Pan Macmillan has signed science writer Steven Johnson to its non-fiction list, after acquiring Wonderland: How Play and Delight Made the Modern World, due to publish November 2016.
The book will be "lushly illustrated" and a follow-up to the author's bestselling How We Got to Now, arguing that the pursuit of novelty and wonder is a powerful driver of world-shaping technological change.
Throughout history, he locates the cutting edge of innovation wherever people are working the hardest to keep themselves and others amused.
Johnson compellingly argues that observers of technological and social trends should be looking for clues in novel amusements. You’ll find the future wherever people are having the most fun.
UK and Commonwealth rights were acquired from Hal Fessenden at Riverhead (US).
Non-fiction publisher Robin Harvie said: “Steven Johnson is the rarest of science writers. He manages to combine a deep marvel of the world around us and an explorer’s eye with the kind of storytelling reserved for titans of fiction writing. We are overjoyed to be welcoming Steven to Pan Macmillan on the next step in his journey through the history of science.”
Johnson is the bestselling author of 10 books, including How We Got to Now, Where Good Ideas Come From, The Invention of Air, The Ghost Map, and Everything Bad Is Good for You. He is also the host and co-creator of the PBS and BBC series "How We Got to Now".