Paul Levinson

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Paul Levinson (born 1947) is an American author and professor of communications and media studies at Fordham University in New York City. Levinson’s novels, short fiction, and non-fiction works have been translated into twelve languages.

Levinson has been interviewed more than 500 times on local, national and international television and radio as a commentator on media, popular culture, and science fiction.[1] He is frequently quoted in newspapers and magazines around the world and his op-eds have appeared in such major papers as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,[2][3] New York’s Newsday,[4] and The New York Sun.[5] He was interviewed in a short weekly spot early Sunday mornings on KNX-AM Radio in Los Angeles, from 2006 to 2008 on media-related news events and popular culture. He hosts four podcasts and maintains several blogs. In April 2009, The Chronicle of Higher Education named him one of Twitter’s top ten “High Fliers”.[6]

In 1985 he co-founded Connected Education, offering online courses for Masters credit.[7] He served as President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America from 1998 to 2001.[8] He has been a Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University since 1998; he was Chair of the department from 2002 to 2008. He previously taught at The New School, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Hofstra University, St. John’s University, Polytechnic University of New York, Audrey Cohen College and the Western Behavioral Sciences Institute (WBSI). He has given lectures in classes and conferences at many universities including the London School of Economics, Harvard University, New York University, and the University of Toronto and authored over 100 scholarly articles.[9]

Prior to his academic career, Levinson was a songwriter, singer and record producer in the late 1960s and early 1970s, with recordings by the Vogues, Donna Marie of the Archies and Ellie Greenwich. As a radio producer he worked with Murray the K and Wolfman Jack.[10] Levinson’s work is influenced by Isaac Asimov, Thomas Jefferson, John Stuart Mill, Marshall McLuhan, Harold Innis, Karl Popper, Carl Sagan, and Donald T. Campbell.[11]


Paul Levinson graduated from Christopher Columbus High School in the Bronx, attended the City College of New York (CCNY) in the 1960s, and received a BA in journalism from New York University in 1975; an MA in Media Studies from The New School in 1976; and a PhD from New York University in media ecology in 1979. His doctoral dissertation, Human Replay: A Theory of the Evolution of Media (1979), was mentored by Neil Postman.[12]


Levinson writes science fiction, fantasy, and sf/mystery hybrids with philosophical undertones as well as non-fiction about the history and future of communications media, the First Amendment, the importance of space exploration, and popular culture themes.[8] His work has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French, Italian, Portuguese, Czech, Polish, Romanian, Macedonian, Croatian, and Turkish.

An acclaimed writer, Levinson has received multiple nominations for the Hugo, Nebula, Sturgeon, Prometheus, Edgar and Audie Awards. His novella Loose Ends was a 1998 finalist for a Hugo, a Sturgeon, and a Nebula. His novel The Silk Code won the Locus Award for Best First Novel of 1999.

The central character of The Silk Code, NYPD forensic detective Dr. Phil D’Amato, made his first appearance in Levinson’s novelette, “The Chronology Protection Case”, (published in Analog magazine, September 1995). D’Amato returned in “The Copyright Notice Case” novelette (Analog, April 1996), “The Mendelian Lamp Case” novelette (Analog, April 1997), and in subsequent novels The Consciousness Plague (2002), and The Pixel Eye (2003). An adaptation of Levinson’s “The Chronology Protection Case” (radioplay by Mark Shanahan with Paul Levinson & Jay Kensinger) was nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for the Edgar Award for Best Play of 2002.

Levinson’s next novel was The Plot To Save Socrates, a time travel story. Entertainment Weekly magazine called it “challenging fun”.[13] His most recent novel is Unburning Alexandria, a sequel to The Plot To Save Socrates. The first two chapters of Unburning Alexandria appeared as a novelette in the November 2008 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact,[14] and the expanded novel was published as an e-book in May 2013.[15]

Levinson submitted his short story Extra Credit to Altered States :: a cyberpunk/sci-fi anthology edited by Roy C. Booth and Jorge Salgado-Reyes. He also wrote the introduction for the anthology.

