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Inventing Iron Man: The Possibility of a Human Machine Hardcover – August 25, 2011


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Inventing Iron Man: The Possibility of a Human Machine + Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero + The Physics of Superheroes: Spectacular Second Edition
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; 1 edition (August 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1421402262
  • ISBN-13: 978-1421402260
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #842,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Like a true costumed hero, Zehr masks learning in the guise of pop culture enthusiasm... a perfect source to learn about the history of Iron Man and the strength and limits of the human body and brain.

(www.whatistechnoagain.com)

Zehr's university-based research includes neuroplasticity, akin to neural rewiring, associated with exercise training and rehabilitation. This expertise, combined with Zehr's childlike curiosity and proficiency in martial arts, makes Inventing Iron Man—along with Becoming Batman before it—a fascinating exploration of human potential.

(Christopher Wanjek LiveScience.com)

A unique and much recommended read for anyone with an interest in the reality of super science.

(Midwest Book Review)

Highly commended to all who enjoy a look into the world of superheroes—but science nerds will like it, too.

(Steven King The Pilot)

The character of Iron Man represents a compelling and culturally popular interpretation of what may be possible in the future with enhanced prosthetic devices.

(Choice)

A fine pick for science fiction and science holdings alike.

(Midwest Book Review)

Back in the sixties, when I first dreamed up the concept of Iron Man, I thought, 'What if a man had a suit of armor, like the knights of old—but modern armor that housed all sorts of miniaturized, technical weaponry? Such a man would seem to be the ultimate superhero.' At first, I didn't give much thought to what that suit of armor might mean to the man inside—how it might affect his body and/or his brain and subtly blur the line between human and machine. But now, almost 40 years later, E. Paul Zehr has tackled that very subject. Inventing Iron Man is his fascinating vision of the real-life implications of my original concept.

(Stan Lee, comic icon and creator of Iron Man)

E. Paul Zehr, surely one of the coolest of professors, has done something interesting, enlightening, and maybe just a bit quixotic. He has built a bridge between the fantasy science of superhero comics and the eyes-front innovations of real-life technological innovators. It is a primer on what's possible now and what might soon become possible in our world and what Iron Man's been up to in his.

(Dennis O'Neil, Iron Man writer and editor)

This wonderful book lays out... the only true way to see the Iron Man—as a prosthesis... a book that educates and delights. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

(from the foreword by Warren Ellis)

About the Author

E. Paul Zehr is a professor of neuroscience and kinesiology at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and the author of Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero, also published by Johns Hopkins. For more information about finding your inner superhero, visit www.inventingironman.com.


More About the Author

E. PAUL ZEHR, PhD, is professor, author, & martial artist at the University of Victoria. He uses superheroes as foils for exploring science, human achievement and ability. His recent pop-sci books include BECOMING BATMAN: THE POSSIBILITY OF A SUPERHERO (2008), INVENTING IRON MAN: THE POSSIBILITY OF A HUMAN MACHINE (2011), and the forthcoming hybrid novel PROJECT SUPERHERO (2014). Paul won the 2012 Craigdarroch Award for Research Communications at UVIC. He is a regular speaker at conferences and comic book conventions including San-Diego International Comic Con and New York Comic Con and has presented to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences on the science of superheroes. Paul blogs at Psychology Today "Black Belt Brain" and guest blogs at Scientific American.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 32 customer reviews
And the answer to that question just may very well surprise you.
Shawn Kovacich
In this documentary about a fictional character, Iron Man, E. Paul Zehr creates a factual book about exoskeleton suits and their potential development and future use.
Thomas
Whereas, the other "science of ..." books that I've enjoyed have been about shows or movies that I really liked.
Tung Yin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie on September 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A couple of years ago, I read and reviewed a book called Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero. Unlike many other superhero-meets-something topics (usually that "something" is philosophy related), this one interested me on two fundamental levels: it talked about Batman from the appreciative standpoint of specific comic book issues, and it showed me with rock hard, scientific proof which aspects of my favorite caped crusader were possible to achieve by way of body and mind and which were not.

