How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog: The Cover

I'm looking at an email from my editor when Emmy wanders by the computer, sniffing around just in case a crumb of food has fallen on the floor in the last five minutes. "Hey," I say, "Come here and look at this."

"Look at what?"



"It's the cover for my new book."


"OK, fine, it's the cover for our new book. Anyway, what do you think?"

"Hey, that's not bad. I'm way better than that dog, though."

"Yeah, well, they didn't want to make the owners of inferior dogs jealous."

"Oooh. Good point. See, this is why I could never make it in marketing."

"It's Madison Avenue's loss, I'm sure."

She looks at it a little more, then cocks her head to the side. "Why's that dog got a cone on her head?"

"Well, it's an analogy we make in the book, comparing the light cone from relativity (represented schematically as the hourglass-shaped things down the left edge) to one of those restrictor cones dogs wear after medical procedures."

"Oh, right. events within the light cone are accessible to the dog at the center, like treats that fall into the plastic restrictor cone will eventually get eaten be the dog. Things outside the light cone, like itchy stitches, can never be affected by the dog at the center."

"Exactly. Good job."

"I am the best, you know." She looks thoughtful. "Still, dude, I'm not sure that putting one of those cones on the cover is a good plan. Dogs hate those cones. You're probably going to scare them off, and cut way down on the number of copies sold to dogs."

"Yeah, well, I think we can live with that. There aren't a lot of dogs going into bookstores buying physics books."

"Not brick-and-mortar stores, no. But that's what one-click ordering at Amazon is for, right?"

"I guess-- wait, what?"

"Did I say that out loud? Never mind, dude. It was nothing." And with an exaggerated air of innocence, she sniffs her way off toward the kitchen.


So, as you can gather, this is the cover for the book-in-production (assuming, of course, that I can shake free of work and this wretched cold to finish checking these copyedits). It's a good deal more like the foreign covers for How to Teach Physics to your Dog than the US cover, going for something more whimsical. I'm pretty happy with it.

The cover isn't up on the Amazon page yet, though the release date is: next February 28th. You can pre-order it now, if you like to do that this far in advance.

And, really, that's all the news there is at this point. Copyedit-checking is proceeding, the typeset manuscript is next, then there's the fun process of getting blurbs and publicity stuff lined up. More details will be posted here, as they become available. Assuming, of course, that I don't collapse under the strain of this term first.

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Congratulations on progress on all fronts.

For some reason the cover reminds me of Mr. Wizard, which really dates me, probably because it has that retro-future look from the early sixties-late fifties. I like it.

It's also a bit reminiscent of the cover for H.A. Rey's The Stars, also of that period. (Rey is better known for Curious George)

If I'm not alone in these positive associations, perhaps, baby boomers will buy your book.

The light cone on the dog is fantastic!

Hilarious, one of those protective collars ("Queen Anne"?) in with the light-cones. BTW, I don't know if HTTRTYD talks much about stress-corrections to energy and momentum (most popular treatments don't, so no fault if not), but for decades they have been a source of confusion and argument. Just look at all the wrangling over the right-angle lever paradox in e.g. American Journal of Physics.

It's the cone of shame on the cover. Good thing its not a picture of Emmy - she wouldn't be caught dead wearing the cone of shame in public.

I like the cover a lot - a definite improvement over the last book. And, to ditto bph, the light cone / dog cone analogy is fabulous.

By Anonymous Coward (not verified) on 21 Sep 2011 #permalink

I can't resist...with the news coming out of the LHC and Opera I expect you'll be teaching the old dog some new tricks.

What about kindle edition?