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To Seek Out New Life: The Biology of Star Trek Hardcover – Mar 31 1998

3.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 273 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (March 31 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609603299
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609603291
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 15.2 x 22.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,321,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Library Journal

Harvard neurologist Andreadis validates here what some might describe as misspent youth: an analysis of the life science of the various Star TrekR television series and films. For Trekkers, this book is nirvana. For the rest of us, it is surprisingly interesting, opinionated, and funny. From disquisitions on artificial limbs to a timely discussion on cloning, readers will learn a lot more biology than they may suspect is possible. Not a scholarly tome, this screams out "Birthday Gift!" for dedicated sf fans. For popular science collections. [HarperCollins is issuing Robert Jenkins's Life Signs: The Biology of Star Trek, in June.AEd.]AMark L. Shelton, Univ. of Massachusetts Medical Ctr., Worceste.
-AMark L. Shelton, Univ. of Massachusetts Medical Ctr., Worcester
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

A Harvard biologist explains the real science behind the popular sci-fi TV show. With its huge cast of alien life-forms (some with powers and senses no human can match), Star Trek would appear to flout the most basic characteristics of life as we know it. But, as Andreadis points out, no matter how exotic the cast, certain Earth-based assumptions remain valid. Silicon may be able to substitute for carbon on some distant planet, but organisms based on it will be subject to gravity and electromagnetism, as well as having some form of genetic code to permit continuity of form and function as the beings reproduce. Sensory organs will still be necessary to receive information from the environment. In addition, the Trek universe is populated by a variety of machine intelligences ranging from the android Lt. Commander Data to sentient computer viruses. Andreadis uses these various fictional examples (and others drawn from such films as Bladerunner and print science fiction) to explain the current state of biological knowledge. This takes her into subjects ranging from the nature of immortality or telepathy to the problems of universal translating machinesall of which throw considerable light on the dark corners of biology. She notes the general sameness and blandness of the various cultures encountered by the Enterprise and its crewgenerally humanoid, with far less social variation than a five-year voyage on Earth would be likely to uncoverbut recognizes that by Hollywood standards, this is adventurous stuff. And while she pokes fun at other Hollywood conventions, such as the ``Snugglability Quotient''alien Good Guys tend to be cute and fuzzy while Bad Guys look like refugees from the Black Lagoonher affection for the material is always clear. And she deftly maintains the effective blend of entertainment and instruction that characterized The Physics of Star Trek (not reviewed). An entertaining book that deserves an audience well beyond sci-fi fandom. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I read this because of a biology project I was doing for school--a fun project. My professor recommended this book, and I think he's the best because this book really dealt with all that I was looking for.
Now, don't get scared by the title--you really don't need to have watched every Star Trek episode and series spin-off in order to have an understanding of what the author is talking about. However, being an avid trekker myself, I enjoyed her side-comments and Trek references immensely, because it just showed all the much more how much she enjoyed the subject amtter herself.
This book investigates the Star Trek universe. I've heard that THE PHYSICS OF STAR TREK started this "debunk the Trek" era, but I haven't yet read it, so I couldn't say. Anyway, Dr. Andreadis does a nice job of explaining the Trek reality, then explaining our scientific reality. She uses small words, and explains the big ones. Learn about interspecies reproduction, evolution--you name it, she's covered it.
This book was done not long ago, so it covers the happenings up until Voyager and Star Trek: First Contact. Not too bad, considering Enterprise should be covering all "old" organisms, anyway.
This was really a nice read, and I would have picked it up even had I not had to do a seminar on the biological aspects of Star Trek.
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Format: Paperback
This is a lively and opinionated entry in the "fill-in-the-blank of Star Trek" series and therefore one of the best, certainly up there with Physics and parsecs beyond Computers.
Andreadis brings a strong scientific and biological background as well as an encyclopedic knowledge of the franchise in all its manifestations to bear throughout. She celebrates the more reasonable ideas shown, like silicon-based life forms. But she also deconstructs the silly, unscientific ones and showing just why they're silly and unscientific. (This includes such franchise mainstays as the holodeck, the universal translator, shape-shifters, and interspecies fertility.)
Those wanting a more objective approach and annoyed by the occasional interjection of feminist and leftist commentary might find this book annoying. However, I enjoyed the fresh approach, the clever references, and the very individual and personal viewpoint. It's well worth reading both for Trekkies and for those wanting a different approach to biology.
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Format: Paperback
All right, we all acknowledge that, "realistic" or not, most of us have been influenced by the "Star Trek" phenomenon. In this volume, an Ivy League neurology professor with a doctorate in molecular biology (WHAT biology?) admits it too. Other, physicists, psychologists, you name it, admit the same. But this is from a biological perspective.
I first heard of this book from a part of it which was published in "Astronomy" magazine. In that part, the author pointed out that the "extraterrestrial" environments in Star Trek always seem to be, what a surprise, like Southern California. The article led me to the book.
For those of us who learned some "science" in our teens particularly from TOS (The Original Series), it is helpful to distinguish between the pure fantasy of Star Trek and what reality would present. Sure, everyone questions the "warp speed" concept," from Albert Einstein and Arthur C. Clarke (the latter in the intro to his book "Songs of Distant Earth"); and Carl Sagan described that a human mating with a Vulcan ala Mr. Spock would be less biologically likely than, say, a human mating with a kumquat. Dr. Andreadis describes WHY that mating is not likely to be successful. Then there's the issues of ESP/empathy, holographic doctors, and on and on. Indeed, many of the facts Dr. Andreadis cites are pretty much common sense but things we don't think about much. Such details are important to know, yet, with a person like the author describing them, they do not require us to have an in-depth knowledge of biochemistry.
The author used the text also to make some political and social comments with most or all of which I sympathize. But that's part of science too--integrity, fact vs.
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By A Customer on Dec 1 1999
Format: Hardcover
The book is mean spirited and wrong headed. There were some glaring errors in this book that could have been avoided if it was proofread by a trekker or two.For instance the author continually describes Betazoids as merely empathic and not telepathic, when everyone knows they are indeed telepathic. Deanna Troi is merely empathic because she is only half betazoid and is infact telepathic with other betazoids.Also she complains about how the holodoc should not be able to leave the sick bay but is seen all around the ship and on away missions. Does she even watch the show? They talk about the mobile emmitter all the time. I can't see whether it is a pheasable piece of tech or not--but don't just leave it out because it doesn't serve your complaining. It is filled with stuff like this.This book should probably offend people with autism, mental illness, developmental disabilites, anyone with spiritaul beliefs and homosexuals.The author is accused of being a feminist by other reviews (is this a bad thing?) but i would argue that she is nothing of the sort. She provides a very strong heterosexist view when she states that Trill symbiots could not possibly be attracted to humunoids because they can't reproduce with them. This is just ugly heterosexist propaganda.The beginning of this book is playful in its view of Star Trek science but it quickly degenerates into an attack.The author uses sloopy logic to try to prove that many Star Trek concepts are impossible. For instance her reasons for why most tech is imposible (transporters, dna scans) is that it would take too much time for it to work. This seems ridiculous, like someone from the 50's refuting the possibility of the internet based on the time it took their computers to compute.Read more ›
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