Monet's Ultraviolet Eye and other Ebook Epiphanies: Catching Up With Download the Universe

By Carl Zimmer | April 16, 2012 10:52 am

Over at Download the Universe, we’ve posted a bunch of new reviews of science ebooks. We fell in love with some titles, we hated others, and we had a love-hate relationship with ebooks that were great in some ways and awful in others. When we started Download the Universe, we thought we were coming together to start something pretty straightforward: a book review dedicated to a neglected category of creations–namely, science ebooks. But ebooks are in such an early stage that our reviews often end up being contemplations of the form itself. In 10 years, I wonder if these questions will be sorted out, or if a new raft of questions will float in to take their place.

Here are the reviews we’ve published since I last posted an update on the Loom, in reverse order:

Monet’s Ultraviolet Eye My review of an app about color, and some thoughts on what ebook designers can learn from museum exhibits

A Disorganized Celebration of Skulls Brian Switek reviews an ebook about the box of bones on top of our spines

Blowing Windmills and Seeing the Future: Al Gore’s Our Choice Dan Fagin reviews Gore’s ebook about energy and climate

A Big Minimalism Win for eBooks: Robin Sloan’s Fish David Dobbs is pleasantly surprised by a very small ebook

Slog of the Dinosaurs Brian reviews a dinosaur ebook. You can guess what he thinks of it from the title

Look Up In The Sky! It’s A Book! It’s An App! It’s a Bat! I take a look at a children’s ebook about bats and consider the economics of calling your ebook and app. (With wise words from my 8-year-old daughter Veronica.)

Have I Got A Moon Rock For You… Tom Levenson reviews an ebook about the black market in extraterrestrial geology.

Steven Gilbert Really, Really Wants You to Know About Poison Deborah Blum reviews a self-published book by a toxicologist

I Heard the Sirens Scream: Laurie Garrett Takes on 9/11 & Anthrax Maia Szavalitz reviews a Pulitzer-prize-winning health journalist’s weighty e-tome about bioterrorism.

The Frozen Future of Nonfiction Our new editor Seth Mnookin reviews Why the Net Matters by neuroscientist David Eagleman

Dazzling Material, Lackluster Story Virginia Hughes is disappointed by an opulent ebook about gems

“Life on Earth”: the future of textbooks? John Hawks reviews E. O. Wilson’s ambitious iPad-only biology textbook and looks ahead to the future of academic publishing


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Download the Universe

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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.


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