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The Herald on Sunday - Sunday Herald Life - - Books Reviews - By Alas­tair Mab­bott

SUPERCUTE FUTURES

Martin Mil­lar (Pi­atkus, £8.99) The author has al­ready writ­ten about fairies, were­wolves and gods, and his de­cep­tively naïve style is a per­fect fit for the self­ab­sorbed, faux-in­no­cent duo at the heart of this satir­i­cal com­edy cy­berthriller. Mox and Mitsu started Supercute En­ter­prises “in a bed­room in Lon­don, with only an iPhone and a col­lec­tion of their favourite cud­dly toys”. It’s now a me­dia gi­ant and world leader in wa­ter de­sali­na­tion, cur­rently forg­ing links with arms man­u­fac­tur­ers. Their flag­ship kids’ pro­gramme is the big­gest show on an eco­log­i­cally dev­as­tated Earth. But one com­peti­tor is pulling out all the stops to take over their busi­ness. Much fun en­sues as the sur­gi­cally-en­hanced pair get a taste of the real world while fight­ing to get their com­pany back with the help of their de­voted fan­base.

CHOOSE LIFE. CHOOSE LEITH.

Tim Bell (Luath Press, 14.99) On his walks in Leith, Tim Bell guides visi­tors around the lo­ca­tions men­tioned in Trainspot­ting, ex­plain­ing the lo­cal his­tory and how it shaped Irvine Welsh’s er­adefin­ing novel. This hugely in­for­ma­tive book is like a vastly ex­panded ver­sion of one of those tours. Kick­ing off with the sym­bol­ism of Leith Cen­tral Sta­tion to the novel and to the town, Bell ex­plores the bumpy his­tory of Leith and its re­la­tion­ship to Ed­in­burgh, with par­tic­u­lar em­pha­sis on the post-War de­cline that led to the 1980s heroin epi­demic. Bell’s book is a hard-hit­ting so­cial his­tory brim­ming with lo­cal knowl­edge.

SHE HAS HER MOTHER’S LAUGH

Carl Zim­mer (Pi­cador, £16.99) JBS Hal­dane fa­mously said that the Uni­verse is “not only queerer than we sup­pose but queerer than we can sup­pose”. One gets a sim­i­lar feel­ing leaf­ing through this book, in which Carl Zim­mer ar­gues that we need to adopt a much more so­phis­ti­cated un­der­stand­ing of ge­net­ics than the sim­plis­tic Men­delian laws we learned at school – not least be­cause poorly un­der­stood ac­counts of hered­ity have, as he re­counts here, led to the spread of eu­gen­ics and “sci­en­tific racism”. This hefty book ex­plains how moth­ers can in­herit traits from their chil­dren as well as the other way around.

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