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Popular Mechanics The Amazing Weapons That Never Were: Robots, Flying Tanks & Other Machines of War Hardcover – November 6, 2012


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About the Author

Gregory Benford is a two-time winner of the Nebula Award and a professor of physics at the University of California. He is the author of more than 20 novels, including Jupiter Project, Artifact, Against Infinity, Eater, and Timescape. Benford has won the John W. Campbell Award, the Australian Ditmar Award, the 1995 Lord Foundation Award for achievement in the sciences, and the 1990 United Nations Medal in Literature.

Popular Mechanics inspires, instructs, and influences nine million curious minds that read the magazine every month. The magazine features breakthroughs in the latest innovations in science and technology.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Series: Popular Mechanics
  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Hearst; First Edition edition (November 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158816862X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1588168627
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #388,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gregory Benford, author of top-selling novels, including Jupiter Project, Artifact, Against Infinity, Eater, and Timescape, is that unusual creative combination of scientist scholar and talented artist; his stories capture readers - hearts and minds - with imaginative leaps into the future of science and of us.

A University of California faculty member since 1971, Benford has conducted research in plasma turbulence theory and experiment, and in astrophysics. His published scientific articles include well over a hundred papers in fields of physics from condensed matter, particle physics, plasmas and mathematical physics, and several in biological conservation.

Often called hard science fiction, Benford's stories take physics into inspired realms. What would happen if cryonics worked and people, frozen, were awoken 50 years in the future? What might we encounter in other dimensions? How about sending messages across time? And finding aliens in our midst? The questions that physics and scientists ask, Benford's imagination explores.
With the re-release of some of his earlier works and the new release of current stories and novels, Benford takes the lead in creating science fiction that intrigues and amuses us while also pushing us to think.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Michael OConnor TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Over the decades, various predictions have been made regarding the weapons of the future. The pages of POPULAR MECHANICS, for one, regularly featured articles on and illustrations of various "death rays," robot weapons, flying tanks, futuristic combat gear and so on. Noted science fiction author Gregory Benford and the current editors of POPULAR MECHANICS gathered together many of those forecasts to produce this nostalgic, wonderfully appealing history of "what-if weaponry."

After an introductory chapter on warfare and weapon development, Benford examines the topic in chapters entitled 'Future Wars with Weapons of Wonder,' 'The Control of Electric Brains,' 'Airplanes Will Replace Cavalry,' 'Atomic Power for Peace,' etc. Entries in the chapters are divided by general subject and date. Most are a paragraph or two in length; a very few run a half-page or more. For example, the 'Airplanes Will Replace Cavalry' chapter has blurbs/articles on: 'The Next War in the Air' with material from 1907, 1909, 1915 & 1931; blimp/dirigible predictions from 1929, 1942 & 1958; vertical flight predictions from 1909, 1941, 1944 & 1959; and so on.

What's especially appealing are the colorful, period illustrations from POPULAR MECHANICS of proposed planes/tanks/floating bases/subs/rifles/gas masks/etc., one-of prototypes that were actually built and so on.

Though most of the proposed ideas went nowhere - using A-bombs for strip mining!?! - some like helicopters, guided missiles, gliders, sub-launched seaplanes, LSTs and photo-recce drones actually panned out. Other books on the subject have ridiculed such predictions. Benford presents the ideas without passing judgement, a nice touch.

In summary, I greatly enjoyed THE AMAZING WEAPONS THAT NEVER WERE. It's a hoot, a fascinating, entertaining summary of what-if weaponry and technology. Recommended.

*****
5,200 Helpful Votes!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James D. Crabtree VINE VOICE on January 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Weapons that never were talks about a lot of inventions and innovations for warfare... but the interesting thing is about half of these were predictions of weapons which really did see operational use! It's just that when these predictions were made they were a little ahead of their time. Some of the inventions DID get deployed but not in the manner originally foreseen or years after they were supposed to be fielded. Also, there are a few "negative predictions" of things which would NEVER happen ("airplanes sinking battleships? Poppycock!") and a few items which didn't entirely seem to be related to warfare.

I loved the illustrations from the various periods, and most of the commentary and articles gleaned from Popular Mechanics are entertaining. Maybe the fact that the contents were restricted to PM explains why there is nothing on the Davy Crockett, the Army's atomic grenade launcher or the artillery piece known as "Atomic Annie." Nothing appeared in the book about antiaircraft mines or sensors designed to detect Viet Cong by their smell. I think this would have made it more complete, but still a fun book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Singingcreech on January 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book a lot; then the family that I actually bought it for loved it! Thanks for great service and a great product.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By William J. Bean on April 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Honestly this is why I bought it. The articles are well written and the images just what you'd expect from the time periods covered. In reality a lot of these ideas resurfaced and became workable. Its always interesting though to see how far back these ideas go. Example: A 1928 prediction that foretold of a special addition to a parachutists clothing allowing them to control their passage through the air prior to pulling the rip-cord. Entire suits now exist that allow sky-divers (a term that did not exist in 1928) to control their descent. An excellent book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Myra Verret on February 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my husband. He enjoys reading about history especially if it has planes or military subjects. This book has it all.

He is very happy with this one
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really love reading both Popular editions, Science & Mechanics, and this book was one I couldn't pass up. Weapons that never were, but had been considered, and in some cases, even designed before scraping. Massive airships that could land airplanes on their flat-decked tops, and tanks the size of buildings - all make one smile until one realizes these were actual things someone thought up and considered worthy of attention. Many are the children of the staff at both magazines and and of those a few are truly idiotic and completely unrealistic, with little attention to science, despite the source of material. Many were actually created, though in a different version and certainly in a much different way - the results being they worked and are still used today. Manufacture of weapons was once a matter of material available, e.g. to make a bow you had to have the right wood and some string to fire the arrows with. Today we can make the material desired and then create the weapon from it. Plastics and ceramics have come so far they are barely recognizable on the shelves of our gun stores or Wal-marts. Pictures are enjoyable with bright primary colors so they stand out on each page and everything in the book is given a short history and often it is revealed were the idea may have gone or what became of the creator. Worth the cost of admission and is able to be flipped through many, many times - randomly reading it over several sittings under a good reading lamp and over a sofa cushion that is a favorite, for you will be there a spell!
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