11 of 33 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Universe: A Biography (Hardcover)I didn't get on with this book because it is written in what can be described as blank verse - that is no style or literary panache. For example, how would you start a book about the biggest subject ever - the universe - how to express its immensity and grandeur and draw the reader in? This is how Gribbin starts it "What do scientists mean when they say they 'know' what goes on inside an atom, or what happened in the first three minutes of the life of the universe? They mean they have waht they call a model of the atom, or the early universe, or whatever it is they are interested in, and that this model matches the results...."
Enough, that shows how dull the writing is.
And talking of models I just don't follow Gribbin's logic. I know what he is trying to say but he gets bogged down in models that obey mathematical equations and those that use physical laws - he could be clearer. He's also confusing on page 5 - is it a wave or not or both! It's page 42 before he mentions the birth of the universe and there is what I think must be an editing error on page 12 as the charges on the quarks are incorrect. Redshift doesn't get a mention until page 115!
As a biologist I think he is wrong when he says that everyone knows what life is - that's news to the biologists.
I was dissapointed, not by the science, which is mostly recycled anyway, but by the lack of a narrative structure in which it is presented and by the lack of flair and style in which the science is presented. There is not much 'writing' in this science writing. It was hard work, didn't really want to turn the page.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Sep 2008 14:28:48 BDT
Charlie T. says:
I found the line you quote really interesting! It encouraged me to read the book. The opening ranks with Charles Darwin's famous first line in Origin of Species.
Posted on 14 Sep 2008 12:19:15 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Sep 2008 12:19:56 BDT
Eoghain O'Keeffe says:
The reviewer should have looked up the definition of 'blank verse'. It doesn't mean what he/she thinks it means. Blank verse is a type of poetry with a clear rhythmic structure but lacking a rhyme.
Also, the opening sentence, quoted by the reviewer, really grabbed my attention. I've read several of Gribbin's books ('In Search of Schrodingers Cat' got me interested in physics when I was 15) and I always find him to be a great read.
He certainly doesn't write in blank verse, though. I can't think of any science book that was written in blank verse, nor would I particularly want one to be!
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