Physics of the Impossible
In Isaac Asimov's book The Gods Themselves, energy is siphoned out of an alternate universe. In all Star Trek series and movies, people move from place to place using the transporter. In The Lord of the Rings Frodo disappears when he puts on the special ring. The Wizard of Oz has the Tin Man, a mechanical man, although not the robot we now think of. Arthur C. Clarke built a tower through our atmosphere to space in The Fountains of Paradise. Antimatter was hidden under the Vatican in Dan Brown's novel, Angels and Demons.
These authors all let their imagination wander into the realm of the impossible as they created these new worlds. And yet, the impossible may not be that far off after all. Noted physicist and author Michio Kaku used this book, Physics of the Impossible, to show that much of what has been in dreamers' imaginations could yet happen.
I had so much fun reading this book. I don't have a scientific bent. I avoided taking physics in high school. I have been happy reading science fiction knowing that it is fiction and part of someone's great imagination. I also know that science fiction has helped spark scientific advances which in turn spark a writer's imagination, taking science fiction further, taking science further, etc. It's one of those circles that isn't vicious. But I still didn't have too much insight into the real science behind much of true "hard" science fiction.
Now I have more. I didn't know there was a real inspiration for Jayne Ann Krentz' Arcane Society. Yet the Society for Psychical Research was established in London in 1882 and is still in existence. Ever since Star Wars came out in the late 1970's, fans have loved light sabers. Scientists have debunked them. But...the technology is now getting to a point where light sabers could be feasible. Except the problems of power - a light saber in it's current possibility would require a full-sized power plant. There's no battery close to being able to contain the power needed.
Michio Kaku has a writing style that is entertaining and easy for a non-techy like me to follow and understand. Yes, the actual science involved is beyond me. Yet Kaku makes it reasonable and comes close to making sense. I also enjoyed going "Oh, that concept was used in..." or "Well I didn't realize that could actually be possible..." or "Wow, look what was predicted in that book all those decades ago and now we have..."
This is a fascinating book, and I recommend it to any science fiction lover or the student of science and our future or anyone who is interested in how our world works. Physics of the Impossible shows that the impossible may not really be.
I thought about listing all the novels, movies, plays, television shows, etc. that are are mentioned in this book. Then I would add others that I thought of that are not mentioned. I'm sure I identified at least 30 titles before I decided that would be a huge task that would take time I could use doing other things, like reading more science fiction.
These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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