The Science of Science Fiction by Mark Brake

The Science of Science Fiction: The Influence of Film and Fiction on the Science and Culture of Our Times  - Mark Brake

TITLE:  The Science of Science Fiction: The Influence of Film and Fiction on the Science and Culture of Our Times


AUTHOR:  Mark Brake




FORMAT:  ARC ebook


ISBN-13:  9781510739369


NOTE: I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.



In "The Science of Science Fiction", Mark Brake explores how science fiction has driven science and ultimately shaped the world we live in, and how it may possibly shape the future.  The book is formatted into numerous short chapters that attempt to answer questions suggested by a variety of science fiction novels and movies, in terms of current scientific knowledge.  This makes it a great book for dipping in and out or when you only have short periods to squash a reading session into.

The book is separated into 4 categories:  Space; Time; Machine; and Monster.  Topics covered in the book include  various astrobiology questions involving aliens, parallel worlds, time travel, life in the universe, wormholes, quantum physics, space exploration, colonising Mars and the Moon, space travel, space tourism, cybernetics, flying cars, cyberspace, robots and artificial intelligence, the internet, state surveillence as described in 1984 by George Orwell, genetic engineering, superpowers (X-men, spiderman), supersoldiers, cloning, androids, and a whole lot more.

I found this an entertaining and well-written book, but rather superficial in terms of the science covered.  I really would have liked more science, but then this is a book exploring how science fiction influenced science and not a science book. However, the book did provide several interesting factoids such as "[Johannes] Kepler, who also wrote science fiction, used the power of imagination to conjure spaceships over 350 years before men landed on the Moon."  Who knew that the 17th century mathematician and astonomer also wrote science fiction?  

NOTE:  This book refers heavily to science fiction novels and movies, so those not interested at all in science fiction might feel a bit lost.  But it is a great introduction to other science-fiction novels/movies and how science fiction encourages scientific research and our modern world.