Spring news

Happy spring all! Just in time for the London Book Fair, we've put together a new issue of Curiouser, the Science Factory newsletter. The highlights include an exciting line-up of spring and summer books – including Angela Saini’s SUPERIOR, Massimo Pigliucci and Gregory Lopez’s A HANDBOOK FOR NEW STOICS, and Matt Stanley’s EINSTEIN’S WAR – as well as a new batch of deals, including projects from neuroscientist Mark Humphries, magician Ian Keable and cryptographer Keith Martin, along with a slew of translation deals around the world. You can read the new issue here. And you can view our spring rights list here.

Autumn news

Our news pages may have been quiet recently, but that's not to say it hasn't been a busy summer for us all at the Science Factory. We’ve done a flurry of deals, including The Wood Age by Roland Ennos (William Collins in the UK and Scribner in North America), The Fear Paradox by Frank Faranda (Mango Books), Ouch by Margee Kerr and Linda Rodriguez McRobbie (Bloomsbury Sigma), The Last Stargazers by Emily Levesque (Oneworld in the UK and Sourcebooks in North America), The Genesis Quest by Michael Marshall (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), How to Think Like a Woman by Regan Penaluna (Grove Atlantic), How to Live a Good Life edited by Massimo Pigliucci, Skye Cleary and Daniel A. Kaufman (Vintage), A Handbook for New Stoics by Massimo Pigliucci and Gregory Lopez (Rider in the UK and the Experiment in North America), Einstein’s War by Matthew Stanley (Viking UK), Living in Data by Jer Thorp (MCD Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux) and The Dance of Life by Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz and Roger Highfield (WH Allen). You can find more details on our author pages.

We’ve also been pursuing translation deals internationally for our clients. We’ve secured 17 translation deals worldwide since the London Book Fair, many of them the rewarding result of years of effort. Enrico Coen’s Cells to Civilizations, for example, was published in 2012 by Princeton University Press, and we are now placing it with a publisher in China.

It’s just as fulfilling to see titles get the recognition they deserve once they’re published. In July, Dr Jessica Wade launched a crowdfunding campaign to get a copy of Angela Saini’s Inferior into most large mixed secondary schools in the UK. As of 21 August, the campaign has raised over £22,000, which will allow them to get a copy into every state school in the UK! Fourth Estate, Saini’s UK publisher for Inferior, has pledged to match the amount raised and to handle distribution, which will greatly expand the reach of the campaign.

And in early August, Mark Miodownik’s Liquid was shortlisted for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize. Miodownik has won the prize once previously, with Stuff Matters in 2014. The 2018 winner will be announced at a ceremony hosted by Professor Brian Cox on 1 October 2018.

London Book Fair 2018

It's the London Book Fair next week. Peter and Jeff will be attending, alongside Louisa Pritchard, who handles our translation rights. Together we've a full schedule of meetings with more than a hundred publishers and editors from around the world.

Happily, we've several exciting new titles in the works with which to entice everyone, including dispatches from the cutting edge of heart surgery, anthologies of the best science and maths writing from Quanta magazine, surprising insider tales from the vanishing world of observational astronomy, a user's day-to-day guide to Stoicism and the extraordinary story of Wall Funk – the female aviation pioneer who is due to feature in a 'Mercury 13' docudrama series from Netflix in April.

The fair runs from 10 to 12 April, and you'll be able to find the Science Factory at table 34e and Louisa Pritchard Associates at table 34f in the International Rights Centre.

You can also view and download a high-res edition of our London Book Fair 2018 catalogue by clicking here. To print the rights list or store it on your computer, you will need to register with Issuu at http://issuu.com.

MIT Press acquires Quanta Magazine anthologies

We are pleased to announce that MIT Press has bought world English language rights in two collections of the best articles from Quanta magazine, the prestigious independent online publication launched by the Simons Foundation to enhance the public understanding of science. 

Compiled by Quanta's founding editor Thomas Lin, Alice and Bob Meet the Wall of Fire, & other Quanta Science Stories and The Prime Number Conspiracy, & Other Quanta Math Stories aim to penetrate the biggest questions at the forefront of physics, biology and mathematics and uncover the best ideas and theories for understanding our physical, biotic and logical worlds.

