The fourth book in the Science of Discworld series, and this time around dealing with THE REALLY BIG QUESTIONS, Terry Pratchett’s brilliant new Discworld story Judgement Day is annotated with very big footnotes (the interleaving chapters) by mathematician Ian Stewart and biologist Jack Cohen, to bring you a mind-mangling combination of fiction, cutting-edge science and philosophy.
Marjorie Daw is a librarian, and takes her job – and indeed the truth of words – very seriously. She doesn’t know it, but her world and ours – Roundworld – is in big trouble. On Discworld, a colossal row is brewing…
The Wizards of Unseen University feel responsible for Roundworld (as one would for a pet gerbil). After all, they brought it into existence by bungling an experiment in Quantum ThaumoDynamics. But legal action is being brought against them by Omnians, who say that the Wizards’ god-like actions make a mockery of their noble religion.
As the finest legal brains in Discworld (a zombie and a priest) gird their loins to do battle – and when the Great Big Thing in the High Energy Magic Laboratory is switched on – Marjorie Daw finds herself thrown across the multiverse and right in the middle of the whole explosive affair.
As God, the Universe and, frankly, Everything Else is investigated by the trio, you can expect world-bearing elephants, quantum gravity in the Escher-verse, evolutionary design, eternal inflation, dark matter, disbelief systems – and an in-depth study of how to invent a better mousetrap.
Half popular science essay and half fantasy tale, the final installment of the enjoyable Science of Discworld series sums up by updating topics from previous books while exploring the nature of our universe and the psychology of human belief. Ever since the wizards of Discworld's Unseen University accidentally created "Roundworld" aka Earth they've been befuddled and fascinated by this strange world that "swims through space" without the benefit of resting on four elephants and a giant turtle (unlike the perfectly normal, and quite flat, Discworld). After six years of protecting Roundworld from destruction in its own space, the wizards now face a Discworld-born threat: the Omnian church, which is certain that Discworld is spherical, has laid claim to Roundworld as vindication of their faith. The wizards' story chapters frame essays on science-related topics such as the Big Bang, particle physics, and the Anthropic Principle, as well as belief systems, creation myths, and the Flat Earth Society. While the fantasy frame here is weaker than those in previous books, the investigations of the late Pratchett's pragmatic wizards when they aren't distracted by the last chocolate biscuit on the tea tray provide a firm foundation for science coverage from mathematician Stewart and zoologist Cohen, reminding readers that "scientific revolutions don't change the universe. They change how humans interpret it."