Category Archives: Reading

How does Science Fiction Impact Innovation?

I came across the article “Does Science Fiction Really Drive Innovation?” this morning and found it very interesting. I would have said with more force that the answer was clearly “YES” before I read the article. Now, I am more likely to agree with the author – Science Fiction and Innovation really go hand in hand.

I still contend though that science fiction, in general, is likely to instill in kids and young adults reading or watching it an interest in science that ultimately contributes to innovation. It would be interesting to see how many students who pursue careers in science have read or watched science fiction as opposed to say those who pursued law or history. If that study doesn’t exist someone in academia should take it on.


France, Paris – Galignani Bookstore


I visited the Galignani Bookstore (Librairie Galignani) last year and though it to be an interesting find in Paris – an English language bookstore. I had come across Shakespeare’s Books earlier, but finding a second English language book store surprised me.


Galignani is located at 248 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France. Galignani is the oldest English language bookstore on the European continent. The first Galignani bookstore was opened in 1801 and there has been a store by that name in business run by the Galignani family ever since then. The extensive book inventory exceeds 50,000 titles. Among its many famous customers have been Ernest Hemingway, André Malraux, Orson Welles and Marlene Dietrich.


This is another bookstore that I would recommend a visit to if you are in Paris.

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France, Paris – WHSmith Bookstore


I was able to visit the WHSmith Bookstore last year while on a visit to Paris. The bookstore is located at 248 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France. The store claims to be the largest English bookstore in Paris, and from what I saw that claim has merit. It is also one of the older English bookstores dating back to 1903.


I found the shelves filled with a variety of English language books. The store claims more that 70,000 book references. The store had spacious aisles and invited you to spend some time searching through the shelves. It is certainly one of the places I would return to if in Paris again and looking for a title in English.

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France, Paris – Shakespeare and Company Books


I had read about this establishment and was finally able to visit recently. Shakespeare and Company is an Independant and predominantly English language bookstore in Paris at 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005. Shakespear and Company was founded in 1951 as Le Mistral. the name was changed in 1964 to the current Shakespeare and Company on the 100th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth. The name change was also in honor of Sylvia Beach, who’d founded the original Shakespeare and Company in 1919 and which remained open until 1941.

This is a very eclectic book store that can be found just across the river from Notre-Dame in a 17th century building with room after room of books on two floors. They also have a cafe next door. Unfortunately the weather was cold, wet and windy during my visit, otherwise there would have been tables set outside the cafe.

If you enjoy a good bookstore and find yourself in Paris, Shakespeare and Company is place you need to visit.

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The World of Sci-fi during WWII – Intermission Story (29)

WWII – I thought that this was an interesting look at Science Fiction during the years of World War II.

Pacific Paratrooper

Alex Schomburg artwork

The goings-on at the home front!!

The first Golden Age of Science Fiction—often recognized in the United States as the period from 1938 to 1946—was an era during which the science fiction genre gained wide public attention and many classic science fiction stories were published. In the history of science fiction, the Golden Age follows the “pulp era” of the 1920s and 1930s, and precedes New Wave science fiction of the 1960s and 1970s. The 1950s are a transitional period in this scheme.

One leading influence on the creation of the Golden age was John W. Campbell, who became legendary in the genre as an editor and publisher of science fiction magazines, including Astounding Science Fiction, to the point where Isaac Asimov stated that “…in the 1940s, (Campbell) dominated the field to the point where to many seemed all of science fiction.” Under Campbell’s editorship, science fiction developed more realism and psychological depth to characterization. The focus…

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The History of Science Fiction


I came across the article “History of Science Fiction” as shot time ago. It talks about the ‘proto-science fiction’ which date to earliest written records. These included story elements of fantastical events, but without the characteristics of what we think of today as science fiction.

More publications appeared in the 17th to 18th centuries, many with a utopian theme. Science fiction continued to develop from that time. It became more recognized and accepted in the 20th century as a recognized literary genre. The golden age of science fiction is considered to be the period 1940-1950.

