Not just another science audiobook and not just another Discworld novella, The Science of Discworld is a creative, mind-bending mash-up of fiction and fact, that offers a wizard’s-eye view of our world that will forever change how you look at the universe.
Can Unseen University’s eccentric wizards and orangutan Librarian possibly shed any useful light on hard, rational Earthly science?
In the course of an exciting experiment, the wizards of Discworld have accidentally created a new universe. Within this universe is a planet that they name Roundworld. Roundworld is, of course, Earth, and the universe is our own. As the wizards watch their creation grow, Terry Pratchett and acclaimed science writers Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen use Discworld to examine science from the outside. Interwoven with the Pratchett’s original story are entertaining, enlightening chapters which explain key scientific principles such as the Big Bang theory and the evolution of life on Earth, as well as great moments in the history of science.
©2014 Terry Pratchett (P)2014 Random House Audio
"For Pratchett and Discworld devotees the volume is, of course, compulsory reading, but even science buffs who would normally eschew anything resembling fantasy will find much here to pique their interests.... The book adds another whimsical episode to Discworld lore and contrasts the magical 'rules' of Pratchett’s realm with the human world’s more logic-oriented science." (Booklist)
"The hard science is as gripping as the fiction." (The Times of London)
"An irreverent but genuinely profound romp through the history and philosophy of science, cunningly disguised as a collection of funny stories about wizards and mobile luggage." (Frontiers)
I am a clay sculptor and an art instructor at a community college. I mostly listen to audiobooks while I work in my home studio.
As other reviewers have said, this is really two books, a non-fiction brief history of time/evolution kind of thing with sarcastic jokes thrown in every so often and a mini disc world novella featuring the wizards of Unseen University.
It took me a while to get into this book, for two reasons which may relate more to me than to other potential readers: First, while I enjoy learning (and re-learning) about evolution and science fiction and extinctions, I really dislike learning or thinking about deep space and vast time. It gives me the heebie jeebies and makes my tummy hurt. If it doesn't do that to you, potential reader, you'll enjoy the first part of the non-fiction-y part of this book better than I did.
Second, I don't particularly like the Unseen University professors. I'd always rather read about the witches, the watch or, Vetinari. Especially Rincewind bugs me. Though he wasn't so bad in this one.
That being said, I pretty much enjoyed the second half of this book and got used to the interweaving of the two books. I was looking for the sequel but it looks like Audible doesn't have it. Shame--it sounded like there would be less deep time/space stuff.
One last suggestion: if there are any regular disc world books (besides color of magic) you haven't yet read, do those first. If you are through the whole set and need a Pratchett fix, read the Tiffany Aching books first. Still need more funny Pratchett? This one is it, I guess. (of course the less funny Long Earth books and his earlier stuff and YA is still out there for your enjoyment too).
This is a great book for anyone who is interested in an insightful overview of science and has enjoyed a couple of the discworld books
I wouldn't recommend this book. While the Discworld short story is charming, and the idea of an associated narrative about the real world science sounded fun. in actuality the scientific narrative is laborious, and its attempts to relate it to the Discworld universe are heavy handed and somewhat painful. I love books about science, but this is not a great example of the genre. That said, the Pratchett story, which is only a small portion of the overall length of the book, is adorable, and beautifully preformed. I would suggest the hardcore Pratchett fan who just has to have everything that Pratchett writes (which I am) listed to it, but skip every other chapter.
Only about 20% was worth listening to.
This is a great book
It goes back to a virtual planet earth and looks at what it was like from the beginning to present time.
From the beginning of life through the Cambrian explosion, life the was a mix of things that lived and died out. The life that might not have left a fossil due to no hard body parts that could fossilize
To what things caused mass extinctions and on through to present man.
All with the help of nuclear reaction in the squash court.
This is a book I read in high school and remembered being actually very influential in my view on life. I still recognize those most important passages to me.
That said, as an adult who follows this sort of thing there was not much for me in the science parts. I highly recommend for a younger audience or as a fun introduction to topics of probability, evolution, and some physics though.
Wonderfully narrated as well. Well made as an audiobook.
It was a good book put together in an unexpected way. I would rank it a nice solid B+ of a book.
I always love Rincewind the Wizard because he is so funny in a fatalistic kind of way.
they brought in hard science explained in a way that was easy to understand and entertaining.
No moving parts in this book. Just plenty of laughs!
It was so unexpected to find this mixture of science and the Disc World. It was funny and informative moving back-and-forth between the narrator explaining the science of things going on in disc world and the Unseen University with Ridcully and the other wizards being pompous and totally ridiculous moving about in a constructed time and world of the past. Rincewind and "The Luggage" were funny and entertaining as always with Rincewind being gloomy and fatalistic in the most entertaining and funny way. Not your traditional Disc World book but highly entertaining and informative at the same time. Well worth reading.
Thus book is about 90% non-fiction, popular science writing about our world, not Disc World. It does approach this in a creative way, however, by framing the science with a Disc World experiment.
by presenting the current scientific thoughts through the eyes of the wizards, we get to exploit what is "obvious" and what we really know. The gap between the two can be striking. It's Very educational. It's enlightening. and it's fun. Worth the read.
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