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The Science of Discworld II: The Globe (Science of Discworld #2)

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,141 Ratings  ·  91 Reviews
The acclaimed Science of Discworld centred around an original Pratchett story about the Wizards of Discworld. In it they accidentally witnessed the creation and evolution of our universe, a plot which was interleaved with a Cohen & Stewart non-fiction narrative about Big Science. In The Science of Discworld II our authors join forces again to see just what happens when ...more
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published (first published January 2002)
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Serge Boucher
May 30, 2013 Serge Boucher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Science of Discworld may be my favorite book series ever, and this book is probably my favorite in the series. Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen write about science, philosophy, the future of humanity, while Terry Pratchett tell us about wizards trying to make William Shakespeare write A Midsummer Night's Dream. The result manages to be hysterically funny while teaching a serious lesson about what makes us humans. I don't have the words to do this book half the honor it deserves.
The rise of the storytelling ape: Try enlivening a party with this question: "What's on your mind?" When the babble has become truly raucous, ask another: "How did it get in there?" This book is about those questions, how we came to consider them, and how we've tried to learn to understand them. Interleaving a fantasy story with analyses of scientific thinking about thinking carries certain risks. In the hands of this trio, however, the balance is successfully achieved. Don't be deceived by the ...more
I think I'll keep this at three stars. Maybe it's because, unlike the first one in this series, it touches on the mind, and hence the brain, and hence what I spend 12 hours a day thinking about. (Well, 12 hours of quite a lot - yeah, okay, some - of my days. Damn you, internet, and your possibilities for procrastination), and because I know a bit more of it, I'm less convinced by some of the arguments.

It could also be because this second installment of the Science of the Discworld series focuse
Dec 19, 2014 Jesus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What made humans so? Why do we believe that our religion/ideology/nationalism is the only right one among so many silly ones? Are we Homo sapiens (wise) or Homo narrans (story-teller)? ...
These questions and many others are discussed in the book, along a Discworld story, where the UU wizards try to mend their Roundworld experiment.
Mar 22, 2016 Cale rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're reading this for the Discworld portions, it's a bit disappointing - the Pratchett portions are for the most part uninspired, although it has some good Rincewind and Librarian moments. But it also borrows a lot from Shakespeare (and Neil Gaiman for the climax), as the wizards explore Roundworld to attempt to guide its culture.
The other half of the book is the non-fiction, as Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen explore humanity in similar detail to what they did with the universe in the first boo
I've read something like 35 of the Discworld novels, and this one is the least best of the lot.

Like Science of Discworld I, this is split into two alternating sections: one involving the wizards of the Unseen University, in this case attempting to influence the history and grown of human beings on the Roundworld and being opposed in this by the elves, and a second section of popular science.

I'm sorry to say that the popular science parts eventually go to the point where I was almost tempted to j
Mar 15, 2015 Laurie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a sad thing to review this book right after Sir Terry has passed away; sadder still that I have to say that I didn’t really like the book. It was okay; I read the whole thing without finding it a chore, but it wasn’t what I expected. I thought it might be a humorous book on how *Discworld* works, rather than our own.

There are four books in the Science of Discworld series; this is the only one I’ve read. The books are written in an alternating chapter format: Sir Terry writes the short, fic
Could anyone just read the alternate chapters -either set of alternates? The Discworld story illustrates the science and the science explains the science. This is a 3 author book, not one, but Mssr Stewart & Cohen are limited to the science chapters. This book takes us from Book I through the development of the human mind as part of the raise a human kit to the securing of Shakespeare as our great playwright. All of this to prevent humans from being taken over by the elves and made subject t ...more
Back in The Science of Discworld I the wizards of Unseen University created the Roundworld semi-accidentally as an experiment of sorts and as a way to soak up the excess energy cranked out by their reactor. In this follow up they start to play around with time travel while visiting Roundworld and discover a disturbing infestation of elves. Naturally when their tinkering gets rid of the elves their interference has had unforeseen consequences and the elf-free version of Roundworld features proto- ...more
Jan 22, 2015 Angelica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ma
While still filled with scientific facts, I've felt that this one is a lot more subjective than the first. Probably because it deals with culture, philosophy and religion, instead of astronomy and evolution. Most of it hit home, but I did find myself disagreeing on a few topics. Still, that did not, in any way, stop me from enjoying the book.
James Adams
Jan 22, 2016 James Adams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So what happens when the wizards of Discworld try to understand, and affect, the processes of Roundworld (our world)?
Fun, mostly.
As in it's predecessor, this book alternates between a narrative and a discussion of science. Last time, the science was primarily astronomical and geological. This time, Biology, anthropology and social sciences get a look in, and it is good.
The narrative involves the wizards finding out that the elves have invaded Roundworld, and vthen doing their level best to resol
Aug 16, 2015 Brendan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this a great read... as someone doing "communications" for a living, it was enlightening reading about the power of narrative.

