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.
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.
I have always enjoyed creation myths. The thought of owing our existence to the experiment of a group of wizards who live on a flat world that is held up by four elephants, never mind the turtle, brings a smile to my face.
I would say this book is more a discussion of science philosophy than a discussion of the nitty gritty details of science; and it works wonderfully well. I say philosophy because it deals far more with how to approach a scientific view. The format with chapters alternating between the wizards of UU and the discussion of real world science do a marvelous job of gently poking at modes of thinking we may not even realize we're using. The Wizards take a very simple and egotistical view of what should be happening on round world, if you change the voices and the description of the clothes you can hear those ideas being thrown about here in the real world. Taking those thought patterns and dressing them up as the Wizards is a great way to examine them with some objectivity and humor.
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