Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not what the title implies, but even better, 3 July 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Science of Discworld (Paperback)
Don't buy this book thinking you'll get an explanation of physics when light slows down to golden syrup speed...but it is absolutely fantastic and has a lot to say about how we expect reality to be (as in stories) and then what actually happens. The huge gorgeous sweep of this planet's history is seen through the befuddled eyes of the magicians from Unseen University, who are constantly upset because events don't follow narrative causality. The book also has quite a few pointed jabs how most of what we take for in the natural world as "well, obviously so" is simply the result of the latest evolutionary crapshot between disasters...and that the next load of cometary ice is just around the corner.
Much of the above can be found in other places. What raises this book above popular-science-with-silly-wizards is Pratchett's realization of the power of stories, our wish to tell them to each other, and our wish to create a world that makes sense using them. As John Polanyi says: " Scientia is knowledge. It is only in the popular mind that it is equated with facts...facts are meaningless. They contain no narrative. Science, by contrast, is story-telling. That is evident in the way we use our primary scientific instrument, the eye. The eye searches for shapes. It searches for a beginning, a middle, and an end. "
Read this book. You will never be able to look at the phase "oh, it's just a story" in quite the same way again.
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