reviews, introductions, tributes & iconoclastic essays

"He's a fascinating writer and he makes several important points that you probably haven't thought about but make perfect sense, and explains why you haven't thought about it before and the insidious traps that people fall into because of societal pressure." — review

DAVID BRIN's Through Stranger Eyes

Nimble Books and Altair Australia, 2008

Scroll down to read excerpts or purchase THROUGH STRANGER EYES.

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does popular culture change the future?

From bestselling author David Brin comes a collected work that takes the reader on a sweeping, controversial ride through worlds of fiction, nonfiction and film. Through Stranger Eyes is a freedom-of-expression free-for-all, offering more than twodozen reviews and commentaries that are sure to enlighten and entertain, possibly infuriate, even make you laugh.

  • From carefully measured views on J.R.R. Tolkien to Brin's infamous, outraged rant about the Star Wars saga.
  • From sober reflections on Jared Diamond's Collapse and Rebecca Solnit's River of Shadows, to scientific ponderings of Feynman and Gott.
  • From sober appraisals of great authors like Brunner, Resnick, Zelazny, Clarke, Verne, and Orwell to fun riffs on the Matrix and Buffy!
  • You are guaranteed to come away with perspectives you never imagined before.

    Through Stranger Eyes was published in the Western Hemisphere by Nimble Books and in the Eastern by Altair Australia.

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    table of contents


    Author's Preface
    Introduction: Arthur Salm

    I. Dreading Tomorrow: Exploring our nightmares through literature
    George Orwell and the Self-Preventing Prophecy (read on this site)
    The Dream of Scipio, by Iain Pears
    The Lord of the Rings: J.R.R. Tolkien vs The Modern Age (also sold separately for Barnes & Noble's nook
    The Sheep Look Up, by John Brunner
    Alas Babylon, by Pat Frank

    II. Tomorrow Gets Worse: Cinematic "sci-fi" and the betrayal of confidence
    The Dark Side: Star Wars, Mythology and Ingratitude (also sold separately for Barnes & Noble's nook
    The Matrix: Tomorrow May Be Different (also sold separately for Barnes & Noble's nook

    III. The Dour Choice: Authors who complain
    The Separation, by Christopher Priest
    The Penal Colony, by Richard Herley

    IV. Daring to Look Higher: Authors who strive
    Stand on Zanzibar, by John Brunner
    Lord of Light, by Roger Zelazny
    Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by Jules Verne

    V. The Real World: Notions of progress, science, and danger in nonfiction
    The Progress Paradox, by Gregg Easterbrook (read on this site)
    Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, by Jared Diamond (read on this site)
    River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West, by Rebecca Solnit
    The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, by Richard P. Feynman
    Time Travel in Einstein's Universe, by J.Richard Gott
    The Fifth Essence, by Lawrence Krauss
    Fortune or Failure: Missed Opportunities and Chance Discoveries, by Alexander Kohn
    The Art of Fiction, by Ayn Rand

    VI. Reviews of Memorable Tales
    Beyond Thirty, by Edgar Rice Burroughs
    Guilty Pleasure Can be Proud, Or Why Buffy Goes
    Godspeed (or "Goodbye Warp Speed"), by Charles Sheffield
    Rocket Boys, by Homer H. Hickham, Jr.
    Ground Zero, by Fred Gambino
    Paradise, Purgatory & Inferno, by Mike Resnick
    When Heaven Fell, by William Barton

    VII. Biographical Tributes
    Jack Williamson, Poul Anderson, Harry Harrison, Greg Bear, Gregory Benford
    Micro Tributes: Isaac Asimov, Jim Burns, Fred Gambino, Arthur C. Clarke

    VIII. Through Stranger Eyes: The Odd Profession of Storytelling
    How I do it... and advice to new writers (read on this site)
    The Uplift Universe
    David Brin Literary Bibliography (distilled)

    a brief intro to science fiction author DAVID BRIN

    To learn more, visit his books page, or see his "about me" page or detailed biography.

    DAVID BRIN author


    David Brin's science fiction novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages. They range from bold and prophetic explorations of our near-future to Brin's Uplift series, envisioning galactic issues of sapience and destiny (and star-faring dolphins!). Learn More

    shorter fiction

    Short stories and novellas have different rhythms and artistic flavor, and Brin's short stories and novellas, several of which earned Hugo and other awards, exploit that difference to explore a wider range of real and vividly speculative ideas. Many have been selected for anthologies and reprints, and most have been published in anthology form. Learn More

    Contrary Brin blog

    Since 2004, David Brin has maintained a blog about science, technology, science fiction, books, and the future — themes his science fiction and nonfiction writings continue to explore. Learn More

    social media influencer

    Who could've predicted that social media — indeed, all of our online society — would play such an important role in the 21st Century — restoring the voices of advisors and influencers! Lively and intelligent comments spill over onto Brin's social media pages. Learn More

    DAVID BRIN scientist


    David Brin's Ph.D in Physics from the University of California at San Diego (the lab of nobelist Hannes Alfven) followed a masters in optics and an undergraduate degree in astrophysics from Caltech. Every science show that depicts a comet now portrays the model developed in Brin's PhD research. Learn More

    transparency expert

    Brin's non-fiction book, The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Freedom and Privacy?, continues to receive acclaim for its accuracy in predicting 21st Century concerns about online security, secrecy, accountability and privacy. Learn More

    speaker & consultant

    Brin speaks plausibly and entertainingly about trends in technology and society to audiences willing to confront the challenges that our rambunctious civilization will face in the decades ahead. He also talks about the field of science fiction, especially in relation to his own novels and stories. To date he has presented at more than 200 meetings, conferences, corporate retreats and other gatherings.Learn More

    future/tech advisor

    Brin advises corporations and governmental and private defense- and security-related agencies about information-age issues, scientific trends, future social and political trends, and education. Urban Developer Magazine named him one of four World's Best Futurists, and he was appraised as "#1 influencer" in Onalytica's Top 100 report of Artificial Intelligence influencers, brands & publications. Past consultations include Google, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, and many others. Learn More

    Contacting BRIN

    All the Ways in the World to Reach David Brin

    an ornery, contrary BLOG, and other insightful wormholes!

    Do not enter if you want a standard "Party" line! Contrary Brin's incendiary posts on science, sci-fi and politics and its engaged, opinionated community poke at too-rigid orthodoxies, proposing ideas and topics that fascinate — and infuriate. See for yourself, and if you like — subscribe for more.

    Questions? Concerns? Email DAVID BRIN at


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    pages about DAVID BRIN

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  • a selection of book reviews
  • Brin's special-order books for sale
  • Brin's advice for new writers
  • Brin reviews sci fi films — including The Postman
  • a compilation of great sf books to read
  • recommended sf films
  • science fiction that teaches
  • BRIN's nonfiction explorations

  • privacy, security, accountability and transparency
  • designing and crafting our amazing 21st Century
  • predicting and projecting our near and far future
  • leading and following our politics and economy
  • keeping track of changes in science and technology
  • scanning our sky for habitable (inhabited?) worlds