Review of The Science of Discworld IV: Judgement Day – Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart & Jack Cohen

Posted: November 11, 2014 in fantasy, Review, science fiction
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The Science of Discworld IV

This is the fourth in The Science of Discworld series, and if you haven’t caught the gist by now, here it is: Roundworld science is explained by reference to Discworld magic/physical laws. Terry, Ian and Jack supply the text and try to expand on the Roundworld experiment that Hex, the Unseen University’s Magic Collider/Computer, created in the first place. This volume explores the doctrinal argument of what science has a right or duty to explore and whether religion can proscribe that right or duty. This makes the book more philosophical than the previous three in the series, and perhaps a bit more… I want to say turgid, but that is not the right adjective especially when dealing with Terry Pratchett… dry than the others.

The structure is much the same as the previous volumes, a chapter of story followed by a chapter of exposition on a concept raised in the story chapter. The story this time around is that of Marjorie Daw, a Roundworld librarian drawn into the theological argument brought on by the Omnians as to who owns the Roundworld experiment (and the artefact known as Roundworld). This debate is presided over by Lord Vetenari, which he handles with his usual caustic irony. Marjorie’s testimony on the witness stand may be invaluable to the Wizards’ cause, but it is completely overshadowed by a later witness’s.

For those who enjoy Pratchett/Stewart/Cohen in any combination, this a great book concerning the Church v. State debate. And the term “quantum” does make an appearance, much to the disappointment of Lord Vetenari. But these are modern times and he’d much rather you got your information of the case first hand via the book, rather than second hand via me.

Ebury Press

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Steve

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