Media commentator

Paul Levinson is a frequent guest on local, national, and international cable and network television and public, commercial, and satellite radio programs.[10]

These have included:
Fox News: The O’Reilly Factor, Your World with Neil Cavuto, The Big Story with John Gibson, Fox Magazine; News special, The New Millennium: Science, Fiction, Fantasy
PBS: The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
CBS: CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, The Early Show
ABC: Nightline, World News Now
MSNBC: Jesse Ventura’s America, Scarborough Country
CNN: American Morning, Daybreak, Sunday Live
CNBC: Bullseye, Squawk Box, On the Money
The History Channel: Modern Marvels, “Fantastic Voyage: The Evolution of Science Fiction”
Discovery Channel: The Inside Story of…, “The Cell Phone Revolution”
BBC: NewsNight (TV); Thinking Allowed (radio)
CBC: Canada Now (TV); Newsworld International (TV); Special, McLuhan: Out of Orbit (TV); Cross Country Checkup (radio); CBC This Morning (radio)
NPR: All Things Considered; Talk of the Nation; Morning Edition; The Diane Rehm Show; On the Media; The Connection; On Point; Public Interest with Kojo Nnamdi; Tech Nation with Moira Gunn; New York & Company; Chicago Public Radio’s Sound Opinions and Odyssey; Wisconsin Public Radio; Minnesota Public Radio
satellite radio: Sirius
other radio and TV: Los Angeles CBS radio KNX-AM; New York CBS radio WCBS-AM and WFAN; Bloomberg radio; AP radio; Detroit’s WJR-AM Mitch Albom Show; CNN radio; Voice of America (radio & TV); C-SPAN; Reuters TV; Wall Street Journal Radio Network; WABC-TV; Today in New York, WNBC-TV; WCBS-TV; Good Day New York, Fox 5; WB-11; UPN-9; CUNY-TV; Inside Edition
Paul Levinson has been quoted thousands of times in newspapers, magazines, and news services around the world. Some of these are: USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, U.S. News and World Report, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Houston Chronicle, Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Wired, Smithsonian Magazine, London Daily Mail, the Toronto Globe and Mail, the Associated Press, Reuters, and UPI.[16]

Songwriter, recording artist, and record producer

  • Writer of over 100 songs published in 1960s and 70s by major music publishers including Bourne, Chappell, Belwin Mills/Warner Brothers, Bobby Darin’s TM Music, and Sunbury/RCA.
  • Recordings of his songs were produced by Ellie Greenwich, Jimmy “the Wiz” Wisner, and Paul Leka for other artists
  • Songs he wrote, performed and/or produced were released on record labels including Columbia, Decca, Philips, Atlantic, Buddah and London Records.
  • Twice Upon a Rhyme, 1972 LP released on HappySad Records, as principal artist, writer, and producer; re-issued on CD by Beatball Records (2009), and on re-pressed vinyl by Sound of Salvation Records (2010)
  • Levinson’s song “Hung Up On Love” (co-writer Mikie Harris, produced by Ellie Greenwich and Mike Rashkow) was recorded by Levinson’s trio The Other Voices and released on Atlantic Records in 1968; this recording was included in Rhino Handmade’s 2004 compilation CD Come to the Sunshine: Soft Pop Nuggets from the WEA Vaults, compiled by Andrew Sandoval. Levinson sang falsetto harmony on many of The Other Voices’ recordings.



  • The Silk Code (1999) Tor Books ISBN 0-312-86823-5
  • Borrowed Tides (2001) Tor Books ISBN 0-312-84869-2
  • The Consciousness Plague (2002) Tor Books ISBN 0-7653-0098-2
  • The Pixel Eye (2003) Tor Books ISBN 0-7653-0556-9
  • The Plot To Save Socrates (2006) Tor Books ISBN 0-7653-0570-4
  • Unburning Alexandria (2013) JoSara Media ISBN 978-15617-80129

Short Stories and Anthologies

  • Altered States (2014) Indie Authors Press ISBN 978-0-9571130-5-3

Non-fiction books

  • In Pursuit of Truth: Essays on the Philosophy of Karl Popper on the Occasion of his 80th Birthday (editor and contributor) with Forewords by Isaac Asimov and Helmut Schmidt (1982) Humanities Press ISBN 0-391-02609-7
  • Mind at Large: Knowing in the Technological Age (1988) JAI Press ISBN 0-89232-816-9
  • Electronic Chronicles: Columns of the Changes in our Time (1992) Anamnesis Press ISBN 0-9631203-3-6
  • Learning Cyberspace: Essays on the Evolution of Media and the New Education (1995) Anamnesis Press ISBN 0-9631203-9-5
  • The Soft Edge: A Natural History and Future of the Information Revolution (1997) Routledge ISBN 0-415-15785-4
  • Bestseller: Wired, Analog, and Digital Writings (1999) Pulpless ISBN 1-58445-033-9 [includes fiction and non-fiction]
  • Digital McLuhan: A Guide to the Information Millennium (1999) Routledge ISBN 0-415-19251-X
  • Realspace: The Fate of Physical Presence in the Digital Age, On and Off Planet (2003) Routledge ISBN 0-415-27743-4
  • Cellphone: The Story of the World’s Most Mobile Medium (2004) Palgrave Macmillan ISBN 1-4039-6041-0
  • New New Media (2009/2012) Penguin/Pearson ISBN 0-205-67330-9; second, revised edition (2012) ISBN 0-205-86557-7


