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Brainiac's British book picks

Posted by Joshua Glenn  October 2, 2007 10:19 AM

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I couldn't wait for two books recently published in England to appear in American bookstores, so I ordered them online. Amazon.co.uk, friends -- I use it all the time. Brainiac readers might also enjoy these books. Take a look.

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"The Red Men" (Snowbooks), by Matthew De Abaitua, is a dystopian science fiction novel that takes place in Redtown, "a virtual city, inhabited by copies of real people going about their daily business, in which new policies, diseases and disasters can be studied in perfect simulation." It's a first novel for De Abaitua, who is a journalist, a former literary editor of (British) Esquire, a former BBC science fiction series presenter, and currently editor of a BBC film review website, where he launched the Internet-only film review TV show, Movie Rush. (I know De Abaitua from his days as deputy editor of The Idler; he has written for Hermenaut, too.)

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"Movies: Over a Century of the Greatest Films, Stars, Scenes, Speeches and Events That Rocked the Movie World (Little Black Book)" (Cassell Illustrated), edited by Chris Fujiwara, is a magnificently attractive, 800-page paperback in which 62 film aficionados -- many of whom are well-known film critics and scholars -- celebrate 1,000 defining "moments" of cinema. These moments include: Orson Welles's "cuckoo clock" speech in "The Third Man," Twentieth Century Fox's adoption of the anamorphic widescreen format (CinemaScope) in 1953, Peter O'Toole disappearing behind a jeep's dirty windshield at the end of "Lawrence of Arabia," the publication of the politically engaged essay "Cinema/Ideology/Criticism" in Cahiers du cinema in October 1969, the downbeat but somehow uplifting musical number at the end of Cassavetes' "The Killing of a Chinese Bookie," the appearance of DVD players in Japan in 1996, the Bush-in-the-schoolroom scene in Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11, and the scene in which Olive touches an inconsolable Dwayne on the shoulder in "Little Miss Sunshine." This book is just what the doctor ordered to get us through the coming winter. NB: Fujiwara is a long-time Boston resident (currently living in Japan), and sometime Ideas contributor. Other locals and ex-locals who contribute include Scott Hamrah, former Ideas columnist James Parker, and yours truly.

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JG ON SF: "The Slacktivism of Richard Linklater" (Slate) | "Black Iron Prison" (n+1) | "Back to Utopia" (Boston Globe Ideas) | "In a Perfect World" (Boston Globe Ideas) | "Philip K. Dick: Hermenaut of the Month" (Hermenaut) | "Journeys to the Center " (New York Times Book Review/IHT) | "Climate of Fear" (Boston Globe Ideas) | "Pulp Affection" (Boston Globe Ideas) | "Eco-Spaceship Redux" (Brainiac) | "The Red Men" (Brainiac) | "io9!" (Brainiac) | "Books That Make You Dumb" (Brainiac) | "Post-Apocalyptic Juvie Lit" (Brainiac) |

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
contributors
Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.

Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.

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