[Free Audiobooks] New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson & Fake by Eric Simonson [Award-Nominated Science Fiction Novel & Science History Hoax Drama]

AudioFile’s SYNC Summer of Listening 2020 promotion for young adults offers 2 free audiobooks per week—1 classic or modern, 1 non-fiction or speculative—available worldwide for a limited time courtesy of participating major publishers, and you can see the planned release schedule here.

This week’s two selected titles, which have a theme of questioning past and future scientific assumptions and the associated status quo, will be available to claim until 11:59 PM Eastern Time on July 22nd.

  • New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson, read by a full cast, from Hachette Audio. A standalone science fiction novel set in a future New York City partially submerged due to climate change, focusing on the various persons and factions living there as they try to survive and interact with each other despite the class divide between the wealthy in their secure skyscrapers above sea level, and the less privileged who live in the vulnerable low-lying tidal areas. This was a Best Novel finalist for the 2017 Hugo Award, and also placed 3rd on the annual Locus Award list for Best SF Novel.

  • Fake by Eric Simonson, performed by a full cast in front of a live audience, from L.A. Theatre Works. A science history drama alternating between the 1910s and the 1950s, exploring the discovery and impact and eventual debunking of the famous Piltdown Man fossil, a “missing link” debated over by many luminaries of the time, including Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who participates as a character in the play. This audiobook version also includes an interview with University of Chicago professor Russell H. Tuttle, a distinguished palaeoanthropologist, discussing the hoax in retrospect.

This year, they’ve switched over to requiring the Overdrive Sora app available for iOS and Android (previously, these were available as DRM-free MP3s with a time-limited download period to your computer/device), but once added to your in-app library, these will remain permanent titles that you can re-download at any time at your leisure.

You’ll need to signup with a valid email address on AudioFile’s front page for the promotion, and then enter the setup code audiobooksync in the Sora app when asked, and then claim each week’s featured title using the Borrow function on its page in the app, more details available on their FAQ page for the promotion.

Offered until just before midnight Eastern Time on Wednesday, July 22nd, available worldwide.

[Free eBook] How We See the Sky: A Naked-Eye Tour of Night and Day by Thomas Hockey [DIY Astronomy Cultural History & Travelogue]

How We See the Sky: A Naked-Eye Tour of Night and Day by Thomas Hockey, a professor of astronomy at University of Northern Iowa and recipient of the Donald E. Osterbrock Book Prize for his science writing, is a DIY astronomy guide cum globe-trotting science and culture history, free for a limited time courtesy of the University of Chicago Press.

This is their featured Free Book of the Month for March.

The book is an accessibly-written and lavishly-illustrated introductory guide to the core concepts of astronomy as seen from a ground-eye view in many locations worldwide, explaining various phenomena such as eclipses and seasons and lunar cycles which are visible without specialized equipment, and exploring their scientific causes and cultural impact in modern times as well as throughout history via anecdotes, literary references, as well as the author’s personal experiences traveling to observe some of them.

Offered worldwide through March, available directly from the university’s website.

Continue reading “[Free eBook] How We See the Sky: A Naked-Eye Tour of Night and Day by Thomas Hockey [DIY Astronomy Cultural History & Travelogue]”

[Free eBook] The Pseudoscience Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe by Michael D. Gordin [Science History]

The Pseudoscience Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe by Michael D. Gordin, a professor of history at Princeton University, is a biographical history of the roots of pseudoscience and various fringe beliefs, free for a limited time courtesy of the University of Chicago Press.

This is their featured Free Book of the Month for January.

The book explores the career of the late Immanuel Velikovsky, a controversial Russian scholar who drew upon world mythological writings to argue in favour a shared history of ancient astronomical catastrophes and found brief popularity for his views among the general public during the mid-20th century, even as they were being debated and debunked by scientists, drawing upon previously unpublished material from Velikovsky’s personal archives to give a behind-the-scenes look at the man and also exploring the histories and effects of other pseudoscientific fringe beliefs along the way.

Offered worldwide through January (usually also available until early morning on Feb 1st), available directly from the university’s website.

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Free for a limited time through January directly @ the university’s special promo page (ADE-DRM ePub available worldwide in return for newsletter signup with your valid email address), and you can also read more about the book on its regular catalogue page.

Description
Properly analyzed, the collective mythological and religious writings of humanity reveal that around 1500 BC, a comet swept perilously close to Earth, triggering widespread natural disasters and threatening the destruction of all life before settling into solar orbit as Venus, our nearest planetary neighbor.

Sound implausible? Well, from 1950 until the late 1970s, a huge number of people begged to differ, as they devoured Immanuel Velikovsky’s major best-seller, Worlds in Collision, insisting that perhaps this polymathic thinker held the key to a new science and a new history. Scientists, on the other hand, assaulted Velikovsky’s book, his followers, and his press mercilessly from the get-go. In The Pseudoscience Wars, Michael D. Gordin resurrects the largely forgotten figure of Velikovsky and uses his strange career and surprisingly influential writings to explore the changing definitions of the line that separates legitimate scientific inquiry from what is deemed bunk, and to show how vital this question remains to us today. Drawing on a wealth of previously unpublished material from Velikovsky’s personal archives, Gordin presents a behind-the-scenes history of the writer’s career, from his initial burst of success through his growing influence on the counterculture, heated public battles with such luminaries as Carl Sagan, and eventual eclipse. Along the way, he offers fascinating glimpses into the histories and effects of other fringe doctrines, including creationism, Lysenkoism, parapsychology, and more—all of which have surprising connections to Velikovsky’s theories.

Science today is hardly universally secure, and scientists seem themselves beset by critics, denialists, and those they label “pseudoscientists”—as seen all too clearly in battles over evolution and climate change. The Pseudoscience Wars simultaneously reveals the surprising Cold War roots of our contemporary dilemma and points readers to a different approach to drawing the line between knowledge and nonsense.

[Free eBook] Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything by Philip Ball [Science & Cultural History]

Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything by British author Philip Ball, an award-winning science writer and former editor of the Nature journal, is an accessibly-written science and technology development history, free for a limited time courtesy of the University of Chicago Press

This is their featured Free Book of the Month for May.

The book explores the history of the rise of modern science, focusing on the 16th through 18th centuries as curiosity and questioning of the established worldview became more acceptable in the western world, leading to increased popularity of scientific notions and methods with a look at the early scientists and inventions that were inspired by them, as well as the ensuing influence on literature, culture, and international relations sparked by the new interest, alongside musings on the role of curiosity in the present day.

Offered worldwide through May, available directly from the university’s website.

Continue reading “[Free eBook] Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything by Philip Ball [Science & Cultural History]”