Two book reviews for you today, they’re not very long because it’s way too hot and muggy, and I’m still recovering from Paris.
Published by: Viking
Publication date: 16th August 2016
An irresistible journey of discovery, science, history, and myth making, told through the lives and afterlives of seven famous human ancestors
Over the last century, the search for human ancestors has spanned four continents and resulted in the discovery of hundreds of fossils. While most of these discoveries live quietly in museum collections, there are a few that have become world-renowned celebrity personas—ambassadors of science that speak to public audiences. In Seven Skeletons, historian of science Lydia Pyne explores how seven such famous fossils of our ancestors have the social cachet they enjoy today.
Drawing from archives, museums, and interviews, Pyne builds a cultural history for each celebrity fossil—from its discovery to its afterlife in museum exhibits to its legacy in popular culture. These seven include the three-foot tall “hobbit” from Flores, the Neanderthal of La Chapelle, the Taung Child, the Piltdown Man hoax, Peking Man, Australopithecus sediba, and Lucy—each embraced and celebrated by generations, and vivid examples of how discoveries of how our ancestors have been received, remembered, and immortalized.
With wit and insight, Pyne brings to life each fossil, and how it is described, put on display, and shared among scientific communities and the broader public. This fascinating, endlessly entertaining book puts the impact of paleoanthropology into new context, a reminder of how our past as a species continues to affect, in astounding ways, our present culture and imagination.
Seven Skeletons by Lydia Pyne
Received from Netgalley.com in return for and honest review
Lydia Pyne explores the history of seven hominin skeletons that have achieved a level public awareness tht could be called celebrity. How, and why, is the subject of this book. The author writes well but there is an awful lot of repetition in answer to the ‘how’ questions. I did enjoy the anecdotes and interviews though, they provide insight in to the atmosphere aurrounding each of the fossils, and the ‘biographies’ of the fossils during and since their discovery.
4/5 definitely one for the enthusiasts
The Reluctant adventures of Fletcher Connolly on the Interstellar Railroad, A prequal: Rubbish with names,
by F.R. Savage
Received through the author’s newsletter
A short story about a man with no plan, except to get rich and live in Hell’s Armpit with the trillionaires. Aboard the Skint Idjit Fletch travels the Interstellar Railroad delivering goods, but between official jobs they moonlight as a cargo ship. They’ve been asked to collect the body of a newly deceased young man, Tom Jones, from Arcadia and deliver his corpse to Hell’s Armpit. Unfortunately they aren’t the only ones after the body. Tom Jones was smuggling something very small and very valuable when he died.
This was a quick half-hour read, just right after reading such serious books as I’ve been reading lately, and it was so enjoyable I think I want to buy the rest of the series to follow Fletch and the crew of the Skint Idjit’s adventure. The characters and descriptions were engaging and the plot made me laugh. Sometimes humorous sci-fi is absolutely necessary
Did you hear about the Hugo Awards? A woman named N.K. Jamisin won Best Novel for her book ‘The Fifth Season’. I’ve had a look at her listings on amazon and I’m probably going to have to get myself one or two of her books. I hear she’s a very good writer. There are plenty of good women sci-fi and fantasy authors around but so very few of them get any recognition for it.