The Science of Discworld Hardcover – Aug 3 1999
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"A carefully crafted effort that combines Pratchett's surreal and entertaining fiction with some exceptionally thought-provoking science writing." - Frontiers --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Publisher
Scientific realities explored through the perspective of Pratchetts completely new Discworld story: a bestseller now in paperback for the first time --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The strength of the science book part (reviews on the story can be found aplenty on this page) is that it is for one thing very clearly structured, starting with the "birth" of the universe as we now perceive it and ending with a (maybe) over-the-top look into the future. But apart from this comprehensive structure, the science writing is also very clever. Many science books just state what is known, so only the dry facts. The authors of this book also give a framework, for example some history of how knowledge is obtained, a process that is mostly unknown to those who have not followed an academic science education.
But that's not all. Many times the authors start out by stating something that is known to everybody, giving the explanations we all learn in high school. And then they go about by showing us how exactly these high school explanation (or "lies-to-children" as they call them) are wrong, or at least a small part of the truth, giving a much more complicated image of how things work and even leaving things unexplained (because that's how it is in science, not all things can be explained satisfactorily). And that is, in my opinion, the strength of the book, a glimpse is given on how science is practised, how knowledge is gained and how things are always more complicated than you think they are.Read more ›
This book is amazingly comprehensive about modern science, both what science -is- and how it got be that way. Topics run a happy gamut from space elevators (as in Arthur Clarke's "Fountains Of Paradise") to DNA (another "space elevator") to gravity (Newtonian, and Einsteinian) to mutation, the origins of Life, evolution, and the Turtle that carries the Universe on its back. (Oops! wrong Universe.)
An interesting concept that helps to form the basis of this book is "Lies to Children"; these are those "facts" we are presented with from early on in our awareness, by people that aren't happy with the truth. "Where do babies come from?" is a question that often results in a "lie to children"; adults, often assuming that their children aren't sufficiently mature enough to understand the concept of conception, tend to offer a somewhat abridged version of the truth that does little to enlighten anyone.
"The Science of Discworld" presents an array of "lies to children" and the facts as we know them, now. It allows for the inevitable future discoveries, while presenting what we (in the scientific sense) believe we know about "Life, the Universe, and Everything" in an easily digestable fashion.
All this information could be bewildering; this presentation isn't. This is good, readable, non-fiction with solid facts, interesting (and logical) conclusions, and with all the strange twists and turns of a good "who-done-it," with a fair smidgen of sci-fi-fantasy thrown in.Read more ›
A brief, yet in-depth (I don't know how that can work, but it does) explanation on how it is currently believed out world works is nothing short of miraculous, especially due to the clarity in which it is explained. Interlaced with a story about the wizards' experiments with their new toy planet, this book is completely riveting and highly informative.
The second book is a witty, well informed scientific commentary on many things, but especially on the history of life on earth. (I only noticed one mis-step in the real science, a statement about the stability of a an oxygen isotope. They probably slid that error in to make nitpickers like me feel smug.)
The problem is, this is just one book. Chapters alternate in odd-even pairs, Discworld fantasy and Ourworld fact. I probably should have read the book twice, all the odd chapters then all the even ones. As it was, I found my attention whipsawed between the two. The total was distractingly less than the sum of the parts.
It's clever, amusing and informative. The back-and-forth style just didn't work for me, though.
Most recent customer reviews
Not a standard Terry Pratchett, I'm a huge fan. Fantastic mixing of science and fantasy. I bought as I started reading I think Science o 3 or 4 and decided that I needed to go... Read morePublished on Oct. 30 2013 by John Reidy
All I can say is that I wish we had had books like this when I was still in school. It makes learning about the universe fun in a way I have never before encountered. Read morePublished on March 29 2013 by Alien Bard
If you're a fan of Pratchett and you enjoy educational reading, you'll love this book. Pratchett's tone is conversational and entertaining. Read morePublished on Feb. 23 2004 by Megha
What can I say? If you love Prachett, the wizards and have an open mind this one's for you! The science part of this book is written with humour and wit so it never sounds like... Read morePublished on Sept. 2 2002 by K. Staton
Science of Discworld is one of the lesser-known, but nonethless highly entertaining of Terry Pratchett's books. Read morePublished on March 9 2002 by grahamer