If you are interested in Science Fiction you may find this relatively short article of interest.

Amazon Books Coming to the Domain in Austin

Books – I came across an article at AustinInno today that talked about an as yet un-announced Amazon Book store that will open in the Domain sometime in 2018 (based upon posters outside the construction site and Amazon job listings). This will join the thirteen currently operating stores.

I read mostly eBooks these days, but it will be nice to have another book store in Austin.

Lending a Kindle book

Many people oppose eBooks because, they feel that they can no longer lend them to friends. While that is true to a point, many books purchased through the Kindle store can be shared.

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To see if a book can be shared, look the book inquisition up on the Amazon site. Towards the bottom of the page on the left hand side you will see a block of information about the book you looked up. There is a line there titled “Lending”. If that property shows as ‘Enabled’, then the book can be loaned by an owner.

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To loan an eBook, the owner would:

  • go to the Amazon web page
  • look up the book
  • on the resulting page for the book, click on the ‘Loan this book’ link at the top of the page
  • fill out the form with the recipient’s email address, name and any personal message

Loans may be for up to 14 days. To return a loaned Kindle book the borrower would:

  • go to the Amazon web page
  • sign in with their account
  • select ‘Your content and Devices’ from the drop down menu
  • select Actions for the borrowed book and then delete it from their library

Books loaned out by the owner cannot be read while they are on loan. Also, each book can only be loaned out once. Books loaned out but not accepted within 7 days are automatically returned.

USA, New York, New York City – New York Public Library (Schwarzman Building)


If you have seen other posts of mine you will know that I like book stores and libraries. While in New York we took time to visit the New York Public Library. Specifically we visited Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (476 Fifth Avenue (42nd St and Fifth Ave)
New York, NY) shown above. Included in that shot is one of the two famous marble lions at the front of the building.

The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is renowned for the extraordinary comprehensiveness of its historical collections as well as its commitment to providing free and equal access to its resources and facilities. It houses some 15 million items, among them priceless medieval manuscripts, ancient Japanese scrolls, contemporary novels and poetry, as well as baseball cards, dime novels, and comic books.

The ways in which the resources of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building have been used are as diverse as the collections themselves:

– During World War II, Allied military intelligence used the Map Division for research on the coastlines of countries in the theater of combat.

– Television and print journalists first consulted the Slavic and Baltic Division when covering the changing political structure of the former Soviet Union.

– Authors of countless literary and nonfiction books cite the Library as a major resource in their work.

– Countless individuals have reconstructed family histories and located long-lost relatives through records in the Milstein Division of U.S. History, Local History, and Genealogy.


This is the largest and grandest library that my wife and I have visited so far. We were able to take a short time to sit in the reading room shown above an just read. We could easily have spent hours there.

If you like books and are in New York, I recommend that you take some time and visit the Schwarzman Library building.


  1. About the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

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USA, New York, New York – Union Square Barnes & Nobles


I wouldn’t post about Barnes & Noble normally, but I thought that this was a unique location. This is their Union Square store (, located at 33 East 17th Street, New York, New York.


We thought that this was a very interesting Barnes & Noble. It spreads over multiple floors and has one of the largest cafes I have seen in a Barnes & Noble. Located in the historic Century Building at 33 East 17th Street, this building was originally the headquarters of the Century Publishing Company in 1881. After many years of vacancy, the building was designated as a New York City landmark in 1993 and its facade was restored in 1995 to be a Barnes & Noble bookstore, it was later added to the National Register of Historic places in 1997. While this Union Square locale only measures in at 62,000 square feet (more than half the size of the 5th Avenue location), this noted store consists of four floors. [1]

While it may not have the same appeal as the independent book store, This is an interesting place to visit and browse the shelves or take a few minutes to enjoy their cafe.


1 – The Five Most Interesting Barnes & Noble Stores in America

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