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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2009
as our kids get older they inevitably get smarter. Finally there is a guidebook that will help me keep up with them and counter all of their Santa related "but if he's real then how does he ______?" questions. Thanks for making me a believer again.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2009
Tough to combine "smart & funny" in such an entertaining way, but this book does it very well!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2009
"Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" and this book tells you just how he does it, but even though you now know the science behind Santa you can still believe that he is real and that he does manage to get to every home in the world at midnight on Christmas Eve.

And none of the stuff in the book is made up - or at least most of it isn't. This is real science - around today or at least in the offing - not science fiction - though some of it started there and some may still be in that realm.

But it makes Santa's trek plausible - well, if you really believe!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2009
I truly laughed out loud when I read this book. Santa's spying tree ornaments would confirm it. If you enjoy a good satire, clever prose and learning how to time travel--you will enjoy this book. For those aesthetes out there, the book is beautifully illustrated and comes in a compact hard cover. It is actually the perfect holiday gift and I have picked it up for my friends, family, children's teachers, and my work colleagues. I hope to see more of this genre from this author in the future.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2009
This is the book I've been looking for ever since I was a parent. I just never knew it. Now when my children ask how Santa Claus can fit down the chimney or deliver millions of presents across the world in a few hours, I'll have the answer:

Santa is a bio-engineered immortal equipped by aliens with technology from the future.

At least that's the hypothesis of Gregory Mone, a contributing editor to Popular Science and author of The Truth about Santa: Wormholes, Robots, and What Really Happens on Christmas Eve. Mone uses his considerable scientific knowledge to explain how Santa, using technology that is still decades away for us mere mortals, can accomplish his herculean feats.

- Delivering presents across the globe in a single night? The work of an army of lieutenants utilizing wormholes built into our chimneys and windows.

- Flying reindeer? A myth; Santa uses a warp-powered sleigh for his personal transportation. (Because of the hazards of involved Santa shuns wormhole travel. His lieutenants are well compensated for the risk.)

- Elves making toys? Actually their main job is maintaining the huge IT infrastructure needed to support Santa's operations.

Mone has crafted a book that combines a wicked (and slightly NSFW) sense of humor with a survey of near-future tech, all wrapped in the peppermint shell of Santa's annual rounds. Adults will get a chuckle out of the science fiction-inspired explanations, but I expect children will suspect the truth: that Mone is just a patsy for Santa, throwing us off the trail.

As every child knows: it's all magic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2012
I got this book free from Librarything Early Reviewers.

This is a cute and amusing sci-fi take on Santa Claus. The author establishes how Santa knows what every child wants and delivers all the gifts in one night, and how he funds his operation. Mone, a science writer, explains the technology necessary for Santa to do what he does -- which is provided by aliens, of course. We humans have nowhere near the capabilities yet. But he also lets us know what humans are capable of doing, and the theories behind things like wormholes and hyperdrive sleigh engines that Santa uses to get his toys delivered on time. And how the reindeer appear to fly when, clearly, they cannot actually do so. And why it's a REALLY bad idea to sneak out of bed and try to catch Santa under your tree on Christmas Eve.

This isn't really a book for children; the science is too complicated and there are some references to sex (Santa's "ho ho ho" initially referred to his promiscuous wife). I would recommend it as a Christmas gag gift for a teen or adult science nut. The short chapters make it especially good for toilet reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2009
With his tongue placed firmly in his cheek, and broad wink at his audience, science writer Gregory Mone gives readers the truth behind Santa.

It's wormholes, alien technology, warp drive engines, spying tree ornaments, and organ replacements from robotic surgeons.

Mone takes current science, stuff that is already in use, or being experimented with, and shows how Santa does it all from living so long to getting around the world. This isn't science-fiction, but actual science explained in such a way that even a boneheaded layman like me can understand it.

This is a lot of fun, science you can laugh about.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon December 6, 2012
Gregory Mone is a contributing editor at Popular Science magazine, as well as the author of The Wages of Genius,Fish, and Dangerous Waters: An Adventure on the Titanic. Although presented as a "children's book," significant portions of the book [e.g., the material about wormholes, and relativity] would be way over the head of a typical child who still believes in Santa. An additional audience would be us adults who enjoy such a facetious effort to make the legend of Santa more intellectually understandable.

He wrote in the Introduction to this 2009 book, "There are many arguments that attempt to refute the existence of Santa Claus. But they are all wrong... The problem with kids today... is that they lack the basic knowledge of the universe required for a true understanding of Santa. As anyone with a decent grasp of physics, biology, and materials science understands, Santa's advertised abilities are perfectly plausible. Yes, Santa is real, and this book will reveal, for the first time, how he completes his seemingly impossible annual mission. The simple answer? Technology. Santa has at his disposal some of the most advanced equipment, devices, materials, and means of transportation in this or any other universe." (Pg. 2)

He states, for example, that "Santa's technology is of alien origin." (Pg. 14) He responds to the common objection, "It's hard to estimate exactly how many presents Santa delivers on a given Christmas Eve... but a conservative guess would be three hundred million... Now let's say that [Santa] gives himself thirty seconds inside each house. This means it would take him one hundred million minutes to deliver each and every gift. That works out to roughly 190 years without factoring in travel or the time it takes to get from one living room to the next... the notion of a single Santa Claus just doesn't compute. An operation of this scale needs employees, stand-ins, mindless wage slaves. And Santa has them. Between two and three hundred, in fact." (Pg. 22-23)

How does Santa pay for all his operations? "Mrs. Claus has given Santa a financial and management stake in a surprising number of technology-oriented Fortune 500 companies... she essentially created the Christmas ornament business..." (Pg. 48) How does Santa monitor all the activities of children to see if they're being good? "he deploys millions of mosquito- and dragonfly-sized micro aerial vehicles, or MAVs. These tiny mechanical flying insects peer down alleyways and into elevators and apartments, darkened bars, and exclusive restaurants." (Pg. 73)

He explains, "the kind of negative reinforcement that Santa practiced by filling the stockings of naughty children with coal was useless. It wasn't just mean. It was ineffective. Positive reinforcement was proving to be far more powerful when it came to altering a child's behavior." (Pg. 81) Santa uses wormholes, which "enables his lieutenants to recover the time they lose dropping off gifts in a given house." (Pg. 91) Santa also wears a pressurized space suit (which may "appear to resemble the fluffy, blanketlike versions depicted in so many illustrations and movies") during his travels (Pg. 118).

Again, this is probably too technical for young people prior to teenage, but older folks will probably be highly amused by Mone's highly imaginative and creative ideas.
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on January 28, 2012
This is a fake history book in the vein of John Hodgman, i.e. very funny and told with an air of complete plausibility. However, there is quite a lot of not-made-up science involved. Not enough to makes one's head spin, but enough to make me wish there was a bibliography at the back so I could explore the articles the author read on human hibernation and organ printing. Be certain that once the holiday season rolls around next, I will be sharing these true facts on Santa with anyone who will listen.
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on November 30, 2010
I enjoyed the heck out of it. The explanations are just plausible enough to keep my 8-year-old going for a couple more years and funny enough that it's a good read for adults. Who would have thought that Santa is from Brooklyn?
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