Confession: I have a tendency to use the “gift book” get out of jail free card quite a lot. It beats fruit cake. And the truth is, today’s online-searchable world opens up a buffet line of keywords to help you with complex family members. Aunt who loves dogs and knitting and Halloween? Yes. There is a book for that. Uncle with a passion for do-it-yourself and cheap wine? A book for that, too, as it happens. But maybe you have that most-feared of all acquaintances, the HISTORY BUFF. You know the sort: the one who stands up at the back of every single holiday movie to remind you that ‘it did not happen that way’–the one who corrects your anachronistic jokes, the one who wants to tell you how it USED to be. I know that type because, well, I am one. (TESLA DID NOT SAY THAT, she shouts at the television. Again.)

Well, perhaps a book is the solution here, too. Recently reduced on Amazon just in time for the holiday madness, CLOCKWORK FUTURES has just the right amount of history, adventure, and bizarre historical anecdotes to be launched on unsuspecting family members to please even the most hardcore history lover. The first programmable computer? 18th century, my friend! The real story behind electricity? It’s a lot more than keys and kites! Come check out the zany world of inventors, showman, and engineers that build the future (in all their steampunk debonair, clockwork, top hats and tails). Get one for Uncle Hubert. Get two, even. You might just want to keep one for yourself to liven up the office party chit chat. (Did I mention the Mother Machine? The Museum of Accidents?)

CLOCKWORK FUTURES

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Zeppelins and steam-trains; arc-lights and magnetic rays: these fascinating (and sometimes doomed) inventions bounded from the tireless minds of unlikely heroes. Such men and women served no secret societies and fought no super-villains, but they did build engines, craft automatons, and engineer a future they hoped would run like clockwork. Along the way, however, these same inventors ushered in a contest between desire and dread. From Newton to Tesla, from candle and clockwork to the age of electricity and manufactured power, technology teetered between the bright dials of fantastic futures and the dark alleyways of industrial catastrophe.

In the mesmerizing Clockwork Futures, Brandy Schillace reveals the science behind steampunk, which is every bit as extraordinary as what we might find in the work of Jules Verne, and sometimes, just as fearful. These stories spring from the scientific framework we have inherited.  They shed light on how we pursue science, and how we grapple with our destiny―yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

 

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