Log in

No account? Create an account

paullev's Journal

External Services:
  • paullev@livejournal.com
  • PaulLevinson
My novel The Silk Code won the 2000 Locus Award for Best First Novel. I've published Borrowed Tides (2001), The Consciousness Plague (2002), The Pixel Eye (2003), The Plot To Save Socrates (2006), and Unburning Alexandria (2013). My science fiction and mystery short stories have been nominated for Nebula, Hugo, Edgar, and Sturgeon Awards. My eight nonfiction books, including The Soft Edge (1997), Digital McLuhan(1999), Realspace (2003), Cellphone (2004), and New New Media (2009, 2nd ed 2013) have been the subject of major articles in the New York Times, Wired, the Christian Science Monitor, and have been translated into nine languages. I appear on "The O'Reilly Factor"(Fox News), "The CBS Evening News", "Scarborough Country" (MSNBC), the “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” (PBS), “Nightline” (ABC) and numerous national and international TV and radio programs. I'm Professor of Communication & Media Studies at Fordham University in New York City.

More details on my writing ...

Featured Books

New New Media

Joan Walsh, Editor-in-Chief of Salon.com, says

Paul Levinson takes you on a walking tour – actually, it's more like a running tour – of the media innovations that are transforming our world. He's not just a scholar, he's an explorer, immersing himself in MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and multiple blogging platforms to help us make sense of the galloping changes in media. Have we entered a glorious new era of media democracy, or are these innovations leveling standards of fairness and authority? Levinson remains an optimist without being blind to the dark side of change. Whether you want to learn to blog, podcast or Twitter yourself, or just keep track of the way such tools are remaking the world around you, the "New New Media" is an indispensable guide.

Jeff Jarvis, Director of New Media Program, City University of New
York's Graduate School of Journalism; Founder, Entertainment Weekly; Creator, BuzzMachine blog, says

Paul Levinson provides an invaluable and encyclopaedic guide to the newest of new media invented so far.

Mignon Fogarty, creator of the award-winning Grammar Girl podcast, and author of the New York Times bestseller Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing , says

Insightful and comprehensive. The overviews are great for people who want to quickly get up-to-speed on the entire landscape or more experienced Web addicts who want to branch out, and the anecdotes and history will delight people who consider themselves old-timers.

The Plot to Save Socrates

The Plot to Save Socrates

My fifth novel is a blend of historical mystery and science fiction...a tale of time travel and ancient intrigue...

New trade paperback edition or (hardcover gift edition also still available.)

Sierra Waters, a graduate student in the year 2042, is given a copy of a previously unknown Socratic dialogue in which a time traveler gives the philosopher a tempting plan to escape the hemlock...

Read what they're saying about the novel...

"...challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"...a fun book to read" - Dallas Morning News

"resonates with the current political climate . . . . heroine Sierra Waters is sexy as hell . . . . there's a bite to Levinson's wit" - Brian Charles Clark, Curled Up With A Good Book at curledup.com

"a journey through time that'll make you think as it thrills ... so accessible, even those generally put off by sci-fi should enjoy the trip." - Rod Lott, bookgasm.com

"Levinson spins a fascinating tale ... An intriguing premise with believable characters and attention to period detail make this an outstanding choice... Highly recommended." - Library Journal, *starred review

"Light, engaging time-travel yarn . . . neatly satisfies the circularity inherent in time travel, whose paradoxes Levinson links to Greek philosophy." - Publishers Weekly

"A thinking person's time travel story... I felt like I was there." - SF Signal

"This is a dazzling performance. . . .History as science fiction; science fiction as history." - Barry N. Malzberg

"... quick-to-read, entertaining treatment of the problems inherent in time travel with style and flair" - Booklist

"There's a delightfully old-fashioned feel to The Plot to Save Socrates. . . . Levinson's cool, spare style reminded me of the writing of Isaac Asimov. . ." - Colin Harvey, Strange Horizons

"Paul Levinson's new novel is both very different from anything he has done before and very satisfying. . . . This, I think, is the first of Levinson's novels to deserve to be called a tour de force. Watch for it on award ballots." - Tom Easton, Analog: Science Fiction and Fact

