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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious
Pratchett is one of the most successful science fiction writers in the world, and teams up with two scientists - a biologist and mathematician to produce a mixture of hard fact, and hilarious fiction, in another Discworld novel.
If you are a fan of his, this is, of course, another "must purchase" book. If you are not, you may want to delve into the waters a...
Published 13 months ago by oldmanwinter

versus
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good read, but not as good as the previous editions
Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen continue their joint effort on "The science of Discworld" with this fourth addition to the series. In this edition a new UU experiment causes an accidental crossover between Discworld and Roundworld through the extra-dimensional L-space, which results in the sudden abduction of Marjorie Daw from her Roundworld library to the...
Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good read, but not as good as the previous editions, May 6, 2013
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Amazon Customer (Eindhoven, NBR Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen continue their joint effort on "The science of Discworld" with this fourth addition to the series. In this edition a new UU experiment causes an accidental crossover between Discworld and Roundworld through the extra-dimensional L-space, which results in the sudden abduction of Marjorie Daw from her Roundworld library to the halls of UU. Once there she becomes a witness and then a main character in a court case being brought by the Church of the Latter Day Omnians against the university for custody of Roundworld.

As usual in the Science series, the Discworld short story is used as backdrop for the chapters written by Stewart and Cohen covering physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology, evolution and philosophy in a popular-science fashion. In this case they cover the latest insights into the origins and shape of the universe, the patterns of thought and belief of the human mind, rational and systematic thinking in contrast with belief-based and snap decision thinking (including the evolutionary value of both) and the origins and value of religion.

The result is quite a nice read for those fans with a slightly more-than-passing interest in such topics. However, the book is not quite as good as the earlier editions: the scientific chapters are written more like essays with a "moral" than in earlier editions, which I find an irritating style. Also, the discussion of religion versus rationality and evolution seems less philosophical and more pushy than in previous editions, which is strange for a book that makes a big point of how science is about deriving models from observation rather than pushing the tenets of blind faith...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wizards Vs Priests, November 3, 2013
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This review is from: The Science of Discworld IV: Judgement Day: It's Wizards Vs Priests in a Battle for the Future of Roundworld (Hardcover)
I love Pratchett as a writer and have read just about anything he's written that I can get my hands on.
Having read the previous three Science of Discworld books I have to agree with some other reviews that this is not the best of the four.
Found it mired in too much technical data at times, learned more than I every wanted to about quantum indeterminacy, topology and particle or sparticles. Some of the science stopped being fun and turned into homework!
I also felt the whole thing would have benefited from larger chapters of the Discworld storyline that runs throughout the book.
Sorry Sir Terry but this one wasn't as much fun as the last three.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, October 28, 2013
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oldmanwinter (alberta canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Science of Discworld IV: Judgement Day: It's Wizards Vs Priests in a Battle for the Future of Roundworld (Hardcover)
Pratchett is one of the most successful science fiction writers in the world, and teams up with two scientists - a biologist and mathematician to produce a mixture of hard fact, and hilarious fiction, in another Discworld novel.
If you are a fan of his, this is, of course, another "must purchase" book. If you are not, you may want to delve into the waters a bit more gently and read another in the series which are all tied together loosely, but are great as stand alone books.
Regardless, well written by 3 people who really do look at the world from a different angle then most of us
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Going downhill?, May 19, 2013
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These have been lively popular science books, but this one feels as if Sir Terry hasn't had quite the involvement, and hence the light touch of previous instalments. Nevertheless there are some entertaining swipes at belief systems, political and religious, though some of the targets do just beg to be knocked down by simple common sense.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read for Pratchett fans, May 15, 2013
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I'm really enjoying this as I have with all of the Science of Discworld books. I am finding the science chapters are a little long. While it's facinating, it's a bit of a slog to get through them before getting to the lighter Discworld chapter.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Science wins, July 13, 2014
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The Omnian sect refuses to accept that the world is a disc resting on the back of four elephants who in turn rest on the back of a space turtle. In spite of all evidence, they stick to their outdated belief that the world is round. While experimenting with high energy magic, the wizards of Unseen University have accidently created such a world in a magicless bubble, which they call Roundworld. The Omnians want Roundworld and they want the Wizards to cease all their sacrilegious activities.

Science, as the Science of Discworld series presents it, is a means for understanding the world around us. We live in a causal world where everything happens for a reason (Science of Discworld 1) but those causes are behind us. Science is predictive it the sense that causes have effects, it is not predictive in the sense that it will predict the future.

From Science's point of view, the world has no purpose. Paradoxically, we human beings love stories, in fact we absolutely need stories (Science of Discworld 2) or else we will never understand the raw data the universe bombards towards us. We call these stories "models" and we build models of the universe that are simple enough for us to understand but complex enough to predict how the universe works. Simpler models might be useful even when they are wrong. We say the sun rises and sets, even though we know the earth is spinning on its axis. We need myths and legends and we need Shakespeare to give some sort of spiritual meaning to our lives. From the power of narrative, we get the energy to study the world.

But Science does not confuse these myths and legends with reality. When we impose a purpose or a direction to what the universe is doing, we aren't doing science anymore, we are doing theology (The Science of Discworld 3). When we set on the universe a purpose outside itself, while accepting that we can only study the universe as it presents itself, we are giving up on the quest for understanding. Whenever a puzzle seems too difficult, we just have to tell ourselves "Ah well, there's a reason for that but we'll never understand it".

It's one thing for the Omnian to believe in things, but it's quite another for them to insist they can impose their view on Science. They believe, without evidence, in a higher purpose and therefore any study of the world must comply with that higher purpose. And while science needs stories to jump start itself, it absolutely requires that these stories match reality and not the other way around.

Because the study of the world bothers them, Omnians want us to stop studying the world. Musn't we fight this? This is a battle Science never wanted to fight but for humanity to move forward, it is one Science must win. The Science of Discworld IV: Judgement Day brings the epic battle between Science and Superstition to its conclusion.

Vincent Poirier, Quebec City
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful trio, May 21, 2014
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I love Terry pratchett's novels, I like science, this book combine the two. Rincewind and the fellow wizards save the Round world. Again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Still my favourite, December 18, 2013
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monika (Franschhoek) - See all my reviews
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Ive always been a fan and my favourite has always been the Science of the Discworld series. This is a perfect addition to the collection.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great extension of the "Real versus Imaginary Science" series., October 23, 2014
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Book received in perfect condition. This is the 4th in a series and as good as 1, 2, and 3. My only complaint is its physical size: the earlier paperbound volumes in this series are not as tall or wide, so the set is now physically irregular. Perhaps a change in publisher.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Almost like reading a scientific paper, October 5, 2014
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Interesting discussions, but they've started getting a bit pedantic. Not much of a story. I do not regreat reading it, but it didn't quite live up to my expectations.
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