Title: The Science of Discworld II: The Globe
Author: Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart & Jack Cohen
Type: Fiction and Non-Fiction (Hybrid)
Page Count/Review Word Count: 368
A theory goes that there are infinite parallel universes which branch off every millisecond – in one, you wore your red top today, and in one, you went with blue. In one, you missed the bus, and in one, you caught it. In one universe, I start with the science, and in one universe, I start with the Discworld.
At the heart of the book is yet another beautifully crafted Discworld story written with usual finesse by Sir Terry Pratchett, in which the wizards of Unseen University inadvertently pay a visit to Roundworld, a planet that’s not dissimilar from our Earth. Alright, I’m not going to lie, it is Earth.
Anyway, during these chapters, the wizards attempt to thwart the evil elves by means of Shakespeare, which is all I’m willing to say without giving away too many spoilers. Besides, that’s only half the novel – the story of the wizards only consumes the oddly-numbered pages. Strange of Pratchett, to want to be odd.
But throughout the book, the adventuring wizards are replaced by science writers Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, who explain the real-life science behind most of the novel, in a way that compliments the story perfectly whilst still teasing the brain to the point of self-flagellation.
But that’s hardly a problem – okay, perhaps the book’s not for everyone, but for thinkers, science fans and general lovers of the Discworld, it’s interesting to discover what makes the Discworld, and subsequently its creation, the planet Earth, really tick.
Stylistically-wise, the only way I can characterise Stewart and Cohen’s writing is as ‘like the (presumably amusingly named) spawn of Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking, in partnership with the resurrection of Douglas Adams‘. Quite an accolade, but they deserve it – not only is it content rich and full of facts that will blow your mind, it’s also comparatively easy-to-read and stands up well beside the might of Pratchett.
The Globe is definitely recommended, as long as you don’t mind a fairly long, technical read.