Top critical review
12 people found this helpful
on 7 May 2004
Mixing tales of the truly extraordinary with the truly banal, beyond coincidence is a fun book that occasionally tries to take itself too seriously.
It introduces mathematical equations, relays between atomic particles and the mystery of connected universes and parallel worlds. Plimmer and King use a light brush with some deeply complex academic and scientific issues in an attempt to solve a plethora of lucky, chanceful meetings and events that colourfully pepper the book.
The section on probability is illuminating; the supposed odds for certain events occurring are both astronomical – in the millions and billions to one such as wining the lottery; and highly likely – 100 to one such as being killed in a road accident. How many of us like to think we’ll win the lottery one day compared to considering the risk in using the car?
The book goes on to explain how the complex and interconnected world we live in will inevitably throw up freakish and seemingly unlikely coincidences at some point in everyone’s life. Whether this draws us to worship at the temple of fate and destiny or one takes a more sober view, when coincidence strikes it never fails to amaze, excite and turn into a tale to tell down the pub.
So a rewarding read for part one of the book. Where Beyond Coincidence often fails to amaze and excite itself is in part two. This is merely a long, long, sloppy list of coincidence stories most of which are trite and everyday – she went to a party she didn’t want to go to and met the man of her dreams who also didn’t want to be there and happened to live in the rented flat she was going to rent beforehand – so what!
Disappointingly this turns what was a semi-scientific dip into coffee table material. Indeed it’s unlikely you’ll be interested enough to last much more than twenty or so pages into the 150 pages of the second section. The chances of you thinking the same? Highly likely!
A fun compendium with a few intellectual markers, albeit spoilt by some lazy filling in the second half.