'An excellent starting point for passionate arguments on fascinating subjects.' www.asimovs.com 'In Different Engines, Professor Mark Brake and Reverend Neil Hook take us on a tour of science fiction through the ages. They show how the genre extends far beyond mere entertainment and often provides a profound exploration of the interface between science and society and the impact that new technologies or discoveries, such as that of alien life, are likely to have.' - Lewis Dartnell, The Astrobiology Society of Britain
From the Author
Revolutions in science, and their reciprocal relationship with science fiction, drive the narrative of The Different Engines. For the first time, discovery and invention delineate the evolution of science fiction:
A Plurality of Habitable Worlds: The Age of Discovery (1500 - 1800); Remembrance of Things To Come: The Mechanical Age (C19th); Pulp Fiction: The Astounding Age (1900 - 1940); Cold War and Heat Death: The Atomic Age (1940s, 1950s); Stranger in a Strange Land: The New Age (1960s, 1970s); Information Wants to be Free: The Computer Age (1980s, 1990s); The Frankenstein Century: The Age of Biology (C21st). Uniquely, each chapter showcases the evolutionary symbiosis of science fiction and science: their common origins identified in The Age of Discovery; the mutual influence of machine, evolution and fiction in The Mechanical Age; the reciprocal refuelling of emergent cosmologies, space opera and real-life space travel anticipated in The Astounding Age; the evolution of bombs and apocalyptic fiction in The Atomic Age; the many worlds, multiverses and alternative histories of quantum theory in The New Age; the prophesised liberating power of the web, and the virtual and tangible realities of AIs, robots and cyborgs in The Computer Age; and fictional projections of our troubled genetically-modified future in The Age of Biology.