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The Science of Discworld IV: Judgement Day: 4 [Hardcover]

Terry Pratchett , Ian Stewart , Jack Cohen
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
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Book Description

11 April 2013 Science of Discworld (Book 4)

The fourth book in the Science of Discworld series, and this time around dealing with THE REALLY BIG QUESTIONS, Terry Pratchett’s brilliant new Discworld story Judgement Day is annotated with very big footnotes (the interleaving chapters) by mathematician Ian Stewart and biologist Jack Cohen, to bring you a mind-mangling combination of fiction, cutting-edge science and philosophy.

Marjorie Daw is a librarian, and takes her job – and indeed the truth of words – very seriously. She doesn’t know it, but her world and ours – Roundworld – is in big trouble. On Discworld, a colossal row is brewing…

The Wizards of Unseen University feel responsible for Roundworld (as one would for a pet gerbil). After all, they brought it into existence by bungling an experiment in Quantum ThaumoDynamics. But legal action is being brought against them by Omnians, who say that the Wizards’ god-like actions make a mockery of their noble religion.

As the finest legal brains in Discworld (a zombie and a priest) gird their loins to do battle – and when the Great Big Thing in the High Energy Magic Laboratory is switched on – Marjorie Daw finds herself thrown across the multiverse and right in the middle of the whole explosive affair.

As God, the Universe and, frankly, Everything Else is investigated by the trio, you can expect world-bearing elephants, quantum gravity in the Escher-verse, evolutionary design, eternal inflation, dark matter, disbelief systems – and an in-depth study of how to invent a better mousetrap.

Frequently Bought Together

The Science of Discworld IV: Judgement Day: 4 + Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch: 3 + The Science Of Discworld II: The Globe: 2 (Science of Discworld 2)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press (11 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091949793
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091949792
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.1 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Terry Pratchett is the acclaimed creator of the global bestselling Discworld series, the first of which, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983. In all, he is the author of fifty bestselling books. His novels have been widely adapted for stage and screen, and he is the winner of multiple prizes, including the Carnegie Medal, as well as being awarded a knighthood for services to literature. Worldwide sales of his books now stand at 70 million, and they have been translated into thirty-seven languages.

Photography © David Bird

Product Description

Book Description

A brilliant new Discworld story from Terry Pratchett combined with cutting-edge science and philosophy from Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen. This time the trio take on THE REALLY BIG QUESTIONS – God, the Universe and, frankly, Everything Else.

From the Inside Flap

Order in Court!

On Discworld an almighty row is brewing…

The Omnians want control of Roundworld – its very existence makes a mockery of their religion. The wizards of Unseen University, however, are extremely reluctant to part with it. After all, they created it!

Enter Roundworld librarian, Marjorie Daw (accidentally, through L-space). Perhaps, with her Jimmy Choos and her enquiring and logical mind, she can help? Especially as she’s the sort of librarian who thinks that the Bible should be filed under Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Lord Vetinari presides over the tribunal. People on both sides are getting extremely angry, There are some very big questions being asked – and someone’s got some explaining to do…

The fourth in the Science of Discworld series, JUDGEMENT DAY sees Terry Pratchett, Professor Ian Stewart and Doctor Jack Cohen create a mind-mangling mix of fiction, cutting-edge science and philosophy in an attempt to answer the REALLY big questions – this time taking on God, the Universe and, frankly, Everything Else.

Proceed with caution, you may never look at your universe(s) in the same way again.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed 19 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved the first three science of the discworlds, they were interesting, funny and each a pretty darn broad set of topics. This one covered one; the difference between science and religion.

It's not bad, just disappointing. I expect a smorgasbord of science, wit and humour in these books and number 4 felt lacking in all three.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
I gave it 4 rather than the 3 I was going to give it, because the reason I thought it was so-so was because there was little there I hadn't read on Freethinker website.

Lots of ranting about the stupidity and intolerance of religion, along with an overview of the currently-under-discussion reasons for why supposedly-rational people believe such claptrap and poppycock.

Another blow-by-blow account of Why We Are Here, leavened with what stupid religiots think the answer is.

An interesting digression at the end into why the fine structure constants aren't that fine after all, which (for me) was worth the value of the book itself.

And interleaved like strips of tasty salami between many tedious slices of slimming-bread, we find a Pratchett Discworld novella, detailing how a librarian (appropriately Pratchettianly rationalistic, sensible and unflappable) arrives in Discworld through L-space to witness Vetinaru presiding over a court case as to whether Roundworld should be in the custodianship of Unseen University or the Omnians.