Rights were sold by Jeff Shreve to Jeremy Matthews at MIT Press, with publication planned for autumn 2018.

MIT Press signs up book by UCLA professor on a 'new deal' for the Internet

We are pleased to announce that MIT Press has acquired world English language rights in a book presenting a bold, truly global vision for equality, diversity and justice in our digital age.

In We, the Users, Ramesh Srinivasan, a professor in the departments of Information Studies and Design|Media Arts at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the founder of the UC-wide Digital Cultures Lab, makes a clarion call for a new social contract – inspired by the New Deal – that aims to restore the fundamental principles that have been sacrificed in our heedless rush for technological progress.

Along the way he draws on his pioneering fieldwork exploring technology’s impact on communities around the world, spanning Latin and South America, South Asia, West Africa, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand and indigenous communities in the United States and Canada.

According to the media critic Douglas Rushkoff, Srinivisan is 'The smartest person around thinking about the impact of digital technology on global society – the first of the next generation of media philosophers who will shepherd humanity through the changes ahead'.

Rights were bought by MIT Press editorial director Gita Manaktala from Jeff Shreve, with publication slated for 2019.

Saqi to publish inspirational story of a true hidden figure in aviation history


We are delighted to announce that Westbourne Press (an imprint of Saqi Books) has acquired World English rights in the first book to tell the story of Wally Funk, one of the few surviving members of the first group of American pilots to pass the Women in Space programme in the early 1960s.

Like the other participants, Funk was put through rigorous physical and mental testing (from having ice cold water poured into her ears to floating in an isolation tank in complete darkness for over ten hours) by the same doctor who developed tests for the first male NASA astronauts. Funk did well, beating many of the male candidates. But one week before she was due to enter the final phase of training, the programme was abruptly cancelled. A combination of politics and prejudice meant that none of the women ever flew into space.

Since then, Funk has travelled the world and become one of America’s first female aviation inspectors, air-safety investigators and civilian flight instructors. Still regularly taking to the skies as a pilot, she has clocked up 19,000 flight hours and taught over 3,000 students. Throughout this journey, her dream of being an astronaut has never dimmed.

Like Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden FiguresWally Funk’s Race for Space aims to set the record straight, telling the incredible story of one of history’s forgotten pioneers set against the backdrop of space exploration – past, present and future. It is the first book to focus solely on Funk, the youngest and one of the few surviving Mercury 13 members and the only woman to make firsts in aviation history – as well as being the only one of the Mercury 13 to take cosmonaut training and pursue her dream of becoming an astronaut into old age.

In Wally Funk’s Race for Space, the British science journalist and broadcaster Sue Nelson follows Funk as she prepares to make her giant leap into space. A former BBC science correspondent, Nelson also studied space science at the University of Michigan on a prestigious Knight-Wallace Fellowship.

Lynn Gaspard, managing director of Saqi Books, says the book will 'restore Wally to her rightful place in history':

'Sue Nelson’s entertaining, inspirational and unconventional biography of Wally Funk, who could have been the first woman in space, restores Wally to her rightful place in history", said Gaspard. "Wally is a remarkable woman, a pioneer who was ahead of her time. I’m very proud to be publishing the story of what she and other women in space have had to overcome to be where we are today.'

Nelson says:

'Wally has spent a lifetime trying to get into space. This joyously exuberant and eccentric woman has trained alongside real astronauts, experienced weightlessness and is a tremendous pilot. Wally has shown a generation of women that we can do space travel too. Whether behind the scenes as in Hidden Figures or in the pilot’s seat, the history of space travel consisted of a number of brave extraordinary women who were ready to sit on top of a rocket and explore the unknown. Wally is one of them and her unique story deserves to reach as wide an audience as possible.'

The book was sold by Peter Tallack at the Science Factory and will be published in hardback in October 2018, just before Funk’s 80th birthday in 2019, which also marks the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing. Netflix will be releasing 'The Mercury 13', a documentary film featuring Funk in the next six months, and Oscar-winning actress Jessica Chastain is also developing a TV series based on the Mercury 13, slated for broadcast in 2018.

An extensive publicity campaign is planned for publication, when Wally Funk will visit the UK for events and interviews.