"it's exciting to see a book as daring with both its ideas and its approach to narrative structure as this one hit the shelves . . . It's an absolute treat to sit back and be wrapped up in a story that gives a retro SF premise like time travel such a brilliant new kick, and it's doubly delightful to find the story as fun and entertaining as it is thought-provoking." - SF Reviews.net

"proves that excellent entertainment can and ought to be intellectually respectable -- a glorious example to us all." - Brian Stableford

"...readers are sure to enjoy his take on the paradoxes of time travel" - BookPage

"Intricately and intriguingly woven, lots of fun, and extremely thought provoking." - Stanley Schmidt

"Paul Levinson has outdone himself: The Plot to Save Socrates is a philosophically rich gem full of big ideas and wonderful time-travel tricks." - Robert J. Sawyer

"as happens with Kurt Vonnegut's Billy Pilgrim . . . . the reader soon becomes unstuck in time . . . . Levinson presents one of the most unique books I've ever encountered. A highly recommended read." - Matt St. Amand

"Paul Levinson brings both intellectual heft and affection for his delightfully depicted characters to this highly original story of time travel . . . bringing all of its threads together in an ending that is emotionally satisfying and extremely moving. The Plot to Save Socrates will provoke thought long after readers have finished the book, at which point many may want to pick it up and read it again, to savor its twists and turns." - Pamela Sargent, SFWeekly

"Fast-paced and full of plot twists." - Davis Enterprise (California)

"an elaborately-reasoned temporal tale - a novelized thought experiment whose logic and ideas Socrates would have approved of" - John Joseph Adams, intergalacticmedicineshow.com

"a philosophically rich, engaging time travel story . . . a charming portrayal of Socrates" - Fantasybookspot.com

"a fun romp through 2500 years of Western history" - freshfiction.com

"I've never read anything like this before . . . The Plot to Save Socrates is highly, original, creative, and engaging. I enjoyed it from the first page." - Book.of.the.moment. at myspace.com/book_of_the_moment.com

"revels in the possibilities for paradoxes . . . . fresh and welcome" - Steven Silver's Reviews at sfsite

"frankly, he [Levinson] is one of my 'read on sight' authors . . . The Plot to Save Socrates is a tapestry of times and characters and philosophies, with an excellent look at history. . . ." - Jerry Wright, Bewildering Stories at bewilderingstories.com

"a very intelligently written novel . . . ." - GF Willmetts, at SFcrowsnest.com

"Paul Levinson handles a complicated plot and a multitude of characters in a manner that can only be described as masterful. . . . I highly recommend this book, and I won't be surprised if it wins several awards." - Scott M. Sandridge, specmusicmuse

"This book was a lot of fun, and surprisingly poignant at the end. (Yes, I'll admit I cried a little.) . . . I was worried this would be a fairly cold sci-fi book, where I never got to like any of the characters, but somehow by halfway through I found I really cared about them. I'm not sure how Levinson managed that . . . but somehow they all just got inside me." - Lady Amalthea, eharlequin.com

". . . a new metaphor for the literary tradition of time travel." - Robert Blechman, blogcritics.org

"Socrates has always seemed a rather dour and dull figure to me but Paul Levinson breathes new life into this time."- Debbie, ck2skwipsandkritiques.com

"an extremely engaging, entertaining story. . ."--Laurie Thayer, Rambles.net

The Plot to Save Socrates... now available in trade paperback!

Would you like a signed copy? Order a copy of The Plot to Save Socrates and have it sent to me - I'll personally autograph it and return it to you at my expense. Send me a note with your email address and how you'd like it personalized, and I'll send you my mailing address. This offer is for new copies only, for a limited time. Email me here!

my avatar reads from the very beginning of The Plot to Save Socrates ... in Second Life ... it starts "Athens, 2042... Sierra Waters had always done everything for the thrill..."

and here's an excerpt from a heretofore unknown Socraticc dialogue...

Two groups have been formed to help Sierra Waters in her adventures:

MySpace Sierra Waters, time traveler

Facebook Sierra Waters, time traveler

Note: You can see the MySpace group without logging on to MySpace, but you must log on to Join the Group. The same for the Facebook group, except you won't even be able to see the page without first logging on. (You'll of course need to join MySpace and Facebook to log on, if you're not already a member. If you do, by all means Add me as a Friend, and I'll certainly accept.)

