nonfiction

I love books. Here are some of the ones I've written. 

 
 
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scatter, adapt, and remember: how humans will survive a mass extinction 

Nominated for the LA Times Book Prize for 2013, this speculative work of science journalism explores what comes after we accept that we're facing a sixth mass extinction on planet Earth. 

In its 4.5 billion-year history, life on Earth has been almost erased at least half a dozen times: shattered by asteroid impacts, entombed in ice, smothered by methane, and torn apart by unfathomably powerful megavolcanoes. And we know that another global disaster is eventually headed our way. Can we survive it? How? Although global disaster is all but inevitable, our species is well-equipped for long-term survival. 

Scatter, Adapt, and Remember explores how life survived previous mass extinctions, and why the situation is different now that humans are reshaping the planet's ecosystems and climate. We have the tools we need to survive disaster—scientifically, it's even plausible that we could prevent the worst effects of climate change. The question is how we'll implement them.

I went on a quest to find out, hopping between labs, nature preserves, and remote underground cities to find out what it will take for humans to save the world—and ourselves.

(Order the book.)

Praise for Scatter, Adapt, and Remember:

“Few things are more enjoyable than touring the apocalypse from the safety of your living room. Even as Scatter, Adapt, and Remember cheerfully reminds us that asteroid impacts, mega-volcanos and methane eruptions are certain to come, it suggests how humankind can survive and even thrive. Yes, Annalee Newitz promises, the world will end with a bang, but our species doesn’t have to end with a whimper. Scatter, Adapt, and Remember is a guide to Homo sapiens’ next million years. I had fun reading this book and you will too.”
Charles C. Mann, author of 1491
 
“Fascinating. . . . [Newitz is] an excellent writer, with an effortless style. . . . The inner science geek in all of us will uncover some really cool stuff. . . . A terrific book that covers an astounding amount of ground in a manageable 300 pages. Newitz has done all the mental heavy lifting, all the hard work and research, and presented it so you get to enjoy it in a few days or weeks of fun reading. You will be smarter for it.”
San Francisco Chronicle 
 
“One of the best popular science books I’ve read in a long, long time—and perhaps the only one that takes such a clear-eyed view of the future.”
Seth Mnookin, author of The Panic Virus
 
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Pretend we're dead: capitalist monsters in american pop culture

My Ph.D. thesis was about representations of monsters and psychopaths in 20th century American pop culture. I focused on a few character tropes, including the mad scientist, the undead, and the cyborg, and traced how stories about them changed over a hundred-year arc.

In it, I argued that the slimy zombies and gore-soaked murderers who have stormed through American film and literature over the past century embody the violent contradictions of capitalism. Ravaged by overwork, alienated by corporate conformity, and mutilated by the unfettered lust for profit, fictional monsters act out the problems with an economic system that seems designed to eat people whole.

In 2006, Duke University Press published a much-improved version of my dissertation in the form of a book.

(Order the book.)

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She's Such a geek!  women write about science, technology, and other nerdy stuff

I co-edited this anthology with Charlie Jane Anders, and Seal Press published it in 2006. It's a anthology that brings together a diverse range of critical and personal essays about the meaning of female nerdhood by women who are in love with genomics, obsessed with blogging, learned about sex from Dungeons and Dragons, and aren’t afraid to match wits with men or computers. Some contributors like scientists/technologists Ellen Spertus, Roopa Ramamoorthi, and Corie Ralston work in traditionally male-dominated professions. Cyberlaw professor Wendy Seltzer describes how her involvement with law and politics started with a love for building computers. Others consider themselves cultural nerds: Devin Grayson writes comic books, while other contributors read science fiction and play in professional videogame competitions. The collection also features essays by high school girls, as well as nerdy mothers who are balancing childrearing with their careers.

Celebratory, polemical, wistful, angry, and just plain dorky, the women of She’s Such a Geek explain what it means to be passionately engaged with technical or obscure topics that are supposed to be “for boys only,” while busting stereotypes of what it means to be a geek and what it means to be female. More than anything, She’s Such a Geek is a celebration and call to arms: it’s a hopeful book which looks forward to a day when women will invent molecular motors, design the next ultra-tiny supercomputer, and run the government.

(Order the book.)