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The Science of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Unknown Binding – 1 Jan 2004
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Top customer reviews
Let's be fair - it's not fiction, and it's not Pullman, so you're not likely to be glued to pages. But it never claims to be. What it is, it does well, the science in here is detailed without being overwhelming, and fairly complete - to be honest you barely need to know anything at all to be able to understand the science here, you just need to be willing.
And it does show what I feel it was intended to - that a lot of what Pullman wrote about in His Dark Materials is based (on some level) in fact. And that is of course what makes Science Fiction writing so exciting and so addictive - and also what makes studying science so fascinating for science fiction fans. And it's good for the imagination of the romantically inclined, like me - the fact that the existance of parallel worlds is hypothesised at the highest levels gives me that little chance to believe that His Dark Materials might all be true...
But anyway, the book itself is a good, easy read to dip in and out of or to rattle through, and hopefully this review has given you a clue as to whether it's right for you!
The first problem with this book is explained by Pullman himself in his introduction: 'When I heard that they [the Gribbins] were interested in writing a book about the science of 'His Dark Materials', I felt as priveleged as if Dan Dare had invited me for a flight in his rocket. But I wondered what they'd find to say... Because I wasn't writing about science, after all... Take the idea of parallel worlds. Many writers have used this idea, though it doesn't always come with a scientific explanation.'
This sums up the book up. A lot of its content could've been applied to other books, or the link with HDM is tenuous. It merely takes something from Pullman as a starting point and explains it, but in doing so, leaves the original subject behind. Don't get me wrong, the explanation of the science itself is excellent but just how illuminating it is in reference to HDM, is debatable.
The other problem with the feeling of being cheated by the price and physical size in comparison to the content. For a children's book it is expensive. And it's size is quite large. But the amount of content is fairly minimal and spread-out. Put is this way, there is alot of white space. The book would have looked a lot better value at £5.99 and a size smaller, with the text still the same size (and it could easily have fitted).
All in all, this is a good book and compliments the other book recently published on Philip Pullman, the excellent 'Darkness Visible' by Nicholas Tucker.
I don't think you could read this book without having read Pullman's Dark Materials, but if you haven't read His Dark Materials I envy you because to discover this series is to discover the series of a lifetime. Read them and then read this book and then just sit back and feel your mind expanding.
you will be amazed to discover that alternative realities, in the form of multiverses, are not just figments of pullman's imagination, but are indeed products of quantum theory. the nature of time, evolution, dark matter and other bits are all discussed in a manner that is both relevatory and fascinating. all-in-all you are left with the impression that pullman's novels are much more than mere fairy tales. i know that you will enjoy it like i did.
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Fits neatly inside my pocket though!!!!!