See also Ten Things You May Not Have Known about Sierra Waters...

In the meantimes...

Read the first chapter of The Plot to Save Socrates
.... FREE!

Listen to the first chapter of The Plot to Save Socrates
... FREE!

See me read The Plot to Save Socrates on December 9, 2007, on a computer screen near you! FREE!

Sierra Water's e-mail to me also FREE!

Like a personally autographed copy of The Plot to Save Socrates in time for the holidays, at no extra cost? Email me for details!

painting by Jean-Baptiste Régnault, 1785
Socrates dragging Alcibiades from the Embrace of S.

And, who is this mysterious "S." in this real painting by Régnault from 1785....

Sierra Waters?

Speaking of which: news about the sequel to The Plot to Save Socrates - Unburning Alexandria!

~~~ +++ ~~~

The Silk Code

The Silk Code

The Silk Code, winner of the Locus Award for Best First Novel of 1999, features NYPD forensic detective Dr. Phil D'Amato - hero of three of my earlier award-nominated novelettes. Published by Tor Books, it reached #8 on the Locus Paperback Best Seller List in February 2001.

Watch the trailer here....

Read what the critics said:

"As a genre-bending blend of police procedural and science fiction, The Silk Code delivers on its promises." -- Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review

"As twisted as a double helix. " -- Wired

"D'Amato is an appealingly savvy character, and Levinson brings a great deal of invention to the endeavor." -- San Francisco Chronicle

"It is hard to put down, easy to pick up again, and an interesting read. " -- San Diego Union-Tribune

"Mixes up-to-the-minute biotechnology with ancient myth, science fiction with police procedure, and prehistory with the near future. It's an impressive debut." -- Joe Haldeman

"Forensic detective Phil D'Amato is one of my favorite characters, and the puzzles he solves are always imaginative, ingenious, and addictive, but Paul Levinson really outdoes himself this time in a mystery involving murders, moths, mummies, the Silk Road, poisons, fireflies, and forensics, all woven into a mystery only D'Amato could solve! A marvelous book!" -- Connie Willis

"This damn book has everything: interesting science, suspense, characters that live on the page - and that we like! -- and it debuts a new series hero, Dr. Phil D'Amato, forensic detective. I couldn't put The Silk Code down. I'll wager you won't be able to either. Oh, and this is the kicker: The Silk Code is Paul Levinson's first novel. " -- Jack Dann

"At last we get Paul Levinson's superb forensic sleuth, Phil D'Amato, in a full-length novel. If you know Phil from his previous appearances, I need say no more. If you don't, kick back and enjoy a mystery that spans the ages." --Jack McDevitt

"The Silk Code is an intriguing story refreshingly rich not only in action but in ideas. Seldom have I seen a story so engagingly weave together so many seemingly disparate (dare I say it?) threads." --Stanley Schmidt, editor of Analog

"Paul Levinson is an exceptional new writer, behind whose work stands an impressive body of knowledge and a great deal of human understanding. His first novel signals a writer to watch for the provocation and pleasure that he will bring to thoughtful readers. The Silk Code is smoothly written, evocative, and spicy! Highly recommended." -- George Zebrowski

"The Silk Code is a splendidly imaginative novel that explores worlds of ideas both scientific and philosophical, while carrying the reader effortlessly across countries, times, and cultures." -- Charles Sheffield

"The Silk Code is science fiction in the classic style, with an innovative mystery that breaks new ground. Acclaimed for his short fiction and insightful writing on the computer age, Paul Levinson now brings his many talents to a complex novel that will keep you guessing until the last page. " -- Catherine Asaro

"...cerebral but gripping" -- Booklist

"Combining Neanderthals and mechanical looms, cantaloupes and coded butterflies, Levinson's debut novel...offers a flurry of amazing prehistoric technologies, demonstrating that the mysteries of our past can be just as fruitful as those of our future... Levinson creatively explain gaps in both ancient history and biology... providing more wonders than many a futuristic epic." -- Publishers Weekly

"...well-informed and imaginative" -- Kirkus Reviews

"...spins an ingenious web of genetic manipulation and anthropological evidence" --Library Journal

"A fascinating concept that pulls together a wide and varied array of ideas and recent discoveries." -- The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction

"A rare thriller that actually achieves its goals as a detective tale and a work of boldly speculative sf." -- Gary K. Wolfe, Locus Magazine

David Hartwell, Cory Doctorow, Daniel Keyes on The Silk Code

Enjoy Shaun Farrell's free podiobook reading of The Silk Code...