"The anthropologists got it wrong when they named our species Homo sapiens ('wise man'). In any case it's an arrogant and bigheaded thing to say, wisdom being one of our least evident features. In reality, we are Pan narrans, the storytelling chimpanzee."

"Our minds make stories, and stories make our minds. Each culture's Make-a-Human kit is built from stories, and
D.L. Morrese
Apr 20, 2013 D.L. Morrese rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just reread this (because the fourth science of Discworld book should be released in the U.S. next month). While I found this second book a bit more of a slog than the first, it is an insightful commentary on how fiction can help create an environment where science can take hold.
Jessica Harmon
Jun 16, 2015 Jessica Harmon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, science
The wizards are at it again. Will Roundworld ever be free of Discworldian influence? Probably not. This book has the same pop science alternating with story as the first Science of Discworld book. And it was still enjoyable. Sometimes I thought the real science parts kinda dragged on because some of the facts were, not outdated, but no longer mind blowing since they have been a part of the science-minded crowd's knowledge base for so long. Also, I may have found Rincewind annoying in The Colour ...more
Jun 29, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, fantasy
Most of the faculty of Unseen University finds itself trapped on Roundworld, where Magic doesn't work. An SOS brings them some help, including the Librarian, but things are not going well on the world the wizards created--it's infested with Elves. And there's no way to defeat them that the wizards can discover. Until Rinceworld, reading one of the Librarian's books, decides that the presence on that world of one William Shakespeare would make all the difference...Meanwhile, alternate chapters by ...more
Pamela Hofman
I've decided to be a bit more honest about matching the number of stars I give to my actual reaction to reading a book, as opposed to what I think I should post, given the quality of the book, despite my experience with it.

I feel badly only giving "The Science of Discword II" only 3 stars because there were parts I did enjoy, and I appreciate the actual non-fiction information interspersed with the wizards' adventures. There is some fascinating background about the actual creation of the univers
Feb 09, 2008 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pratchett, science
Roundworld in is trouble....

In the previous book, the wizards of the Unseen University of Ankh-Morpork accidentally created our universe and our Earth. They were intrigued by a world so unlike theirs - one with no magic, which ran on physical laws rather than narrative imperative. They watched as life evolved, gained intelligence, and then was wiped out by an ice age or a comet or something. Until one clever species, probably a bunch of monkeys, figured out how to build a space elevator, escaped
Maurizio Codogno
Con qualche anno di ritardo, ho finalmente letto anche il secondo dei libri dello strano trio Pratchett / Cohen / Stewart, dedicato fondamentalmente a come si è sviluppata la specie umana non tanto come evoluzione - di quella se ne parlerà nel libro successivo - quanto come culture e usanze. Si va dalla definizione di cosa è il sé all'evoluzione, dall'extelligenza (la parte dell'intelligenza che viene trasmessa non con i geni ma mediante supporti esterni) al dualismo tra informazione e termodina ...more
Dane Cobain
May 13, 2013 Dane Cobain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A theory goes that there are infinite parallel universes which branch off every millisecond - in one, you wore your red top today, and in one, you went with blue. In one, you missed the bus, and in one, you caught it. In one universe, I start with the science, and in one universe, I start with the Discworld.

At the heart of the book is yet another beautifully crafted Discworld story written with usual finesse by Sir Terry Pratchett, in which the wizards of Unseen University inadvertently pay a vi
May 02, 2008 Nathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alternating fantasy chapters with hard science chapters, this book talks about the role of narrative and story in science and life on our "Roundworld". On Discworld, Pratchett's alternative fantasy universe, things happen because stories say they should--narrativium is a real element and so seventh sons have magical abilities instead of simply being small and picked on.

On the surface, things don't work like that on our world. But the authors make a convincing case that it's not so simple as that
May 05, 2015 Ronald rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, pratchett
I liked this book it contained an interesting story. Unfortunately at times the "science" portion of the book fell into the same trap that all philosophy of science books and articles fall (heck the same trap all philosophy falls into this trap). It took itself way to seriously and talk (well wrote) way to much in relation to the actual fiction it was commenting upon. I really would have liked to read a slightly more fleshed out version of the story that followed the usual suspects from Discworl ...more
Thomas Murphy
Sep 16, 2013 Thomas Murphy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: terry-pratchett
This wasn't what I was expecting when I first read it. As a lover of all things Discworldly, I was expecting a Discworld tale with some science thrown in whereas, in fact, it is very much the other way around.

