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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best science book I've read?
'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...
Published 23 months ago by Jim J-R

versus
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
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.
Published 18 months ago by J. Crosse


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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not enough Discworld, 5 May 2013
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Janet (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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But I always think that in these books. Loved the character of Marjorie Daw and good to see Vetinari getting an outing. The Science part (for me) turned into a bit of a rant. I very much dislike creationist thinking but believe the way to prove them wrong is with the science and not the rants.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Drop in Discworld Quality, 9 May 2013
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This review is from: The Science of Discworld IV: Judgement Day: 4 (Hardcover)
There are pros and cons to any book, but to this book I think finding any pro would be a pro in itself . . .

The Cons:

Quite frankly I found the book rather offensive. It was offensive in terms of what Pratchett thinks is acceptable writing for a professional writer, and in what he thinks is acceptable in terms of a human being using his novel as a vehicle for hate-speech.

The novel is quite subtle for the most part in its debate between religion and superstition against philosophy and science; it is able to cleverly work symbolism and analogy in an effective way, so that the reader feels the dry wit that its synonymous with Pratchett's work. Where it goes wrong - however - begins mainly from a speech from the main protagonist Marjorie midway through the novel.

Pratchett is clearly atheist, and this shows quite obviously, because - without turning this review into a religious debate - he seems to think it perfectly acceptable to attack the beliefs of those who aren't atheists. He ironically is what he accuses religious people of being: closed-minded. He ignores the fact that science and religion are not exclusive to many people. He also ignores the fact that atheists and religious people - in either group - cannot be tarred with the same brush. Instead he picks a `victor' and praises them immensely, and his `loser' is blasted with offensive language and blatant insults. This is not improved by the resolution of the court-case, in which things just turn into a farce . . .

The style of the novella is also rather embarrassing. The story reads a lot like a children's story, which - whilst not a bad thing - is not expected from an author with such a great reputation supposedly writing for adults.

The language is forced, formal, and stifled. Characters seem to be stock beings without any development or personality, who do not talk as everyday people would in any realistic situation, and - in fact - the language is so stereotyped and old-fashioned you half expect a `by Jove' or `golly gosh' to crop up at any moment. The characters are also immensely out-of-character. The worst contenders of this being the Dean, Vetinari, and Ridcully . . . but as they exist merely to espouse Pratchett's didactic message, this is to be expected.

The novella also is far too short. It can be read in the course of an hour, is only a third of the book (if that), and is incredibly simplistic and formulaic, especially in comparison to the superb prequels. I half expected a twist-ending, such as perhaps Vetinari gaining ownership of the globe, but no such luck . . .

The Good Side:

The writers of the scientific chapters have a great amount of skill. They are able to work their chapters to closely knit with the novella fiction, making the science and fiction intertwined marvellously, in a way that almost mirrors the relationship between the Roundworld and the Discworld. It reads well enough that a layman can follow, but with enough originality and complexity that a student of the sciences would find something to grip their interest. I found these chapters immensely interesting, but also far from patronising (as opposed to Pratchett and his novella).

In All:

If you like science and want a good science book, buy this book.

If you like Pratchett and science-fiction . . . you'll be very disappointed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly good but I find the science passages not as well ..., 15 Sept. 2014
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 of the book).

The authors do not understand the Higgs Boson and should really not have written so much about it (if Ian Stewart does understand the Higgs mechanism and related matters he did not find a way to explain it accessibly to Nomathsmen). However, the same goes for virtually all attempts to write a popular explanation of the Higgs Bosin.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ook!, 13 April 2013
Oh dear... I have read, and loved, all the Pratchett books ever since I first picked up a cheap copy of Strata many years ago. He has been my favourite author all that time. I'll probably continue buying them for ever, in the possibly vain hope that there'll be a return to form. This however is a further sign that that form is irrevocably lost. The essence of the fictional sections of this book is merely a longish short story, interspersed with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen's factual scientifically based sections. But unlike previous Science of Discworld books, I found myself more eager to read the science chapters than the fiction.

Pratchett, whom I have always admired for his use of language, seems no longer capable of constructing a sentence without overcomplicating and over-elaborating it. The narrativium seems to have deserted him too; the story itself is childishly simple, without any depth at all.

The dialogue, which used to zing, is cumbersome and stilted; there seems to be no differentiation between characters' speech patterns. They all talk ponderously and awkwardly, with way too many clauses and sub-clauses.

It was quite a shock to realise that Stewart and Cohen were able to write more wittily and entertainingly than Pratchett in this book. The book was worth buying for their contribution, not, sadly for his...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as funny as some, 29 April 2014
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This review is from: The Science of Discworld IV: Judgement Day: 4 (Hardcover)
The previous three volumes were better. This is a bit dense and not as funny, too much science and not enough wit.
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4.0 out of 5 stars These are starting to get just a bit stale., 7 Nov. 2013
By 
I. Baxter "the wingnut" (lincs uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Science of Discworld IV: Judgement Day: 4 (Hardcover)
Overall, I still enjoyed this book, but neither the story or the pop science bit entertained or informed me quite as much as earlier editions did. Of course, given the dire straights one of the perpetrators has been going through lately we're lucky to be getting anything at all from them, and I for one am grateful the " old firm " is still going. You keep writing them and we'll keep buying them.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great bit of fun, 11 April 2013
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Science of Discworld IV: Judgement Day: 4 (Hardcover)
The Discworld is a series that has captured the minds of millions of readers around the world and with the sciences have taken a back seat to magic, the reader is treated to the explanation of how things function in "Round World" as opposed to the obvious answers that the Disc presents.

Here in this title, the reader gets the treat as Marjorie Daw, Librarian of Round World, finds herself bang in the middle of a religious and philosophical debate and has to make sense of it all. It's cleverly done, it has humour and makes sense of a lot of sense as the cunning brains of Science and Philosophy to the fore. A fun read and whilst you don't have to have read the others to sit back and enjoy, it does help get a fuller flavour.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 15 April 2013
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This review is from: The Science of Discworld IV: Judgement Day: 4 (Hardcover)
I never thought that I would ever give any book that had Terry Pratchett as author - or co-author - anything less than 5 stars; this one has changed my mind. Whilst those chapters which are solely "Discworld" are up to the expected entertainment value, the science chapters left me either bored or bemused. The basis of these chapters concentrate - in the main - on the conflict between science and religion. Those that deal with the concepts of particle physics and quantum theory just went over my head, whereas within those that covered the arguments relating to evolution v intelligent design I found little that I had not either read or heard discussed before.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not as good as the previous Sciences, 12 Jun. 2013
By 
Peanut "Peanut" (Newcastle Upon Tyne, Engand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Science of Discworld IV: Judgement Day: 4 (Hardcover)
I enjoyed the book, but I didn't feel it was as interesting as the first three Science of the Discworld books. This may be because it looks at religion and sometimes the writing seems a bit Dawkins-esque in how hard atheism is pushed, both not very interesting for me.

The structure is the same as other books, alternating Discworld and real world science chapters. I thought that the Discworld chapters weren't as good as in previous books, sometimes they seemed very short and forced.
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5.0 out of 5 stars fabulously factual and fun filleting of fantasy, 16 Aug. 2014
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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 people think he does.

Added bonus of an introduction to the full crappyness of fine tuning arguments.

Probably my favourite in the series, and it's a good series.
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The Science of Discworld IV: Judgement Day: 4
The Science of Discworld IV: Judgement Day: 4 by Terry Pratchett (Hardcover - 11 April 2013)
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