~~~ +++ ~~~

Cellphone: The Story of the World's Most Mobile Medium and How It Has Transformed Everything!


This is my highest profile non-fiction book. Cellphone covers everything from books to laptops in exploring the the evolution of media mobility. It focuses on the personal impact and social change-- both freeing and limiting-- of the cellphone in every day life.

Sir Arthur C. Clarke called Cellphone "A superb and often amusing account of one of the greatest revolutions in human history, in which we are now living. The wristwatch phone of the old science fiction stories is now a reality! What more can we expect? Direct brain to brain communication? Stay tuned...."

Douglas Rushkoff, writing in TheFeature.com, says Cellphone makes "an excellent case."

Carlin Romano, writing in the Philadelphia Inquirer, says, "Levinson maintains a sense of humor about the rush to pack every imaginable function into cells."

British MediaWeek calls the book "a thought-provoking analysis".

Talking in the media about Cellphone...

I appeared on National Public Radio's popular program Talk of the Nation in May 2004, talking about my book in a segment called "Cell Phone Culture"... Listen here...

In April 2005, I talked about my book on a nationally broadcast CBS News "The Early Show" segment on kids and cellphones as part of their special series, "Cellular Nation." See the interview and read an excerpt from the book....

I talked about cellphone bling on ABC's Nightline, September 2006.

And The Discovery Channel's new series, "The Inside Story of..." premiered in December 2006 with a look at "The Cellphone Revolution" featuring me talking about the extraordinary social impact of the cellphone... check out the video.

More non-fiction

coming in 2009: New New Media

~~~ +++ ~~~

Realspace: The Fate of Physical Presence in the Digital Age, On and Off Planet


Realspace explores the need for real face-to-face interaction and physical movement in an age of cyberspace... the destiny of humanity to reach beyond this planet and explore outer space...and how these themes play in our 21st century world.

Publisher's Weekly says "Fans of Levinson's previous works, as well as those interested in the relations between cyberspace, 'real space' and outer space, should relish this challenging and mind-opening read."

The Midwest Book Review says "Realspace is an essential, thought-provoking purchase."

And Edward Tenner, author of Why Things Bite Back, called Realspace "a rich, original, and sophisticated work that will be rewarding reading both for science fiction enthusiasts and for professionals in the history and sociology of science and technology."

~~~ +++ ~~~

Digital McLuhan: A Guide to the Information Millennium

Digital McLuhan

Professors in graduate and undergraduate classes around the world use Digital McLuhan to help their students put the Internet into perspective. This book applies media theorist Marshall McLuhan's ideas from the television age to modern technologies. Wired's Kevin Kelly said about Digital McLuhan, "Paul Levinson completes McLuhan's pioneering work. Read this book if you want to decipher life on the screen." The New York Times said "Levinson performs a useful service ... [he] applies McLuhan's work to almost every facet of modern communications" and in another article "Digital McLuhan presents McLuhan in a new light, [for] a generation grappling with the transforming effects of cyberspace, cell phones and virtual reality." Digital McLuhan was included on the late Robert Anton Wilson's " Recommended Reading List," of "the bare minimum of what everybody really needs to chew and digest before they can converse intelligently about the 21st Century." Digital McLuhan won the "2000 Lewis Mumford Award for Outstanding Scholarship".

~~~ +++ ~~~

The Soft Edge: A Natural History and Future of the Information Revolution

The Soft Edge

The Soft Edge received major critical acclaim -- ranging from Wired ("Remarkable in both scholarly sweep and rhetorical lyricism...") and The Financial Times of London ("a book that is both full of insights and provocative") to Amazon.com's Cyberculture editor ("Levinson has a knack for making his reader feel intelligent and respected") and Analog ("...defies the critics of technology"). The book was the subject of a 90-minute talk that aired on C-SPAN's "About Books" in February 1998, at New York City's World Trade Center. It is used in university classes around the world, providing a comprehensive view of where our communications technologies have been and where they are going.

