The light will illuminate the lives of a select few

Richard Dawkins’ new book, The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True will be available on 4 October (lucky folk in the UK have it right now), and you know what that means? Book tour. Poor Richard will be dragged hither and yon in a frantic schedule that would leave me exhausted — I have no idea how he does it. You can find his UK tour schedule online; the US gets him for about two weeks in early October, and you can look that schedule up in a pdf. Miami, New York, Charlottesville,
Lynchburg, Richmond, Houston, Rochester, and Detroit win the lottery this time around.

Did he miss you? He missed me, too, although I will catch up with him in Houston.

Also, James Randi is touring, but he’s only going to Canada. I choose to interpret all this as a tacit acknowledgment that the western half of the United States is so much more enlightened than the places the luminaries are visiting, that we don’t need them.

…says the guy in the small town with 15+ churches.


  1. Gordon says

    UK meaning England again, no Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. Just like the “UK riots”.

    I am looking forward to reading the book though. I ordered my copy this morning.

  2. docslacker says

    I’ve ordered the book on Amazon UK but will have to wait until Monday for it to arrive in Spain. Could people in the US ordered as well?

  3. boggsj says

    you didn’t bring any attention down on ky sir!

    the fact that he is coming to richmond ky is rather mindblowing, considering that definitionally, it is a college town, but factually – it’s a mudhole.

    anyway, the KY stop is being managed by the Secular Student Alliance of EKU and it is my understanding there’s a real fear that not enough people will attend.

    I’m not affiliated with the school or the SSA, but if anyone knows anyone in KY… some words spread across the tubes would be generally beneficial.

  4. Matt Penfold says

    What, no Kindle edition?

    Pretty pointless, since the illustrations are an important element in the book.

  5. says

    What, no Kindle edition?

    Pretty pointless, since the illustrations are an important element in the book.

    There is an app for the iPad. This will have the complete text of the book (therefore equivalent to a Kindle edition but only available on an iPad) plus all the illustrations, plus a few interactive animations.


  6. says

    Can’t wait for the Dutch translation. Peter Ackroyd’s books† are pretty good, but still a bit much for a five year old. The problem with it, for my son, is that all kinds of concepts are used without introducing them. Which is fine, since the books are aimed at an older audience, but still.

    PZ, I tried to make a link to Amazon with Pharyngula as referrer. I hope I did it correctly. You might want to invest in automatically rewriting all links to Amazon to tack on your referrer code — or are you already doing that?

  7. Nice Ogress says

    Tim Minchin’s hitting the ‘States, too. He’ll be in Detroit, Milwaukee and Madison (Squee!), and then head west to L.A. and points southerly.

    It’s like a Mass Atheist Migration or something.

  8. MudPuddles says

    I bought two copies as gifts and one for myself in my local bookshop here in Ireland yesterday. Its a brilliant book, and the artwork is stunning. But I am sad that it may not get the attention from non-free-thinking folks that is should, for two reasons. First, its marketed as a Richard Dawkins book, with his name significantly bigger and more noticeable than the book’s title on the sleeve. Maybe that seems trite, but I dislike seeing any science-ed book being sold on its author’s name rather than on its content, especially when the content is so much more important than the author. His name is the first thing that you notice and though the book appears to have been well received in newspaper reviews here (UK and Ireland), a few have noted this and said its likely to turn many people off (which ironically will work right there and then once that opinion is in print), since the religious have done a pretty good job of convincing many over here that Dawkins is just an “angry pompous git” (his calm indifference to the noise showing he actually isn’t, though of course they don’t care). The Sunday Times lauded the book, but hinted that some of the text had an anti-religious slant (or at least knocked some religious ideas), and claimed that this comes across like “propaganda” – and although the charge is a bit daft, I can see where it comes from; there is a “you don’t need gods, science is the answer!” vibe, so it would be hard to convince many that this is just science education for the sake of science education. A journalist from the Irish Independent newspaper called it “The God Delusion for children”, which is rotten, wrong and unfortunately how many will dismiss it.
    The second problem is that its actually a weighty enough book, in size and prose. Not a lot of it makes for a leisurely read, and the first two chapters are perhaps the most dense. I would love to see this book on school science curricula for ages 13 and upwards, but don’t think kids under that age will grasp much of it. I’ll be handing out to friends and family anyway – its a brilliant gift.

  9. DonDueed says

    For what it’s worth, Amazon’s page does show a Kindle edition. However, if a lot of the illustrations are in color there could be a lot lost in translation.

  10. Mattir says

    I have a review copy of the book. It’s wonderful. (Oh, and nyanyanya to those without friends whose offices abut the book review slush pile…)

  11. John Morales says


    I won’t read it until he apologizes to rebecca watson, and women in general.

    That’s your prerogative, but I think it foolish.

    (Babies and bathwater)

  12. chigau (...---...) says

    If I stopped reading an author because I disagreed with its politics/sociology/anthropology/racism/sexism/etc. I’d stop reading.

  13. speedweasel says

    Favourite author, favourite topic, FTW!

    Wait, I nearly forgot about Richard Feynman. Hmmm…

  14. Matthew says

    If you don’t specify which Rochester, reasonable people are gong to assume it’s NY. Thanks for getting my hopes up, PZ….

  15. BCskeptic says

    I get to see James Randi on Sept. 23rd. I can’t wait!

    To see Dawkins in person? That would be a dream…lucky skunks.

  16. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    PZ: My wife and I will be at the Houston convention, and likely we will try to get you to sign something. I haven’t decided whether you will be signing my laptop or some part of my body*–anyway, that’s beside the point. I would like to know the protocol for making that happen. I initially planned to sort of shadow you through the day, and then when you were very exhausted, maybe leaving the bar or whatever, follow you into some confined space, like an elevator, and ask you back to my room, you know…to sign a body part, or maybe my laptop. Like I said, I haven’t decided.

    I have been rethinking this strategy.

    Instead, I’ll be the guy dressed like a pirate**. Whenever you are ready to write your John Hancock on something of mine, my Sharpie is at your disposal.

    *It would be awesome to have a book by you that I could have signed, that I would gladly buy retail at any cost. Hint, hint.
    **It’s the only costume I own since I lost my job as the Phillie Phanatic.

  17. Oskar says

    We’ve got a fledgling atheist club at Oakland University in Rochester (, and we’re ecstatic to be hosting Professor Dawkins. If those of you in the Detroit area are interested in the prospect of attending, we’ll probably have the first details on how non-students can join. At the moment, tickets are for students only. I picked an awesome semester to change schools, it seems!

  18. ChasCPeterson says

    the small town with 15+ churches

    New York City. 1660 CE or so.

    Speaking of dressing like a pirate, Greenwich Village was full of ’em yesterday.
    Also the Red Dress Run at the same time.
    New York City. 2011 CE or so.

  19. Moggie says


    For anyone who has the audiobook, is there much lost in not having the illustrations?

    Well, the audiobook is actually a CD*, and I think the sleeve notes include the illustrations.

    * Note for younger readers: a “CD” was a physical medium which was once used to distribute music and other audio material, back when people “bought” music in “stores”.

  20. Caelan (aka Itsumademootaku) says

    Is it the 10th that you’ll be in Houston, PZ? I’ll be flying in that day for a training course and I’d love to hop over to the university that evening.

    To all the Kindle illustration scoffers: If you read a Kindle book on a computer or smartphone (Yes, Amazon even offers an over-the-web reader), the illustrations should be in color. It’s only if you’ve got an e-ink reader that you’re stuck with B&W. That won’t even be true for much longer – Amazon has plans to launch a color tablet soon.

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