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The Science of Discworld II: The Globe by…

The Science of Discworld II: The Globe (2002)

by Terry Pratchett, Jack Cohen (Author), Ian Stewart (Author)

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Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
My reaction to the second Science of Discworld book is similar to my reaction to the first. As before, the book alternates between short, fictional chapters that tell a Discworld story and longer chapters that discuss real-world (mostly) science.

I enjoyed the fictional chapters. The story was pretty entertaining, but it made up the smaller portion of the book. The science parts, as with the first book, focus heavily on theory and origin topics whereas I would have preferred a heavier emphasis on more practical topics. No doubt other people prefer it exactly the way it is. There were definitely parts that interested me, and parts that made me chuckle, but there were also a lot of parts that induced yawns.

I also found it rather repetitive. At least a couple things were repeated from the first book, and there were some themes that the authors went on about over and over. Religion seems to be a particularly favorite topic. Even though I agree with most of their points about religion, they really overdid it, especially when considering it was also discussed quite a bit in the first book. To totally misuse a metaphor, I wanted them to stop preaching to the choir and spend more time on actual science. And, for people who don’t belong to this particular choir, I can imagine they would be even more annoyed. Trust me, repeating something over and over isn’t influential; it’s just irritating.

Skimming through some reviews over on Goodreads, I don’t see many people who had a similar reaction, so maybe it just boils down to me being the wrong audience for this set of books. In any case, I plan to skip the last two science books. ( )
2 vote YouKneeK | Mar 24, 2017 |
This book alternates between a storyline on Roundworld, with Discworld characters, and chapters discussing quantum physics, evolution, psychology, religion, time, multiverses, culture, and philosophy. Since I haven't read any of the other books about Discworld, this was probably not the smartest place start. Nor did I think the storyline was developed enough. I would just get into it when we would switch back to the science behind the world. Of course, I love science so that was the best part of the book for me. Okay, and the footnotes--they were hilarious! Cohen and Stewart wrote the science sections, while Sir Terry Pratchett carried out the storyline. I will have to give Discworld one more chance and find one of the first books... ( )
  Berly | Mar 11, 2017 |
The wizards are at it again. Will Roundworld ever be free of Discworldian influence? Probably not. This book has the same pop science alternating with story as the first Science of Discworld book. And it was still enjoyable. Sometimes I thought the real science parts kinda dragged on because some of the facts were, not outdated, but no longer mind blowing since they have been a part of the science-minded crowd's knowledge base for so long. Also, I may have found Rincewind annoying in The Colour of Magic, but he's growing on me. He was a pretty good character in this story, and seemed actually competent compared to some of his fellow wizards.
( )
  jlharmon | Nov 3, 2016 |
I just reread this (because the fourth science of Discworld book should be released in the U.S. next month). While I found this second book a bit more of a slog than the first, it is an insightful commentary on how fiction can help create an environment where science can take hold. ( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
What a sad thing to review this book right after Sir Terry has passed away; sadder still that I have to say that I didn’t really like the book. It was okay; I read the whole thing without finding it a chore, but it wasn’t what I expected. I thought it might be a humorous book on how *Discworld* works, rather than our own.

There are four books in the Science of Discworld series; this is the only one I’ve read. The books are written in an alternating chapter format: Sir Terry writes the short, fiction, chapters and Stewart and Cohen write the longer, nonfiction, ones. The fiction portion tells a tale of the wizards of Discworld and a misadventure while doing a team building exercise in the forest. They find themselves interacting with Roundworld, a globular world where magic doesn’t exist, but elves do. Thinking this situation is unfair to the humans, they first eliminate the elves from Roundworld. Then they discover that this was a horrible mistake, as humans need to believe in magic in order to thrive and progress- even though the magic is imaginary. They have to go through great effort to correct their meddling.

The science part of the book covers a lot of different subjects; quantum physics, evolution, psychology, religion, time, multiverses, culture, and philosophy. It’s all in terms that most will find accessible, but there is some repetition.

It’s an attempt to get lovers of fantasy to read science-y stuff and sneak some education down our throats, sort of like a grown up version of Mickey Mouse teaching kids about math or something. It works, but not terribly well. The wizard story is just barely held together; the wizards do something, and then they stop and what just happened is explained to us. By the end of the book, I remembered a lot of the science but little of the story. While Cohen and Stewart wrote the science sections, I swear I see Sir Terry’s hand in that; the footnotes are some of the funniest stuff in the book.

Final verdict? Certainly not my favorite Pratchett, but if I see the other three in the series I’ll probably read them. Just not that eagerly. ( )
  lauriebrown54 | Mar 15, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pratchett, TerryAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cohen, JackAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Stewart, IanAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Brandhorst, AndreasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Briggs, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidby, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simon, ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevens, Michael FentonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In the airy, crowded silence of the forest, magic was hunting magic on silent feet.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0091888050, Paperback)

The acclaimed Science of Discworld centred around an original Pratchett story about the Wizards of Discworld. In it they accidentally witnessed the creation and evolution of our universe, a plot which was interleaved with a Cohen & Stewart non-fiction narrative about Big Science. In The Science of Discworld II our authors join forces again to see just what happens when the wizards meddle with history in a battle against the elves for the future of humanity on Earth. London is replaced by a dozy Neanderthal village. The Renaissance is given a push. The role of fat women in art is developed. And one very famous playwright gets born and writes The Play. Weaving together a fast-paced Discworld novelette with cutting-edge scientific commentary on the evolution and development of the human mind, culture, language, art, and science, this is a book in which 'the hard science is as gripping as the fiction'. (The Times)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:22 -0400)

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"In The Science of Discworld, the wizards of Unseen University unwittingly created Earth (aka Roundworld) and our universe. At the time, they were so concerned with the rules of this new universe that they overlooked its inhabitants completely. Now, they have finally noticed humanity. And humanity has company: Elves, who want very much to take over human society. In this second installment in the Science of Discworld miniseries, Terry Pratchett and acclaimed science writers Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart weave the history of the human mind, culture, language, art and science into a story in which the wizards compete with the elves for control of Roundworld and grapple with the nature of Good and Evil. All the while, the authors explore history as it is rewritten over and over, presenting a fascinating and brilliantly original view of the world we live in"--… (more)

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