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Different Engines: How Science Drives Fiction and Fiction Drives Science (Macmillan Science) Hardcover – 5 Nov 2007

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Science (5 Nov. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230019803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230019805
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.7 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 952,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Mark Brake is a freelance scholar, working out of the UK, who writes popular science books, and has done science communication work in film, television, print, and radio on five continents. He has communicated science for NASA, Seattle's Science Fiction Museum, the BBC, the Royal Institution, the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Nature, the British Council, and the National Science Museum of Thailand. Mark is perhaps best known for his work in popularising the relationship between space, science and culture.

Mark's books including those written about the relationship between science and fiction ("Different Engines" and "FutureWorld"), those communicating science for a younger public ("Space Hoppers", "Really, Really Big Questions about Space and Time", "The Alien Hunters Handbook" and "How To Be A Space Explorer"), and two rather more academic works ("Revolution in Science: How Galileo and Darwin Changed our World" and "Introducing Science Communication: A Practical Guide").

Mark's book with Cambridge University Press, "Alien Life Imagined: Communicating the Science and Culture of Astrobiology", was published in November 2012.

More information on Mark's work can be found at his website www.markbrake.com/ or on his iScience website at www.iscience.org.uk/iScience/Home.html

Signed copies of Mark's books are available from the iScience seller under each of Mark's titles.

Product Description

Review


'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.


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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. Griffiths on 11 Dec. 2007
Format: Hardcover
If you want an informative, pacy book about the crossovers and influences that have focussed science and literature since the 18th century, this is it. Written in a flowing easy to read style with an injection of humour and wit, Different Engines is an ideal introduction for savants of SF, whether academics or the occasional reader, to the way both fields have exchanged information or fed directly across cultural boundaries.

Each chapter looks at a particular revolution in science or technology and examines how both fields have approached common problems and extrapolated their potential and outcomes into the larger human experience. Many of these "what if" scenarios are useful indicators of the fears of their age in addition to being a guide to some of the best literature and media dealing with the problems of those times.

I would thoroughly recommend this book.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tink on 10 Dec. 2007
Format: Hardcover
I agree with NewScientist, 'Different Engines' is not meant to be a dry encyclopedic or academic book. The book has taken all the best bits of science fiction's speculations on science and bottled them in a book. It's a great romp, a page-turner which is meant to be thought-provoking and entertaining. It does the job very well.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. Smith on 12 Oct. 2009
Format: Hardcover
I liked this book, however there were elements that really annoyed me, once you've been told something has happened (ie to a person, or in history) you don't need to be told again and again, however this book does, maybe it's because it's written by more than one author and possibly not reviewed very well by the publisher et al.
That said, the information itself is good, there were definitely lots of things I didn't know about with reference to science and science fiction and lots of references that gave me food for thought and a want to learn more.

Berni
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