Unburning Alexandria is the sequel to The Plot to Save Socrates by Paul Levinson, now available from JoSara MeDia, first in eBook then in print.

Here is what the book is about:

Mid-twenty-first century time traveler Sierra Waters, fresh from her mission to save Socrates from the hemlock, is determined to alter history yet again, by saving the ancient Library of Alexandria – where 750,000 one-of-a-kind texts were lost, an event described by many as “one of the greatest intellectual catastrophes in history.”

Along the way she will encounter old friends such as William Henry Appleton, the great 19th-century American publisher, and enemies like the enigmatic time-traveling inventor Heron of Alexandria. Her quest will involve such other real historic personages as Hypatia, Cleopatra’s sister Arsinoe, Ptolemy the astronomer, and St. Augustine – again placing her friends, her loved ones, and herself in deadly jeopardy.

In this sequel to the THE PLOT TO SAVE SOCRATES, award-winning author Paul Levinson offers another time-traveling adventure spanning millennia, full of surprising twists and turns, all the while attempting the seemingly impossible: UNBURNING ALEXANDRIA.

Read on to read an excerpt from Unburning Alexandria.

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Paul Levinson, PhD, is Professor of Communication & Media Studies at Fordham University in NYC. His nonfiction books, including The Soft Edge (1997), Digital McLuhan (1999), Realspace (2003), Cellphone (2004), and New New Media (2009; 2nd edition, 2012), have been translated into ten languages. His science fiction novels include The Silk Code (winner of Locus Award for Best First Science Fiction Novel of 1999, author’s cut ebook 2012), Borrowed Tides (2001), The Consciousness Plague (2002), The Pixel Eye (2003), The Plot To Save Socrates (2006, 2012), and Unburning Alexandria (2013). He appears on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and numerous TV and radio programs. His 1972 LP, Twice Upon a Rhyme, was re-issued in 2010. He reviews television in his InfiniteRegress.tv blog, and was listed in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Top 10 Academic Twitterers” in 2009.

The Tricky Time Travel Business

by Paul Levinson

Time travel is a tricky business. I don’t mean actual time travel, which is worse than tricky, and is probably impossible, since the only way grandparent paradoxes can be surmounted is by invoking a Multiple Worlds Interpretation, in which a new universe is created every nanosecond anyone travels to the past. For example, if in my journey to the past I prevent my grandparents from meeting, how did I come to exist and travel to the past in the first place? The MWI would allow it: in World 1, I travel to the past and prevent my grandparents from meeting, which triggers World 2, in which I was never born. This doesn’t solve every problem – what would happen to me, would I just snap out of existence, or continue as some kind of special being (PL #1) who would continue living in World 2, even though you and everyone else in that world would be #2?

Questions like that are what make me think that time travel is likely impossible. And they also make writing about time travel a tricky business – but lots of fun, if you enjoy giving your synapses a wrapped-into-pretzels workout. The key is taking the paradoxes that lurk around every time traveling corner seriously. Even if we don’t adhere to the MWI, in which a new universe comes into being with every drop of the time traveler’s hat, we need to trace the consequences of every act of the time traveler in the past – and the future, too, in which time travel runs smack dab into free will. If you travel to the future and see me wearing a light blue shirt tomorrow, does that mean I have no choice but to put on that blue shirt tomorrow morning?
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MIND MELD MAKEUP-Optimistic Scenarios for Our Future World by Paul Levinson

We have a late lost entry to this week’s Mind Meld where we asked:

Q: It’s not unusual to hear negative things about what the future might bring for the Earth and humankind, and dystopian narrative certainly makes for entertaining futuristic sci-fi scenarios (environmental disaster, overuse of technology, etc). In the spirit of optimism and hope, what are a few of your far future scenarios that speak to the possible positive aspects of our evolving relationship with our world?

[GUEST POST] Paul Levinson on Dr. Phil D’Amato and “The Silk Code”


Paul Levinson, PhD, is Professor of Communication & Media Studies at Fordham University in New York City.  His eight nonfiction books, including The Soft Edge (1997), Digital McLuhan (1999), Realspace (2003), Cellphone (2004), and New New Media (2009; 2nd edition, 2012)  have been the subject of major articles in the New York Times, Wired, the Christian Science Monitor, and have been translated into ten languages.  His science fiction novels include The Silk Code (1999, winner of the Locus Award for Best First Novel), Borrowed Tides (2001), The Consciousness Plague (2002), The Pixel Eye (2003), and The Plot To Save Socrates (2006).  His short stories have been nominated for Nebula, Hugo, Edgar, and Sturgeon Awards.  He was President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, 1998-2001. Paul Levinson has appeared on Fox News, MSNBC, Bloomberg West, NPR, and numerous national and international TV and radio programs.  His 1972 LP, Twice Upon a Rhyme, was re-issued on mini-CD by Big Pink Records in 2009, and in a vinyl remastered re-pressing by Sound of Salvation/Whiplash Records in December 2010.  He reviews the best of television in his InfiniteRegress.tv blog, writes political commentary for Mediaite, and was listed in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Top 10 Academic Twitterers” in 2009.

Phil D’Amato’s Story

With JoSara MeDia’s publication of my “author’s cut” ebook edition of The Silk Code, I was especially pleased with SF Signal’s invitation to provide a biography of the novel’s central character, Dr. Phil D’Amato.

The short take on his life and times is that he’s a forensic detective with the NYPD, with an interest not only in DNA, but in subjects ranging from prehistoric history to quantum mechanics.   As of his last appearance in my most recent Phil D’Amato novel – The Pixel Eye in 2003 – he’s very happily married to Jenna Katen.  But that’s getting ahead of ourselves…
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I hated being force-fed books in school because they rarely suited my tastes in speculative fiction reading. Today’s generation, however, has a much better chance of being assigned genre books in school. The following question was asked of this week’s panelists:

Q: If you were teaching a high school literature class, which science fiction or fantasy books first published within the past 10 years would you include on your syllabus?

Read on to see their what books should be on every high schooler’s radar…

Elizabeth Bear
Elizabeth Bear was born on the same day as Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, but in a different year. This, coupled with a childhood tendency to read the dictionary for fun, led her inevitably to penury, intransigence, the mispronunciation of common English words, and the writing of speculative fiction.

The trick, of course, is finding books teenagers will love, which also reveal the diversity of the genre and its literary aspirations. And “high school” is a broad range–what’s appropriate for an eighteen-year-old is not always what’s right for a fourteen-year-old. But assuming for a moment we’re talking about a senior-level AP class, I’d want Nalo Hopkinson’s The Salt Roads (which I imagine would be challenging to get past the parents, with its discussions of syphilis and slavery, but well worth it); Ted Chiang’s Stories Of Your Life And Others; Justine Larbalestier’s Liar (I’m going on rep for that one, as I have not read it yet, but it’s on my list); Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother (Which I would use, among other things, to talk about didactic literature, and I’d want to assign it in concert with Black Beauty, frankly); Christopher Barzak’s One For Sorrow; and a nice anthology in which there are a lot of fun stories in which stuff blows up, because this list is way too damned depressing already.

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