~~~ +++ ~~~

More fiction

Borrowed Tides

My second novel, Borrowed Tides, tells the story of the first mission to Alpha Centauri led by a philosopher of science and a specialist in Native American mythology, two old friends from the Bronx in their seventies. From the reviews: Library Journal said Borrowed Tides is "...packed with layers of meaning that blend ancient legends and modern science and provides an intriguing glimpse into the mysteries of time and space." Gerald Jonas in The New York Times Book Review said that Borrowed Tides is "....bizarre enough to satisfy readers..." Booklist called it a "to-the-last-page spellbinder." Publishers' Weekly said "Politics blends neatly with spirituality in Levinson's second novel ... an ingenious narrative that loops back on itself like a Moebius strip." Gary K. Wolfe, writing in Locus, said "Levinson does a terrific job .... [reminiscent] of the philosophic space fiction of James Blish or the reality- testing scenarios of Philip K. Dick." Locus also picked it as "New and Notable" in April 2001. and it was a May 2001 Science Fiction Book Club (SFBC) Selection.

~~~ +++ ~~~

The Consciousness Plague

The Consciousness Plague

Dr. Phil D'Amato returns in a gripping New York City science fiction mystery, as this NYPD forensics detective faces a strange series of murders and memory losses in The Consciousness Plague. This novel won the 2003 Mary Shelley Award for Outstanding Fictional Work. Roland Green, writing in Booklist, said The Consciousness Plague "more nearly reaches the heights of Isaac Asimov's classic sf mysteries than those of most other genre hands who attempt them manage to do these days." Tom Easton said in the November 2002 issue of Analog that "This is Levinson's best to date." Library Journal said "Levinson's intelligent blend of police procedural and speculative fiction should appeal to fans of mystery and sf." Locus' Gary K. Wolfe called it "a pretty crisp murder mystery." Paul Di Filippo said in SFWeekly that "D'Amato [is] ... an earnest Everyman, operating on a shoeshine and a hunch." And Gregg Thurlbeck in Rambles.net said "it's a clever amalgam of science fiction and police procedural." Locus picked The Consciousness Plague as "New and Notable" in April 2002. And it was selected as a Spring 2002 Science Fiction Book Club (SFBC) Featured Alternate and a Spring Editor's Pick of the Mystery Guild. The audiobook edition of The Consciousness Plague, read by Mark Shanahan, was nominated for a 2005 Audie award.

~~~ +++ ~~~

The Pixel Eye

The Pixel Eye

My fourth novel from Tor is a darker, gritty Phil D'Amato mystery with sf overtones. The Pixel Eye, where holograms, cellphones and squirrels are used for surveillance in near-future New York City -- published in hardcover in 2003 and trade paper in 2004. . . .

The New York Times Book Review said "The nuttiness of the premise and the grittiness of the near-future New York ambiance are equally appealing" and they selected and reprinted several paragraphs from The Pixel Eye in the August 17, 2003 "NY Bookshelf: Novels: Tales of Detectives, Art and Squirrels" feature in The City section -- one of four new "New York" books.

Tom Easton, writing in Analog, said "Paul Levinson's latest Phil D'Amato romp ... is nicely straightforward and an interesting take on the real world of the moment."

Publisher's Weekly calls The Pixel Eye a "breezily chilling story" and says it is "enough to send a shiver down most readers' spines."

Library Journal said "Levinson's latest novel featuring the resourceful and wise-cracking D'Amato delivers another satisfying mix of hard sf intrigue and detective story set against a 21st-century New York City" that is "a fast-moving story that belongs in most libraries."

SF Weekly says "The Pixel Eye is a thoroughly enjoyable book, extremely readable, and brave in confronting the consequences of September 11."
Cinescape magazine says "D'Amato is a charming narrator, and an intriguing character, which also contributes to Pixel's successes."

SFRevu says "Long time readers of science fiction should consider him [Levinson] their first choice when it comes to spreading the word of sf..."

