Science and the City: An update!

It has been just over two months since ‘Science and the City’ hit the shelves across Europe and I’m happy to say that there’s been plenty of activity around it. Here are a few things that you might be interested in:

I’ve been lucky enough to do quite a few radio / podcast-y things for the book, and I’ve really enjoyed all of them. I have to say, the most surreal was my appearance on the Anton Savage Show on TodayFM, in Ireland. I’ve listened to this station my whole life, and I am a huge fan of Anton and his team, so meeting them was pretty goddamn special. They podcasted our chat afterwards too (listen HERE). I had another “What the hell am I doing here?” moments when I went to Broadcasting House, on Regent Street. I was there to appear on the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4. Being faced with Nick Robinson was pretty terrifying TBH, but after the show he said “When I saw this on the plan for today, I thought it sounded pretty dull, but you made it really interesting!”… high praise indeed. One thing they didn’t mention was that there were cameras in the studio… I only discovered it when they picked a tiny excerpt from my interview and highlighted it on their site – good thing I washed my hair, eh?! I’ve also appeared on BBC World Service radio, Newstalk, the Chemistry World podcast, Guardian Science, and the utterly brilliant Little Atoms.

Myself and Anton Savage
Myself and Anton Savage

The London launch was AMAZING, but I also had a wonderful time at the Science Gallery (Dublin) for my Irish launch. the format was great – award-winning science journalist Claire O Connell interviewed me in front of the the crowd, so it was a lot more fun than a regular talk. The crowd were wonderful – a mixture of familiar faces and people I don’t know, and they were full of questions. It was a dream come true to be there. I’ve given a few talks by now too, including at the Institute of Physics, the University of Liverpool (if you have a spare hour, you can watch this talk HERE) and the How To Academy. I also spoke in the book tent at Wilderness Festival – a huge leap outside my comfort zone, but I had a fantastic time. We weren’t allowed to use any technology beyond a mic, so I based my entire talk around a tube (as you can see in the pic). I even managed to sell a few books after it too, so I was pretty chuffed.

Myself and tubey at Wilderness
Myself and tubey at Wilderness

Myself and Claire, mid-chat!
Myself and Claire, mid-chat!

You can find both of my Crossrail videos on the homepage…. but what you might not know is that the 3 min one was picked up by WIRED magazine (I KNOW! So exciting!) and featured on their site. Focus magazine also featured it… I remain FOREVER grateful to the team at Crossrail for being so incredibly supportive and generous with their time.
Possibly the most random thing I’ve done so far happened only a couple of weeks ago. Esquire magazine got in contact to ask me to take part in a project sponsored by Hyundai. They were producing a series of “futures” videos, each one on a different sector, and featuring a different “talking head”. And they asked me to do one about cities / energy! So I headed off to a fancy studio in Kentish Town (north London) to film it. Given that exactly a week previously, I’d been at a sewage treatment works, this felt rather surreal. I had my make-up done, and an outfit selected by a stylist, and was ushered into a studio filled with cameras. The video will be published in the next month or so, and I promise to share it.

I’ve been writing like crazy too, some for the book, some for other clients. Specifically on the book front, I’ve written a guest blog post for Hyperloop, a story on renewables in cities for the Irish Independent, a feature for How It Works, and the cover feature for BA Business Life (August edition), as well as a post for CityMetric and one for my beloved Londonist. I’ve also been busy on the Forbes front too – see my Aug/Sep stories HERE.

Reviews have been largely positive… SO FAR! It’s appeared in Focus, Publishers Weekly, Sunday Times, Starburst, and Discover Magazine, amongst others. Undoubtedly, the most comprehensive one was on GotScience (who are famed for being really, really harsh on books!). I think my favourite one came from the Irish Independent – I couldn’t believe how incredibly positive it was – but the most personally special one came from a FB message from a young engineering student (pic below). It made me teary-eyed!

The best review of all :)
The best review of all 🙂

The book was published in Australia / NZ just a couple of weeks ago, and given that I’ll be down in the Antipodes at Christmas, I’m hoping I’ll get to do some promo around it there. I’ll keep you guys informed. The US publication date is 25 October, so fingers crossed, I’ll have some interest coming from that direction soon too. A short excerpt has already appeared on TOR (which, for a sci-fi fan like me, is AWESOME) and Natural History Magazine has a six-page excerpt in their October issue too.

So yep, it’s been going ok. I haven’t asked about sales figures because, as I see it, I couldn’t possibly work any harder than I am now. Knowing how its going won’t help in any way. But, in saying that, as you guys know, I didn’t get an advance for SATC, so I have yet to see a single penny from the book. Sales are hugely important, so I’m going to be tragic and ask a favour. If you’ve read and enjoyed my book, please please please consider reviewing it on Amazon, GoodReads, or anywhere else you can think of. And if you’re stuck for an idea for Christmas pressies, maybe you could add a copy to your shopping list? I will forever be grateful for your support, you guys. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

L x