Two New Book Titles coming out this fall

My two books coming out in the fall have been given new titles by the publishers
1.) ** Lost Wonderland** is the new title of what I had called Backstage at Wonderland. I have just finished a massive series of revisions, cutting, and recasting the forms of my references, but it should all be worth it. I think this is going to be a really great book – the history of Boston’s biggest amusement park from 1906 to 1910. It goes beyond Local Interest – it’s a story of ambition, greed, creativity, love, marriage, divorce, and backstabbing – our own little Boardwalk Empire, but without the deaths. I think that, finally, this will be a book that I won’t have to beg bookstores to stock. University of Massachusetts Press

2.) Sandbows and Blacklights: Essays on Optics is the new title of what I’ve been calling Zap II. It’s made up of the essays on Weird Optics that I’ve written for the Optical Society, expanded and updated, along with a couple of new ones I wrote just for the book. The book covers Edible Optics, Tanagra Theater and the Fishbowl Mermaid (Illusions in which miniature people are seen), Why Candle flames are Yellow (If you think you know why, you’re probably wrong), Who Really Invented the Black Light (If you look on the Internet, you’ll get the answer William H. Byler, in 1935. That’s wrong. It was invented long before that, and Byler had nothing to do with it. Furthermore, he never claimed to), and more History of the Ray Gun. Plus why Monocles were made for only one eye, why ultraviolet light kills vampires, and more! Oxford University Press

3.) In other news, I have an article in Mushroom News this month on making vitamin D in mushrooms with xenon flashlamps. Run out an get your copy now!

4.) Possibly of more interest, my short story The Game of Hare and Hounds will be appearing in the anthology 20,000 Leagues Remembered being published by Pole to Pole Publishing to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Coming out some time in the latter half of this year.

Sheesh, Cal, is there any field you’re not an expert in?

Spellchecking thread titles, obviously.

Because if they were made for two eyes, they’d be diplocles?

Perfect for a diplodocus!

No – seriously, why make only one half of a pair of glasses? What about the other eye?

And before you say it – yes, it appears that most wearers of monocles really did need correction in both eyes.

So, why?

Besides looking cool? I assume the price of a pair of glasses wasn’t an issue, but I have no idea what kind of whanging headache one might get from wearing pre-20th-century spectacles for any length of time. But we must never underestimate the paramount influence of fashion. Like, why do some people today wear glasses (or monocles?!) even when they can see fine?

For the same reason that a lot of folks wear bifocals, I’m guessing?

Read the book (or my article).

No “whanging headache,” it turns out – your brain responds differently in this situation.


They sent me a copy of the cover image for Lost Wonderland. It looks awesome!
Can’t share it yet, though. They’re tweaking it.

It’s based on this postcard, though –

UMass Press has posted the page for my book Lost Wonderland !!

They also posted their Fall 2020/Winter 2021 catalog. Lost Wonderland’s on the first page after the inside cover:

I clicked on the Amazon Link to Lost Wonderland this morning (I’m a narcissicist, OK?) and was astonished at the “Sponsored Products Related to this Item”

What, I wondered, could the 'bots at Amazon think would be similar to my as-yet-unpublished book? Or would at least appeal to people who might like it. The results are both edifying and humbling:

Aztec Mythology by Matt Clayton – OK, maybe they put this up because of my book on mythology, Medusa

The Crazy Life of a Kid from Brooklyn by Bill Morgenstein – I have no idea why they selected this one

African-American History by Adam Brown – Complete disconnect here I’m just confused

F is for Fart: Handwriting Activity Book by J. Heitsch – I’m guessing this is an editorial comment

World History by Adam Brown – Another Adam Brown History Book! Aha! That means that… damned if I know what that means.

I think what it comes down to, is that with very little data, the results are going to be close to random, but even a random list is going to have some five titles or another on the top of it. And they’re not about to just say “Well, the people who buy this book seem to be really weird, so if you’re interested in it, you probably don’t want to buy anything else from us”.

I think it is a bit of “What books do we need to get out of inventory?”

I should remember to check Marketplace more often.

Looking forward to Zap 2: Electric Boogaloo.