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The Science of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.


The science of The Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy.

Hanlon, Michael.

Palgrave Macmillan


195 pages




It has to be said that there was actually quite a bit less science in the Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy than in many other science fiction novels. What was in the books, however, were a number of whimsical and frequently silly ideas sending up the science fiction genre that are likely to still resonate with the novel's legions of fans. Hanlon (science editor at the Daily Mail, UK) uses a number of these ideas to explicate for a general audience some basic scientific ideas. For instance, the last thought of the poor whale called into existence in the middle of the air by the Infinite Improbability Drive--"And wow! Hey! What's this thing suddenly coming towards me very fast? Very very fast. So big and flat and round it needs a big, wide-sounding name like...ow...ound...round...ground! That's it! That's a good name--ground. I wonder if it will be friends with me?"--is used as an opening to a discussion of the nature of probability. Other topics include the possibility of alien life, the cosmology of the beginning and end of the universe, time travel, computing, the existence of god, machine translation, and genetic engineering.

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Publication:SciTech Book News
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 2006
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