cover image The Globe: The Science of Discworld II

The Globe: The Science of Discworld II

Terry Pratchett, with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen. Anchor, $15.95 trade paper (38

Pratchett and company return with another lively mix of science fact interwoven with wry fantasy world-building in this sequel to The Science of Discworld. When the wizards of Discworld's Unseen University accidentally created Roundworld%E2%80%94a version of our own Earth%E2%80%94they were so busy arguing about how the new universe worked that they didn't pay much attention to the people living in it. Now they're trying to make sense of these humans who don't have any magic but still believe in it, and somehow never manage to advance enough to keep themselves from getting wiped out by catastrophes such as asteroid impacts. The authors focus on the inner space of the human mind%E2%80%94the mental models we create, or "stories" we tell ourselves to explain the world%E2%80%94and how these stories shape our understanding of it. The discussion covers a broad array of topics and concepts, including Free Will, religious belief, the Anthropic Principle, entropy, and the necessity of Art in human development. This thoughtful, accessible, and sardonic look at the softer side of human evolution will convince readers of the power of a good story behind any endeavor. (Feb.)