- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Ebury Press; First Edition edition (5 May 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0091898234
- ISBN-13: 978-0091898236
- Product Dimensions: 16.6 x 3 x 24.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 125,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Darwin's Watch: Science of Discworld III Hardcover – 5 May 2005
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"a cut above the competition well-expressed and up-to-date debates...a fun book which deserves to be taken very seriously indeed" -- New Scientist
The latest instalment in the Sunday Times-bestselling Science of Discworld series. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
What there is not is a lot of Pratchett, the ammount of linking text has dropped considerably from the previous narratives and almost looks like it was written round the science essays, which may come as a dissapointment for some fans.
There is also a very strong anti "bible belt" vein to the science writting which may affect the US sales. All said however this is an enjoyable format which will introduce yet more "hard" science to the reader.
If this is the first "Science of Discworld" you've encountered, some background is essential. Using a surplus of magic, Hex, the Discworld's version of Deep Thought, has created an new universe. Tucked away in that creation is a Roundworld - the one we live on. There is neither magic nor the binding force of the Discworld cosmos, "narrativium" here. Stories cannot be fathomed until they end. There is no logical sequence on which to build events. "Random" is the key word. The result is that Roundworld has evolved many lifeforms, nearly all of which have be killed off by massive ice sheets, poisonous gases or huge stones from space. Only one thing can save Roundworld's humanity from its own extinction event. Charles Darwin must sit down and write "The Origin of Species" to make humans understand how life here works. The knowledge will allow them to escape. This Science of Discworld volume was published in the USA, reflecting the need for just such knowledge to gain ground within that superpower. Relevance to the situation in the UK, however, remains high.
The Discworld's wizards have a portal to Roundworld.Read more ›
The trouble with this one is that the discworld section just feels over familiar and doesn't really grab. And the science chapters are variable. Some that tell the story of charles darwin and his work are engrossing. Others get into different areas that can be heavy going at times.
So not a bad book all in all, just not the strongest entry in the series
Dealing mostly with evolution (there is some physics), I wonder if this is partly a response of a science minded writer to the attempts of the religeous lobby to popularise pseudoscience like ID. Based on the premise that Charles Darwin never wrote "The Origin of Species" but instead wrote "Theology of Species", we are taken on a journey as to why Darwin wrote what he did and why the theory of evolution has stood the test of time.
As to criticisms that they book is openly hostile to religion, it is not. It feels more like the author has lost patience with those that try to force the facts to fit a preconceived world view rather than let the facts speak for themselves.
Pratchett's writing is excellent as usual but the meat of the book is in the science. Cohen and Stewert are both very good at explaining complicated ideas clearly and they touch on time-travel, infinity, evolution and more in the course of the book. There's also a fairly good historical section based around Darwin. The writing manages to strike a balance between staying accessible to those without much background in science while having enough depth to keep the more scientifically literate reader interested: don't be fooled by the fact it's sandwiched into a work of fiction, this is definitely not dumbed down!
There are a few minor flaws, however, which prevent me from giving this book the full five stars. The historical section contains some careless mistakes, the most glaring of which is the authors' incorrect identification of Charles Lyell as the first person to argue for the antiquity of the Earth. This error leads them to claim that his views on Deep Time influenced Erasmus Darwin's Zoonomia (p. 247), a book published three years before Lyell was even born! Also, while the writers' have a gift for describing complicated ideas, some of the sections (especially those on physics) would have benefited enormously from a few diagrams. Finally, the lack of a bibliography or suggestions for further reading makes it difficult to follow up on some of the fascinating topics covered.
Please don't get the wrong ideas from these criticisms though: this book is great and would heartily recommend it any Discworld fan with the slightest interest in science.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lots of fun AND educational. Learn lots about the Universe while you get Terry Pratchett's magical humour. Can't fault it. Read morePublished 7 months ago by johnk42
Not as good as the Discworld Books - too Little Story, too much sciencePublished 10 months ago by MR M T Audsley-Stratton
Vols I and IV are the best, but this is well worth reading and thinking about.Published 13 months ago by Southville