  • 2005 Neil Postman Award for Outstanding Public Intellectual winner – given by the Media Ecology Association
  • 2005 “Audie” Award finalist – The Consciousness Plague audiobook
  • 2004 Teacher of the Year winner – given by Fordham University’s Graduate Student Association
  • 2004 Prometheus Award finalist – The Pixel Eye
  • 2003 Mary Shelley Award for Outstanding Fictional Work winner – The Consciousness Plague
  • 2002 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Play nominee – “The Chronology Protection Case”
  • 2000 Locus Award for Best First Novel winner – The Silk Code
  • 2000 Barnes & Noble Maiden Voyages Award for Best First Novel runner-up – The Silk Code
  • 2000 Lewis Mumford Award for Outstanding Scholarship winner – Digital McLuhan
  • 1999 Homer Award finalist, novelette -“Little Differences”
  • 1999 Homer Award finalist, novelette -“The Orchard”
  • 1999 Sturgeon Award finalist, short story -“Advantage, Bellarmine”
  • 1999 Homer Award finalist, short story -“Advantage, Bellarmine”
  • 1998 Hugo Award finalist, novella -“Loose Ends”
  • 1998 Sturgeon Award finalist, novella – “Loose Ends”
  • 1998 AnLab Award first runner-up, novella -“Loose Ends”
  • 1998 Homer Award finalist, short story -“A Medal for Harry”
  • 1997 Nebula Award finalist, novella -“Loose Ends”
  • 1997 Nebula Award finalist, novelette -“The Copyright Notice Case”
  • 1996 Homer Award winner, novelette – “The Copyright Notice Case”
  • 1996 Nebula Award finalist, novelette – “The Chronology Protection Case”
  • 1996 Sturgeon Award finalist, novelette -“The Chronology Protection Case”


  1. Goldman, Norm (December 2007). “A conversation with well-known author Paul Levinson”. Book Pleasures: Meet the Author. Knowledge Base. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
  2. Levinson, Paul (February 15, 2003). “Op-Ed: The FCC and Halftime”. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. pp. Q2.
  3. Levinson, Paul (October 12, 2003). “Op-Ed: Schwarzenegger and the fame game”. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. pp. C1.
  4. Levinson, Paul (April 13, 2009). “Is Spitzer fit to be a pundit?”. Newsday. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
  5. Levinson, Paul (September 27, 2006). “An important cable vote”. The New York Sun. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
  6. Young, Jeffrey R. (April 10, 2009). “Ten High Fliers on Twitter”. The Chronicle of Higher Education (Vol.55, Issue 31). pp. A10. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
  7. Withrow, Frank (June 1, 1997). “Technology in Education and the Next Twenty-Five Years — THE Journal”. T.H.E. Journal. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  8. Gale Reference Team (2005/2007). “Biography: Levinson, Paul (1947-)”. Contemporary Authors Online. Thomson Gale.
  9. Managing the Frenzy: Translating Communication Skills to New Media”. Communicators Forum. University of Minnesota. May 2000. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
  10. Mevio: Personality-driven entertainment”. Related information: Levinson News Clips. Mevio. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
  11. The Soft Edge (1997), pp, xvi-xvii
  12. Levinson, Paul (February 1979). Human Replay: A Theory of the Evolution of Media. #79 18,852 40/3. University Microfilms, Int.
  13. Russo, Tom (February 24, 2006). “Book review: The Plot to Save Socrates”. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
  14. Tomaino, Sam (September 27, 2008). “Review of Analog Science Fiction and Fact – November 2008 – Vol. CXXVIII No.11”. SFRevu. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  15. “Unburning Alexandria – Paul Levinson – ISBN 9781561780129”. Bookwire. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  16. “About Paul Levinson”. Cybling. Retrieved 2009-04-19.

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