Illustration: Cody Fitzgerald.

Incoming Transmission

Books that illuminate the present by examining the future.

Eliot Peper
Mar 9, 2017 · 3 min read

Reading is a superpower. Books contain entire universes within their pages. They offer wisdom straight from our greatest sages, tantalize with tales from our most creative entertainers and crackle with ideas from our deepest thinkers.

Reading gives us access to all of this and more. It is a most miraculous technology — one so important and powerful that we take it entirely for granted.

Welcome to Incoming Transmission, where we highlight books that illuminate the present by examining the future. We are obsessed with the social implications of innovation. We scrutinize the intersection of technology and culture from every angle. We read widely and voraciously, applying what we learn to better understand ourselves and the world.

On the vast wilderness of the internet, we’re building an outpost to discuss the ideas shaping tomorrow.

This isn’t a typical book club. We don’t chase the latest trends or limit ourselves to this or that genre. We know that insight hides at the intersection of seemingly unrelated fields and that wisdom requires tolerating cognitive dissonance. Literature is an extended conversation about the meaning of life, and we explore its geography in search of truths that speak to the human experience of accelerating change.

Here at Incoming Transmission, we spark conversations that expand on the big ideas that live inside important books. Every so often we recommend a book that has changed our lives. It might be a space opera that reframes our conception of gender, a deep dive into cutting-edge machine learning techniques, or a timeless and powerful fable. We interview authors about their inspirations, realizations, and lessons learned. We host discussions on Scout and other platforms about what these ideas mean for ourselves and the societies we inhabit. We internalize and apply the results in ongoing experiments.

And though we invite you to read along with us, it’s never a prerequisite for joining the conversation.

Our goal is to challenge our most deeply held assumptions, pose important questions without easy answers, cultivate a profound sense of empathy, and return to our own lives enriched and inspired. That is reading’s greatest gift of all. Stories can entertain, inform, and enlighten, but the best stories transform us. They arm us with the tools we need to survive our own adventures. They change us, and in doing so, change the world.

Technology has put the entirety of human culture at our fingertips. In each of our pockets we hold a portal that connects us to every song ever recorded, every long-lost acquaintance, and more cat videos than we could watch in a lifetime.

Books are a different class of vehicle. They are intimate philosophical communions that start when the fire has burned down to embers and end only when the gray fingers of dawn reach across the sky. Books go deep and, in a world of memes, depth is the ultimate advantage.

So stow your gear, check your life support, and fasten your restraints. We’re preparing for liftoff and would love to have you along for the ride.

Oh, and if you ever find yourself lost in a distant galaxy and badly in need of a map, drop by this post for a cold beer and a moment of respite. This is more than a manifesto, it’s our home. We promise to keep it up-to-date with every Incoming Transmission so that you always know where to find something to spark a sense of wonder. The universe is a big place and there’s so much to explore.

Eliot Peper is an editor at Scout and the author of Cumulus, Neon Fever Dream, and The Uncommon Series. His books have been praised by Popular Science, Businessweek, TechCrunch, io9, and Ars Technica, and he has been a speaker at places like Google, Qualcomm, and Future in Review. When he’s not writing, he works with entrepreneurs and investors to build technology businesses.

Scout: Science Fiction + Journalism

The social implications of technology.

Eliot Peper

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Writes speculative fiction that explores the intersection of technology and culture. Books: Blog:

Scout: Science Fiction + Journalism

The social implications of technology.