I have many quite specific book-buying memories. Among them is visiting Bookshop Santa Cruz in 1995, where I found a book I had to have by a team of writers I’d never heard of – Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. I loved the hell out of that book, and the others that followed. The Agent Pendergast novels and both writers’ other work, fiction and non-fiction, were reliable jolts of pure reading pleasure.
I must admit then, that my first thought about The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story was, “Hmmm — sounds like a non-fiction version of Relic without the monsters … [presumably].” This makes sense, because Relic itself was originally conceived of without monsters. And the first thing I asked Douglas Preston about when I spoke to him via Skype before his appearance next week at Book Passage in Corte Madera was whether or not it might end up as fodder for a Pendergast gig.
But my main point of interest in this mini-interview was the intersection between technology and archaeology. On one hand we like to think that all the tech in the world has made it all known to us. The Lost City of the Monkey God makes it clear that there are still things we can discover. I talked to Preston about lidar, and the advent of the 21st Century Gentleman Explorer, and how well that image and those actions played for academics and archaeologists. The bottom line is that everyone wants the tech, but it is delicate, expensive and bits are still classified.
Here’s a link to Preston’s tour dates. He has a fantastic voice and he’s a great guest. See him if you have a chance, and even if you miss him, the bookstores where he appears will likely have signed copies of his books.
Here’s a link to our conversation, or you can listen below. Stay tuned for an in-depth interview and review. And even if you find poisonous, tiny critters particularly terrifying, don’t worry. You’re not likely to meet them outside o the Lost City. And if you do, well … at least you will have been on the cutting edge.