Wizards, Aliens and Starships: Physics and Math in Fantasy and Science Fiction

We rated this book:


I’m a sucker for books that try to analyze fictional worlds by applying the rules and laws of our world. Unfortunately, many of these books seem to be written by people unfamiliar with the fictional worlds they’re cutting to shreds with scientific literacy, and I’m left a little underwhelmed. I mean, who cares if the science is wrong if you can’t name the correct episode or you completely misinterpret what was happening in the scene in question! (Sorry. Nerd tantrum over now, I promise.)

Thankfully, Charles L. Adler is obviously a fan, and his book Wizards, Aliens, and Starships manages to thread the needles of both scientific literacy and accuracy when it comes to the properties he’s exploring. Whether it’s conservation of mass in shapeshifting, lighting candles at Hogwarts, or building a planet, Adler keeps the science accessible and the fanboys and girls happy. While his primary subjects are contemporary properties like Harry Potter and Avatar, he references numerous classic sci-fi stories, demonstrating considerable nerd cred. He even manages references to both Norse mythology and They Might Be Giants songs, letting his nerd flag fly while still grounding everything in genuine science. Here’s hoping Adler has many more books to come.

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Star Count 4.5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 392 pages
Publisher Princeton University Press
Publish Date 2014-Feb-02
ISBN 9780691147154
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue June 2014
Category Books About Books


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