Taken from the Smart Pop website ‘About’ page:
‘Smart Pop Books – On the best in Pop Culture Television, Books, And Film’
‘Smart Pop books is a line of smart, fresh funny essays on the best of pop culture tv, books, and film, with particular focus on science fiction and fantasy television and literature.’
From the back cover of Smart Pop’s Fringe Science book:
‘Fringe has always been more than the sum of its parts-but its parts, too, are worth a closer look. The show combines a surfeit of mad science, some old school sci-fi flair, and a dash of strawberry-milkshake whimsy to create the challenging, fascinating Pattern that keeps us coming back season after season and universe after universe.’
Smart Pop line of books are permeated with an aura that reflects a labor of love. They are books dedicated to genre material filled with content created by and for fans. Which is an excellent touch because knowing your audience is an enticing way to make a book attractive to your target market.
And who knows a fan better than a fellow fan? That the fans that provide the content for Smart Pop books have expertise in an area of science or literature or media or all three or more is a sweet bonus.
Take the Fringe Science book for example and it’s eclectic mix of writers and the articles they have provided. Not only are theoretical and practical sciences covered but articles about Fringe and how it relates to the roots of Science Fiction, be it written or filmed, are included .
Under the guidance of editor Kevin R. Grazier, whose background includes being a research scientist at NASA plus science advisor on shows such as Eureka and BattleStar Galactica, writers have been selected from such diverse vocations as Film Makers, Internet TV Reviewers, Historians, Cosmologists, and Cognitive Sciences Professors.
Like the show that they are writing about, the articles work best when they are crafted in a relatable manner where the topic is tied to the characters of Fringe. One of the articles, ‘ Parallel Universes,’ by Max Tegmark has been retooled from its previous publishing as a MIT article. It remains dense with abstract concepts and, for this lowly reader, difficult to parse in relatable terms. Regardless, the possibilities raised by this article are mind blowing.
All told there are thirteen articles which are self contained and can be read in any order according to the tastes of the reader.
My personal favorite is, ‘Deja New,’ by Mike Brotherton, an astronomer and SF novelist. It is a timely article given the state of the show which is about to launch its fourth season. ‘Deja New,’ is much the layman’s version of Max Tegmark’s article. Brotherton calls into duty, the rarely seen but always thought about, Schrodinger’s Cat along with Deja Vu to explore the Fringe stories of alternate realities and choices. Comparisons are made to the original Star Trek episode of, ‘Mirror, Mirror,’ Buffy the Vampire Slayer, SG-1, and Sliders.
Another highlight of the book is noted genre fiction writer and editor, Nick Mamatas with his cleverly titled piece, ‘Waltered States.’ In it, Mamatas compares Walter and Walternate to two noted men of the 1960s; Timothy Leary and Gordon G. Liddy, respectively. Leary and Liddy were persons of diametrically opposed ideologies with little reason for the two to cross paths. Fate intervened and their lifes became intrinsically interwoven. So too with Walter and Walternate. Both sets of men are two sides of a coin. A coin that circumstances or Destiny or Fate have forced them to share.
The book is rounded out with articles on memory, time travel, diseases, neurotechnology, and the 1950s antecedents in film and television which form the foundation upon which Fringe rests.
If you are one that loves to ponder and discuss such topics then Smart Pop’s – Fringe Science is a book that you will want to incorporate into your reality.