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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Rachel
  • YAKIMA, WA, United States
  • 07-30-14

Not the best Pratchett, but gets there in the end

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).

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Jonathan
  • Ner York, NY, United States
  • 05-26-15

Great narrative and interesting facts

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

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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So good.

Excellent book of science (Roundworld science) for fans of Discworld. Looking forward to starting book 2.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great

Both educational and entertaining. All in all a good book. A must for all us discworld geeks out there.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Cute story, but dreary science

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

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.

Was The Science of Discworld worth the listening time?

Only about 20% was worth listening to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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There is a Discworld Novel Here!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. If you like the Discworld Wizards books, this is a must-read.

Have you listened to any of Michael Fenton Stevens and Stephen Briggs ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I like Stephen Briggs's narrations very much. This is my first listen to Michael Fenton Stevens, and I do like his delivery. Lovely voice as well.

Any additional comments?

When I read my hard copy of this book, I read the alternate chapters because the novel and the science chapters alternate. If you want to read the novel without taking time for the science in the middle of the story, start with Chapter One and continue with the odd-numbered ones. The audiobook is divided by chapter, which makes it very easy to skip one and proceed to the next part of the story.<br/><br/>For those of you who like to read the story arcs in order, this one comes after The Last Continent.<br/><br/>I am so glad they have released this, and I hope very much to see the next three science books sometime soon.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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PopSci-history through the Discworld lens

Everything anyone needs to know about anything neatly synopsized in a low-carb, modern-paleo, gluten-free audiobook.

Features not one BUT TWO English-accented narrators meaning TWICE the IQ point bonus goes to the listener.

It's basically A/B format where the story (obviously following the Unseen Academy's storyline) is A and correlated popSci-essays are B.

That means it reads like older–more footnote-infused–Terry Pratchett, than most of his contemporary work. This may not be everyone's bag, but I feel like I'm getting the best of reading Gladwell and Pratchett at the same time.

Kudos to the sciency-writing-guys Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen (of whom, I've hitherto read nothing) for their parts. I look forward to reading more of them as well.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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first time i've ever been disappointed by Terry

Any additional comments?

This book is broken into two parts, one is Michael Stevens narrating, and the other is Steven Briggs. The parts read by Michael Stevens are nothing like Terry Pratchett and I instantly found myself wanting them to be over with so that the obviously Terry Pratchett part could continue. The parts read by Michael have nothing to do with Disc World, they are just science. The other part follows the wizards at Unseen University. The worst part of all is that the Disc World part read by Steven Briggs is only about 1/5 of the book. It is possible that if I had gone in knowing this then I would have enjoyed it, because the science part is interesting and written in a way that is easy to understand, but I was so caught off guard by how little of the book took place in Disc World that I never got over the disappointment.

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Science with DiscWorld topping

75% science cake 25% DiscWorld icing. The science is interesting and well written. Some of it is speculation but those sections are clearly labeled. I will buy others in this series.

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Science is great

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.
Great
Great
Great fun