At the MIT Press, we know nerdy
Our authors, loyal readers, and staff are all unapologetically enthusiastic about their niche interests. If that makes us nerds, we’ll wear the honorific proudly.
We’ve put together book recommendations for every type of nerd, from the peer-reviewers and scholars to the armchair intellectuals and budding aficionados. Explore books for the sci-fi lovers in your life below. Happy holidays and happy reading.
Communications Breakdown: SF Stories about the Future of Connection edited by Jonathan Strahan
In Communications Breakdown, award-winning editor Jonathan Strahan asks some of the world’s best science fiction writers to consider how the very idea of communication might change in the future. Rich terrain for speculation, this anthology brims with human stories about the future face of our age-old need to connect. As cyberpunk pioneer William Gibson said, “The future is already here—it’s just not evenly distributed.” So what happens when inequalities keep the future from everyone’s front door? Who is in control? These stories show humanity’s ability to construct the best possible worlds while also battling our potential to inflict unlimited harm.
“With stories ranging from zany and intense…. there’s plenty to chew on here.” —Publishers Weekly
Tomorrow’s Parties: Life in the Anthropocene edited by Jonathan Strahan
We are living in the Anthropocene—an era of dramatic and violent climate change featuring warming oceans, melting icecaps, extreme weather events, habitat loss, species extinction, and more. What will life be like in a climate-changed world? In Tomorrow’s Parties, science fiction authors speculate how we might be able to live and even thrive through the advancing Anthropocene. In ten original stories by writers from around the world, an interview with celebrated writer Kim Stanley Robinson, and a series of intricate and elegant artworks by Sean Bodley, Tomorrow’s Parties takes rational optimism as a moral imperative, or at least a pragmatic alternative to despair.
“‘Hard’ sci-fi at its best.” —Nature
The Night Land, Abridged Edition by William Hope Hodgson
In the far future, humankind’s survivors huddle below Earth’s frozen surface in a pyramidal fortress-city that, for centuries now, has been under siege by loathsome “Ab-humans,” enormous slugs and spiders, and malevolent “Watching Things” from another dimension. When our unnamed protagonist receives a telepathic distress signal from a woman whom (in a previous incarnation) he’d once loved, he sallies forth on an ill-advised rescue mission—into the fiend-haunted Night Land!
“An absolutely bonkers masterpiece… If Samuel Beckett tripped hard on ayahuasca, he might have come up with something like Hodgson’s genre-defying novel…. A book I know I’ll read again and revisit in reveries for the rest of my life.” —Weird Studies
More Voices from the Radium Age edited by Joshua Glenn
A planetary escape pod, an alien body-snatcher, an underground Alaskan city, and a war between the sexes in Atlantis! These are just a few of the outré elements you’ll find in More Voices from the Radium Age, a showcase of proto–science fiction edited and introduced by Joshua Glenn. This volume brings together well-known and lesser-known writers in an inclusive collection that features E. Nesbit and May Sinclair, two of the genre’s first female writers.
“A diverse, captivating collection…. Highlighting neglected voices in speculative and science fiction, More Voices from the Radium Age offers an entertaining, engrossing glimpse into the profound and innovative literature of the early twentieth century.” —Foreword Reviews
The Truth and Other Stories by Stanisław Lem
Of these twelve short stories by science fiction master Stanisław Lem, only three have previously appeared in English, making this the first “new” book of fiction by Lem since the late 1980s. The stories display the full range of Lem’s intense curiosity about scientific ideas as well as his sardonic approach to human nature, presenting as multifarious a collection of mad scientists as any reader could wish for. Many of these stories feature artificial intelligences or artificial life forms, long a Lem preoccupation; some feature quite insane theories of cosmology or evolution. All are thought provoking and scathingly funny.
“As our world changes faster than we can make sense of it, Lem’s prescient imagination shows the power of science fiction for peering into the future.” —Scientific American
The Phantom Scientist by Robin Cousin
When physicist Stéphane Douasy arrives to occupy the vacant twenty-fourth lab at the Institute for the Study of Complex and Dynamic Systems, an ominous problem rises in his wake: what has happened to his missing neighbor in Building F? When Stéphane’s neighbors, a discouraged linguist and a computer scientist bent on predicting the future, discover that the missing researcher may have solved the P versus NP problem—a coup in computer science with revolutionary implications for everything from mathematics to philosophy—before vanishing, things turn stranger still, and even more menacing. Solving the mystery of the Institute and its devolution into mayhem and violence every seventh year quickly shifts from being an intellectual exercise to a matter of life and death.
“This is a beautiful and sublime piece of work. The graphics are simple and the colours bold, standing in contrast with the complexity of the ideas touched on in the story which, ultimately, have to do with how science works and the nature of creativity itself.” —BSFA REVIEW