Daniel H. Wilson

Three books that unveil astonishing worlds.



Daniel H. Wilson's blockbuster bestseller Robopocalypse imagined a future where humans and machines fought for supremacy. His new vision of imminent calamity, Amped, foresees a world wherein people are implanted with devices that give them superhuman powers. But can war between the "amplifieds" and their all-too-human kin be averted? When we asked him to pick his favorite books, Wilson chose three fascinating reads, including one that inspired his writing.


Books by Daniel H. Wilson



Sea of Glass

By Barry B. Longyear


"This is a dark book about a future in which a powerful thinking machine is charged with making decisions that are too hard for human beings, both mathematically and ethically. I was much too young when I first read Sea of Glass, but the story sank its barbed tentacles into my psyche and has kept me coming back over the years. The protagonist is a true anti-hero who at the culmination of his journey initiates the kind of mind-blowing plot twist that would cause a Hollywood movie to self-immolate. I was halfway through graduate school when it dawned on me that my thesis research was creating a version of the machine in this book. That realization sent goosebumps down my arms, and still does. I have never doubted the power of books to influence our lives since."



Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

By Susanna Clarke


"The literary equivalent of drinking hot chocolate before a roaring fire in a drafty house...while weird shapes cavort in the twilight. The book sets off with a confident, leisurely pace that is punctuated by surprising leaps that really grab you. Novel-worthy footnotes are interspersed throughout, implicitly conveying why the book required a decade to write. This is one of my all-time favorites, with endless replay value, as a second or third trip affords one the time to smell the roses. The meandering story is at once as familiar as an old pair of shoes and charged with a current that draws me against my will to the end of the book."



Wired for War

By P. W. Singer


"They say fact is stranger than fiction, and the same goes for modern warfare. In the past, Singer has written with unnerving accuracy and stolidness about child soldiers in Children at War. In Wired for War, he leaps forward and delves into the myriad ways that technology (and particularly robotics) is changing the face of modern warfare. What amazes me most about both books is how the human component of warfare remains relentlessly adaptable in the face of incredible despair and/or overwhelming technological inferiority. War changes, but people stay the same. This book was an invaluable resource for jump-starting my thoughts when it came to writing both Robopocalypse and Amped."

April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysely Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.

The Promise of Hope

Killed last year in the infamous terror attack at Nairobi's Westgate mall, Kofi Awoonor was a national treasure in his native Ghana.  His career began in 1964 with Rediscovery, and this magnum opus serves as a tribute to his entire long journey charting his beloved nation's course through his accomplished poetry.

Winter Mythologies and Abbots

A pair of linked stories finds that, as translator Ann Jefferson relates, "[Pierre] Michon's great theme is the precarious balance between belief and imposture, and the way the greatest aspirations can be complicated by physical desire or the equally urgent desire for what he calls glory."