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Room with a review

TedNield024.jpgWelcome to August, and this year’s Reviews Special.  In these pages you will find not four but thirteen new book reviews to help you plan your reading over the coming winter. 

All Geoscientist reviews are published Online First, and such has been the growth in this section over recent years that print publication struggles to keep up.  Even now, some of those online reviews may remain ‘online only’.  The only way to keep abreast of all our coverage is to go regularly to

The growth in reviewing is timely and deliberate, as ‘new media’ are much more effective for the dissemination of topical news than a print magazine with a long lead-time.  This is also why we have moved more towards other op/ed writing, like Soapbox, historical stories like Nina Morgan’s Distant Thunder column, and of course, long-form feature content. 

Another reason for visiting the online Books & Arts section is to keep abreast of new books received, and listed as on offer to any Fellow wishing to review them for us.  In the print issue we can only ever carry a few titles, taken from the top of this list – the most recent acquisitions.  Many more titles await you online. 

We cannot pay for contributions, but you can of course keep the copy – and our books are all proper editions – none of your unedited, unindexed, paper-bound, laser-printed pre-pubs or e-books (unless available only in that format) that have now become the sorry lot of commercial reviewing.  Our review copies are the real thing.

Review copies come with a comprehensive guide for authors and a request that you supply a review of precisely 400 words within three months.

While reviews should be frank about any shortcomings you may discover, we do not generally print adverse reviews, reasoning that our limited space would be better spent recommending good books.  However, if a book (especially a very expensive one from a prestigious publisher) is so bad as to constitute a danger to the public about which readers should be warned, we do of course make an exception. 

However, ours is not a ‘daggers drawn’ approach, unlike the famous Edinburgh Review, pioneer of the critical essay, of which Sydney Smith joked that – given the Solar System to review, it would likely conclude that it showed: ‘bad light – planets too distant – pestered with comets – feeble contrivance – could make a better with great ease’…

DR TED NIELD, EDITOR , @TedNield @geoscientistmag