The Pixel Eye was a finalist for the 2004 Prometheus Award, given by The Libertarian Futurist Society.

~~~ +++ ~~~
Translations ... stats and details

The Soft Edge - Portuguese editionThe Soft Edge - 1st Polish editionThe Silk Code - Polish editionDigital McLuhan - Romanian editionDigital McLuhan - Chinese editionThe Consciousness Plague - Polish editionCellphone - Polish editionDigital McLuhan - Japanese edition

~~~ +++ ~~~

Short Fiction

My award-winning short fiction - science fiction, dark fantasy, mystery - has appeared ten times in Analog, the leading science fiction magazine. My 29 short stories, novelettes, and novellas have also been published in anthologies, reprinted, translated, and adapted into other genres.

Among the highlights:

"The Chronology Protection Case" introduced my popular NYPD forensic detective, Dr. Phil D'Amato, who comes up against no less an antagonist than the Universe itself, attempting to prevent scientists from discovering the secret of time travel. This novelette went on to be a finalist for the Nebula and Sturgeon awards and was adapted into a short film, and into a radio play that was performed at New York's Museum of Television and Radio and nominated for the 2002 Edgar Award for Best Play. The story has been reprinted four times, including in Barry Malzberg's collection The Best Time Travel Stories of All Time. Phil D'Amato returns in "The Copyright Notice Case" and "The Mendelian Lamp Case", and in three of my novels.

Enjoy the Edgar-nominated 38-minute radioplay of "The Chronology Protection Case" ...

powered by ODEO
The Chronology Protection Case
Edgar nominee 2002
best radioplay

or see the 90-second trailer for Jay Kensinger's 2002 movie of my story...

Wikipedia entry on Phil D'Amato

read the novelette - for about a buck - on Fictionwise.com - The Chronology Protection Case ...

~~~ +++ ~~~
"Loose Ends" is the first in a series of stories where a group of people who are trying to revive the US space program send Jeff Harris back in time to stop the Challenger disaster - but he gets pulled off-course and lands in November 1963 and is presented with other opportunites as he lives through the 1960s again, and travels to other times as well. This novella was a finalist in the sf short fiction "triple sweeps" - the Hugo, Nebula, and Sturgeon awards - and was followed in Analog by "Little Differences" and "Late Lessons"; the concluding story in the set will be "Last Calls".

Purchase Loose Ends for under $2.00...

My stories have appeared in anthologies edited by Orson Scott Card, Jane Yolen, Jack Dann, Marty Greenberg, Kathryn Cramer and others - and in David Hartwell's 1998 The Year's Best SF 3.

Many of my stories are available at Fictionwise.com.

~~~ +++ ~~~ +++ ~~~ +++ ~~~ +++ ~~~ +++ ~~~


• 2005 Neil Postman Award for Outstanding Public Intellectual winner -- given by the Media Ecology Association

• 2005 "Audie" Award finalist -- The Consciousness Plague audiobook

• 2004 Teacher of the Year winner -- given by Fordham University's Graduate Student Association

• 2004 Prometheus Award finalist -- The Pixel Eye

• 2003 Mary Shelley Award for Outstanding Fictional Work winner -- The Consciousness Plague

• 2002 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Play nominee -- "The Chronology Protection Case"

• 2000 Locus Award for Best First Novel winner -- The Silk Code

• 2000 Barnes & Noble Maiden Voyages Award for Best First Novel runner-up -- The Silk Code

• 2000 Lewis Mumford Award for Outstanding Scholarship winner -- Digital McLuhan

• 1999 Homer Award finalist, novelette --"Little Differences"

• 1999 Homer Award finalist, novelette --"The Orchard"

• 1999 Sturgeon Award finalist, short story --"Advantage, Bellarmine"

• 1999 Homer Award finalist, short story --"Advantage, Bellarmine"

• 1998 Hugo Award finalist, novella --"Loose Ends"

• 1998 Sturgeon Award finalist, novella -- "Loose Ends"

• 1998 AnLab Award first runner-up, novella --"Loose Ends"

• 1998 Homer Award finalist, short story --"A Medal for Harry"

• 1997 Nebula Award finalist, novella --"Loose Ends"

• 1997 Nebula Award finalist, novelette --"The Copyright Notice Case"

• 1996 Homer Award winner, novelette -- "The Copyright Notice Case"

• 1996 Nebula Award finalist, novelette -- "The Chronology Protection Case"

• 1996 Sturgeon Award finalist, novelette -"The Chronology Protection Case"