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Different Engines: How Science Drives Fiction and Fiction Drives Science (Macmillan Science) Hardcover – 5 Nov 2007
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'An excellent starting point for passionate arguments on fascinating subjects.' www.asimovs.com
'In Different Engines, Professor Mark Brake and Reverend Neil Hook take us on a tour of science fiction through the ages. They show how the genre extends far beyond mere entertainment and often provides a profound exploration of the interface between science and society and the impact that new technologies or discoveries, such as that of alien life, are likely to have.' - Lewis Dartnell, The Astrobiology Society of Britain
Since its emergence in the seventeenth century, science fiction (SF) has been a sustained, coherent and subversive check on the promises and pitfalls of science. In their turn, invention and discovery have forced fiction writers to confront the nature and limits of reality. "Different Engines" is the first trade book to explore how this fascinating symbiosis shapes what we see, do and dream. From Johannes Kepler's Somnium to Arthur C Clarke's 2001, science fiction has emerged as a mode of thinking, complementary to the scientific method, argue Professor Mark Brake and Reverend Neil Hook. SF's field of interest is the gap between the new worlds uncovered by experimentation and exploration, and the fantastic worlds of the imagination. Its proponents find drama in the tension between the familiar and the unfamiliar. Its readers, many of them scientists and politicians, find inspiration in the contrast between the ordinary and the extraordinary. Brake and Hook's "Different Engines" is a unique, provocative and compelling account of science fiction as the arbiter of progress.See all Product description
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That said, the information itself is good, there were definitely lots of things I didn't know about with reference to science and science fiction and lots of references that gave me food for thought and a want to learn more.
Each chapter looks at a particular revolution in science or technology and examines how both fields have approached common problems and extrapolated their potential and outcomes into the larger human experience. Many of these "what if" scenarios are useful indicators of the fears of their age in addition to being a guide to some of the best literature and media dealing with the problems of those times.
I would thoroughly recommend this book.