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Wizards, Aliens, and Starships: Physics and…
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Wizards, Aliens, and Starships: Physics and Math in Fantasy and Science…

by Charles L. Adler

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The math was over my head, but the accompanying text was marvelous and lucid and more than made up for my deficiency. Highly recommended. ( )
  JNSelko | Apr 20, 2016 |
A physicist's semiquantitative study (actual equations are included) of many of the concepts appearing in speculative fiction. After wasting (in my opinion) the first 4 of his 21 chapters on "urban fantasy" (Harry Potter stuff, etc), he treats us to analyses of space elevators, off-Earth colonies, ultra-advanced propulsion schemes, exoplanets, extraterrestrial intelligence, the universe of the ultra-far future, and related matters. Not free of errors and clarity gaps, but a good and useful read.
  fpagan | Nov 21, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0691147159, Hardcover)

From teleportation and space elevators to alien contact and interstellar travel, science fiction and fantasy writers have come up with some brilliant and innovative ideas. Yet how plausible are these ideas--for instance, could Mr. Weasley's flying car in the Harry Potter books really exist? Which concepts might actually happen, and which ones wouldn't work at all? Wizards, Aliens, and Starships delves into the most extraordinary details in science fiction and fantasy--such as time warps, shape changing, rocket launches, and illumination by floating candle--and shows readers the physics and math behind the phenomena.

With simple mathematical models, and in most cases using no more than high school algebra, Charles Adler ranges across a plethora of remarkable imaginings, from the works of Ursula K. Le Guin to Star Trek and Avatar, to explore what might become reality. Adler explains why fantasy in the Harry Potter and Dresden Files novels cannot adhere strictly to scientific laws, and when magic might make scientific sense in the muggle world. He examines space travel and wonders why it isn't cheaper and more common today. Adler also discusses exoplanets and how the search for alien life has shifted from radio communications to space-based telescopes. He concludes by investigating the future survival of humanity and other intelligent races. Throughout, he cites an abundance of science fiction and fantasy authors, and includes concise descriptions of stories as well as an appendix on Newton's laws of motion.

Wizards, Aliens, and Starships will speak to anyone wanting to know about the correct--and incorrect--science of science fiction and fantasy.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:22 -0400)

"From teleportation and space elevators to alien contact and interstellar travel, science fiction and fantasy writers have come up with some brilliant and innovative ideas. Yet how plausible are these ideas--for instance, could Mr. Weasley's flying car in Harry Potter really exist? Which concepts might actually happen--and which ones wouldn't work at all? Wizards, Aliens, and Starships delves into the most extraordinary details in science fiction and fantasy--such as time warps, shape changing, rocket launches, and illumination by floating candle--and shows readers the physics and math behind the phenomena. With simple mathematical models, and in most cases using no more than high school algebra, Charles Adler ranges across a plethora of remarkable imaginings, from the works of Ursula K. Le Guin to Star Trek and Avatar, to explore what might become reality. Adler explains why fantasy in the Harry Potter and Dresden Files novels cannot adhere strictly to scientific laws, and when magic might make scientific sense in the muggle world. He examines space travel and wonders why it isn't cheaper and more common today. Adler also discusses exoplanets and how the search for alien life has shifted from radio communications to space-based telescopes. He concludes by investigating the future survival of humanity and other intelligent races.--… (more)

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