• Daniel H. Wilson on Robot Uprisings and Hollywood Sci-Fi Blockbusters As a kid, I played with lots of robot toys, like Gobots and Transformers. Of course, robots are up there in the pantheon of pop culture icons, along with cowboys, astronauts, and dinosaurs. After I finished an undergraduate degree in computer science, I was trying to decide what to study in grad school, because I knew I didn't want to get a job programming. Looking around, I saw robotics on the…
  • Rare Books: The Time Machine One of my favorite "books as objects" is the first edition of H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine: an Invention.” Published in 1895, it was Wells’ first novel and is naturally regarded as one of the first works of science fiction. It is also the earliest sci-fi work based on time travel, and was described by Wells himself as “my trump card.” I say “book as object” because there is something extremely…
  • To Catch A Thief: A Rare Book Expert on His Literary Obsessions I don’t remember a time when I didn’t read books. In grade school, I devoured library books. I also loved comic books, and was wheeling and dealing them as a child—buying them for a nickel, sell them for dime. Bertrand Smith let me into the rare book room, and I bought a Maxwell Parrish "Arabian Nights." I bought an just for the illustrations. At the time I had no idea the artist was a Welsh wo…
  • The Last Word on First Editions Strictly speaking, a book’s edition refers to the setting of the text. So the first time you set the text and print a book with it, and then sell a bound book that you’ve just printed, that’s the first edition, first printing. If you use the same setup of text and print it again, that would be the second printing—a printing is therefore a subclass of an edition. The printing is also called the imp…