Now the author of that book is back with another investigation into the possible and impossible, and this time he's adding another layer to the inquiry: human and machine. E. Paul Zehr, who so kindly provided me a review copy of his latest work (on sale October 1), has chosen Iron Man as his sophomore course of study, and he follows through with as much curiosity and passion as his first. Inventing Iron Man: The Possibility of a Human Machine uses Tony Stark's original and remodeled suits as a launch point to answer countless questions about man and his capability to connect with complicated machines and to investigate how close to current technology those wondrous armors are.

The questions lead the reader down paths of neuroscience and kinesiology (the study of human movement) to possibilities of flight, the myth of multi-tasking, the effects of substance abuse, the damage sustained by prolonged biological interface with a machine, to the long-lasting effects of subjecting the human body to a second exoskeleton that does all the major work for you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Shawn Kovacich VINE VOICE on October 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This was really a quite fascinating book that takes a look at the fantasy of the Marvel Comic Books superhero "Ironman" and asks the question, "Is this really possible?" And the answer to that question just may very well surprise you.

The author really puts a lot of thought into this question and gives scientific proof of what is and what is not possible. Just like he did in his previous work, Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero, which I also highly recommend that you read.

I realize that this review is rather brief, but there really isn't a whole lot more that I can add after reading some of the earlier reviews.

Shawn Kovacich
Creator of numerous books and DVDs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. D. Boorman VINE VOICE on November 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It's an interesting topic. I like the idea of examining the technolohy of Iron Man. In light of the recent movies and the upcoming Avengers movie, I thought that this would be a fun book. It is interesting. The author clearly "knows his stuff" about the science behind creating an "Iron Man." Unfortunately, this is a slow read. There were many times that I had to stop and re-read a section in order to understand it. At times, it takes on a very pedantic tone that makes it hard to read and stick with. I had to put it down and bring myself back to it many times. I did learn some stuff from reading, the book, but it was not the 'fun read' that I expected. If you're a hard core science fan, or a hard core Iron man fan, I think this would be an interesting book, but for the casual reader, it may be too dense.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Money on September 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I like this book. I'd considered buying a copy of Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero, because I am intrigued by the plausibility of a fictional character existing in the real world. To me, Iron Man is an even more interesting character to explore, because there is so much more to Iron Man's suit (propulsion, protection, weaponry, strength, etc.) that can be looked at. Truthfully, I am all about all things superhero, so some real world looks at characters, or the philosophy behind them is pretty interesting.

The author does a good job of simplifying complex concepts like robotics, human anatomy and how the two interface; it is all done in such a way that while dealing with advanced concepts, he never talks down to the reader. He seems to have a feel that someone reading this book is going into with an open mind and a desire to learn something, and he delivers. He's also clearly a fan of the genre, and treats it with a great deal of care and respect. His love for the character, from the detailed citations from nearly 50 years of the character's history, to the decent black and white reproductions of comic art, deliver that message loud and clear. Overall, not your typical comic book fare- it's high level nerdiness, and great for it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Malvin VINE VOICE on September 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Inventing Iron Man" by E. Paul Zehr is science writing at its creative best. Mr. Zehr is a professor at a major Canadian university who seriously explores the plausibility of engineering an Iron Man-like human machine in the real world. Lavishly illustrated with scientific diagrams, photos and images of Iron Man to reinforce key points, this enlightening and entertaining book (which is endorsed by Iron Man creator Stan Lee) should intrigue comic book and science fiction fans who are interested in real science.

Mr. Zehr's expertise in the nerosciences enables him to shed light on the key technology that could make an Iron Man suit possible: the brain-computer interface. Mr. Zehr takes us to laboratories to learn about cutting-edge research in this field to assess what might be possible today and tomorrow, including how long it might take a determined individual like Tony Stark to master control of such a suit. Comparing and contrasting Iron Man with real-life adventurers such as 'Jet-Man' Yves Rossy, Mr. Zehr sheds light on the inherent dangers of inhabiting a robotic exoskeleton. Through this enlightening discussion, Mr. Zehr helps us gain a deeper appreciation both for the comic and modern physics, firing our imaginations about what the future might hold in store for us.

I highly recommend this fun, engaging and informative book to everyone.
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