The Science Of Disworld series actually comprise proper science books for the interested layman. Collectively, they examine the nature of what we know about our universe with reference to the fictional Discworld one. It covers abstruse mathematics, theories of evolution, the difference betw
In this second Science of Discworld book, the authors explore what it means to be human and how humanity got to where it has. The wizards are concerned because the Elves have invaded Roundworld and started messing about with humanity. Their experience on Discworld is that Elves are no good. But it turns out that without them on Roundworld it is a different story. Without the Elves influence, humanity is dull apes living in a midden heap. With their influence, you get cities with heads on spikes ...more
Sep 23, 2015 Brendan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't enjoy this book as much as the first TSoD book I read. At times I got bogged down and I'm not sure all their points were clear. However, when I got to the end I was glad that I stuck with it despite other criticisms I might have had about the book up until that point. So I guess my review can be summarized to: the authors are not immune to the human flaws they present in this book and they are (usually) aware of that fact. Read with an open-minded and withhold judgment until the last ch ...more
Nov 17, 2014 Zardwiz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Otra gran obra de Pratchet. Se me hizo un poco cuesta abajo leerlo, ya que la parte de ciencia se me hizo un poco pesada, pero no creo que sea un problema del libro, si no mas bien del lector. de todas formas es una obra que se disfruta y sirve para acercar algunas ideas a los neófitos.
Quizás lo mas importante es su planteamiento acerca de la ciencia y cual es su beneficio real de esta, sobre cualquier otro.
Aug 16, 2015 Kyrie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, science
I liked this one better than the first one in the series, mostly because it had More Discworld stuff and alternated well with the storyline about how our minds use stories to shape our history. I'd give it 3 1/2 stars if I could.

I think I could read darn anything written in any part by Pratchett. I just don't like some of the nonPratchett bits. I did like the parts about storytelling, so yeah, it was alright.
Apr 22, 2014 Ron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Much like the first Science of Discworld book it combines two of my favorite things, the silliness of a Terry Pratchett story with hard science. The book is set up so each chapter alternates between a Discworld story and then a detailed discussion of some science that was involved in the story. Topics cover, evolution, quantum physics, speed of light, multiverses, and memetics to name a few. Great fun for any science geek that enjoys Terry Pratchett's books.
The Globe is a mashup of a tale of wizards vs elves on Roundworld with philosophical discussions. There is a chapter of the tale followed by a discussion of art, brain development, the "lies" of education, etc. that is most relevant to the previous chapter. The tale is Ok, the discussion is thought-provoking so it all woks out in the end. Be warned that this is book two of The Science of Discworld. Two more volumes are in the pipeline.
Diana Malaspina
May 03, 2014 Diana Malaspina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Non posso recensire questo libro, così come non è possibile recensire uno qualunque dei libri di Terry senza sminuire il tutto. Posso solo dire che anche a trent'anni suonati Terry e i suoi compari mi portano ancora a scuola, impartendomi nozioni che vanno dalla fisica alla filosofia, persino alla biologia che ritenevo la mia materia, mostrandomi anche come queste non siano così distanti come tutti crediamo dalla narrativa. Perchè in fondo "human think in stories".
"The anthropologists got it wr
Apr 12, 2014 Marcus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not quite as wide-ranging as The Science of Discworld, but more in-depth (and occasionally confusing) about its particular subject, the story-oriented worldview of humans and how it took us from Pan Troglodytes to the authors' newly-minted phrase Pan Narrans, the storytelling chimpanzee. The interleaved fantasy story was fun, nice to see Rincewind getting most of the action and facing down the (view spoiler). If I recommended you the first in the series, and yo ...more
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Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe.

Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, including his first Discworld novel,
More about Terry Pratchett...

Other Books in the Series

Science of Discworld (4 books)
  • The Science of Discworld
  • The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch
  • The Science of Discworld IV: Judgement Day

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“The anthropologists got it wrong when they named our species Homo sapiens ('wise man'). In any case it's an arrogant and bigheaded thing to say, wisdom being one of our least evident features. In reality, we are Pan narrans, the storytelling chimpanzee.” 89 likes
“There are some laws that are coded into the very nature of the universe, and one is: There Is Never Enough Shelf Space.” 6 likes
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