Every book by Pratchett seems like an ever-dwindling sequence of poignant goodbyes, and this is a rather sweet little coda in a world we Discworld fans know and love better than our own.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An expensive disappointment 3 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
After the 1st 20% read on Kindle it is a big disappointment to anyone who has read the 1st three books in the series
Like so many " sequels" (whether films or books) it has run out of Oomph ( particularly quirky acerbic Pratchett comments) compared to he previous 3 in the series.The science is fine but is not blended in with much " discworld" shenanigans
Not to say that it is specifically bad - just no longer good enough compared to those earlier in the series
If you are a discworld fanatic , try out the earlier ones in the series first

I have now read through to the end which has simply reinforced my snap judgement.
What is good is the update of the latest scientific thinking of Life , the Universe , and all that jazz . Unfortunately , unlike the original book in 1999 (where the wizards dabbling with magic which leads to the formation of Roundworld - used as a hands off analogy for our universe and scientific comments on it) but what is bad is that in this book there is little of Discworld and constant back references to the earlier 3 books.
Whether tackling the issues of religion(s) , existence of gods , and the impact of religions on human behaviour ( simple belief vs experiment and rational thinking) was a good idea I will leave for others to comment. Certainly the atheists viewpoint is logically expounded as is evolution vs creationism.Likely to be somewhat contentious in the USA
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An acceptable Ian Stewart book 28 April 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I like Ian Stewart as a writer; I've read and enjoyed many of his books on maths and science.

This is another workmanlike effort - not his best, but still a good read.

Except... it's supposed to be a book by Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen. And sadly, their voices were almost completely absent.

The first two Science of Discworld books were elegant blends of fact and fiction - alternating chapters of approximately equal length. In this one, the Discworld chapters are incredibly brief. And even then they read like Ian Stewart fiction (compare with Flatterland) with a few Discworld character names and back stories pasted on. Vetinari bothering to get involved in an inconsequential wrangle between wizards and clerics? Hardly! Ridcully coherently explaining vast tracts of hard science? I don't think so!

If you want to buy this Ian Stewart book on science, go right ahead. But don't buy this Terry Pratchett novel.

Another thing that irritates me in a more controversial sense is that I found the book very preachy about atheism. It's almost as though the authors had an axe to grind this time round, where before they contented themselves with the nobler pursuits of entertainment and education. And their views on agnosticism (a subject dear to my heart) are... eccentric.

Assuming, as I've said, that you're in the market for an Ian Stewart book. Assuming, furthermore, that you can overlook the bouts of didacticism (or at least read some Karen Armstrong for balance) this is still an interesting and up-to-date work, full of discussion of the origins of the universe, the history of science, world religion and more besides. Despite my reservations, I'm glad I bought it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best science book I've read? 27 April 2013
By Jim J-R
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
'Science of Discworld' continues to be a slightly misleading name for this series, which is actually about real science using the Discworld as a framework and a metaphor. This fourth book is set around a Discworld court case, in which the Omnian religion is suing the Unseen University for ownership of the Roundworld.

This is one of the best science books I've read. It deals with some of the more controversial topics - the origins of the universe in particular - but in way that doesn't lecture and doesn't condescend. The writers also take the time to examine the current leading theories in a critical manner, unlike most books which can present the flavour of the month as hard and fast fact with only a small nod to future research. Here Cohen and Stewart don't shy away from acknowledging holes in our knowledge, and that only helps to emphasise one of their core messages: that science is all about doubting and testing your ideas.

Like the previous books, the chapters alternate between fiction and fact, and the Discworld story contained the usual wit and charm, although the individual chapters and the story as a whole are all too short. In contrast, the science chapters in several places are too long, and I found my attention drifting.

In combination, a welcome taste of the Discworld universe between the main novels, and an in-depth and fascinating insight into the real world of science and where it might be heading in the next few decades. I thoroughly recommend this as a great read which both educated and entertained.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended
Pratchett and the team do it again. Great read. If I had my way, the "Science of Discworld" books would be required reading in schools
Published 17 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Pratchett latest
brilliant even for non - Pratchett peeps; excellent value
Published 25 days ago by Julie Day
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 27 days ago by teatime
4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly good but I find the science passages not as well ...
Mostly good but I find the science passages not as well tied-in to the interleaved story and the story is also rather thin (and the story sections get very short after the middle... Read more
Published 1 month ago by David Perkin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great reading as always
Published 2 months ago by Leslie Barnes
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulously factual and fun filleting of fantasy
Science versus religion. Why religion is wrong. Also why it works Why it doesn't need to anymore.

A refreshingly humanistic breeze through why god doesn't exist and why... Read more
Published 2 months ago by psiloiordinary
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
gave as a present and they loved it
Published 2 months ago by rebecca.l.greenwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This series within the discworld is great fun!
Published 2 months ago by butterfly60
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by nicholas john christie
1.0 out of 5 stars A GOOD STORY SPOILED
Second attempt to read a good story ruined by irrelevant
rubbish by parasitic Leeches who do not sell their own stuff
So well. No more!!!
Published 3 months ago by Mr. JM DAVIES
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