Buy this book at
To Past Reviews Index
Back to Last Page

The Science of Discworld

Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart & Jack Cohen

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Ebury Press

Published : 1999

Copyright : Terry & Lyn Pratchett, Joat Enterprises, Jack Cohen 1999

ISBN-10 : HB 0-09-186515-8
ISBN-13 : HB 978-0-09-186515-3

Publisher's Write-Up

In the fantasy universe of the phenomenally best-selling Discworld series, everything runs on magic and common sense. The world is flat and million-to-one chances happen nine times out of ten. Our world seems different - it runs on rules, often rather strange ones. Science is our way of finding out what those rules are. The appeal of Discworld is that it mostly makes sense, in a way that particle physics doesn't.

The Science of Discworld uses the magic of Discworld to illuminate the scientific rules that govern our world. When a wizardly experiment goes adrift, the wizards of Unseen University find themselves with a pocket universe on their hands: Roundworld, where neither magic nor common sense seems to stand a chance against logic.

Roundworld is, of course, our own universe. With us inside it (eventually). Guided (if that's the word) by the wizards, we follow its story from the primal singularity of the Big Bang to the Internet and beyond. We discover how puny and insignificant individual lives are against a cosmic backdrop of creation and disaster. Yet, paradoxically, we see how the richness of a universe based on rules has led to a complex world and at least one species that tried to get a grip on what was going on...

Ian Stewart, Jack Cohen and Terry Pratchett have combined talents to tell the story of the universe from outside, looking in. And from the outside it's as magical as any world on a turtle...

Column Ends


Reader Reviews

Why not Submit a Review your own Review for this book?

Review by Nigel (010602) Rating (9/10)

Review by Nigel
Rating 9/10
I bought this book automatically as I do with all of Terry Pratchett's works as he is one of my favourite authors and even his bad books are good. It brings Terry Pratchett's view of the Discworld and its science and compares it to Roundworld Science, written by Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen. I don't mind reading science books and have been through my fair share; however, I wasn't particularly looking forward to the science bit here as all I wanted was a bit of the usual mad escapism.

How wrong can you be?

The chapters alternate between Discworld and Roundworld (Earth. Ed.) and you start reading the Discworld bits, hoping to get through the science bits as quickly as possible just because they are there.

Strange things then start to happen. At half way you realise you are no longer waiting for the next Discworld bit but the next science bit! These two authors shower you with ideas that leap all over the place but really make you sit and think... I never thought of it like that! It is brilliantly done and a masterful stroke of writing.

Everyone should read this book... especially if you are a new age green environmentalist... some juicy dinner time discussion material here with the fat capitalist at the table me thinks.
Nigel (1st June 2002)

Back to Top of Page
Column Ends