzzword, but I kind of agree — I lean back with my iPad, in a calm mood. I’m not responding to email, I’m not checking Twitter, I’m not feeling like I should be writing something, I’m just there for whatever somebody has created. I’m there to witness it, and appreciate it, and absorb it.

MN: Unlike Laura, I’m not really interested in engaging with people who don’t like the iPad, which is one of the things that appeals to me about The Chimerist. I have a lot of friends who are really skeptical of its use and its value, and that’s fine, I’m not trying to convert anyone. I don’t care. In my opinion they’re missing out, but that’s their choice (laughs).

I like the idea of having a site that is a place to think about what the potential of the iPad is — the narrative potential of the tablet and the potential of the tablet to create venues for new art and new kinds of fun that blur the boundaries of these things. It’s a really exciting time to me. When I first heard about the iPhone, even though I had the most bottom-of-the-barrel phone — that I was always losing — I said, “Ooh, I want that!” And the iPad is just vastly superior to the iPhone, as far as the user’s ability to experience art and to try new things that aren’t just games.

I think I use my iPad for a greater variety of things than Laura does. I do use it a little bit for work. And I do a lot of reading for my non-day job on it, and that basically includes everything I’m known for. When an e-galley is available, I tend to read that, because then I can read it at home, on my iPad, and then take my iPad with me on the subway, or just sync it to my iPhone and read that way.

But it is a special kind of canvas. It is a device that enables you to focus on one thing at a time, and I know some people have a real issue with that, that you can’t open another window inside what you’re doing, but I actually find that really refreshing. Even as someone who loves the internet. When I turn to my iPad, I’m looking for a different kind of distraction-free experience, for whatever I’m working on at the time.

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I use a Blackberry for my mobile phone and work email needs. For a long time, I fantasized about getting an iPad, after Levi Stahl at the University of Chicago Press sent me a note about their Gems and Jewels app, worth every penny and a few thousand more. I also wanted Show Dogs from Evil Twin Publications so I that could peruse various kinds of wolfhound.

It wasn’t until I had two publicity clients whose digital publishing endeavors could only be experienced on the platform –– Storyville and Booktrack –– that my desire became necessity. From there, my personal acquisitiveness took form in a wild jag from one jewelry app to another, including the Bulgari app for an exhibition I saw in Paris that included Elizabeth Taylor’s emeralds, large as eggs, and a Boucheron app that begins with a black cat materializing out of the darkness with a diamond ring in its mouth. 

The brass ring goes to Louis Vuitton’s 100 Legendary Trunks: "Crocodile-Skin Wardrobe, Mrs. Donohue, 1936" –– Nice to Paris, 1934: Mrs. Donohue saw the crocodile-skin suitcases of Mrs. E.E.C. Mathis, the wife of the auto manufacturer, in a Cannes hotel. She would like the same, but more stylish.

Lauren Cerand is a publicist in New York. She often shares her notes on living at LuxLotus.comFor details on submitting your screenshots, go here.

We’re excited to learn of Download the Universe, a new site by Carl Zimmer and fourteen colleagues that’s devoted to science ebooks.

"There’s been a serious gap in this growing ecosystem: a way for people who want to read new ebooks about science to find out about new projects," Zimmer says. "Because science ebooks are so new, they have a way of falling between the cracks. Conventional book reviews aren’t very interested; blogs only sporadically pay attention…. We are fifteen writers and scientists who want to explore this new form. On a regular basis, we’ll be delivering new reviews of ebooks about technology, medicine, natural history, neuroscience, astronomy, and anything else that fits under the comfortably large rubric of science. We also define ebooks generously — everything from a plain-vanilla pdf on an author’s web site to a Kindle Single to an elaborate iPad app. (We will not be reviewing ebooks that are simply digitized versions of print books.)"


Maud Newton