Tag: Science

Dan Brown – Origin | Review

Title: Origin

Author: Dan Brown

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 473

Rating: 3.25/5

You know what you’re getting with Dan Brown, at least to a certain extent, although I do feel as though in this one, there were fewer twists and turns and a lot of the plot was more linear. There was also a twist at the end which was pretty easy to figure out, although I will admit that the motives had passed me by. It happens!

The main problem that I had with this book is that something happened at the end of the last book which really ought to have had repercussions. Instead, it wasn’t even mentioned. I guess that makes sense given Brown’s style, because he tries to make each of his books function as a standalone. And in all fairness, this one does work as a standalone – as long as you haven’t read the one that comes before.

What was cool was the way that this investigated artificial intelligence. Brown’s portrayal of it wasn’t particularly realistic, especially at the time it was first published, but if we give it ten or twenty years, we might not be far off it. There were also some interesting ideas about the ultimate fate of humanity – or to quote the book, “Where do we come from? And where are we going?”

They’re some pretty important questions, and I thought it was interesting to see how Brown – and his characters – approached them. I’m not sure whether I agree with their conclusions, or whether the science involved is even possible, but it was still a pleasant journey to go on. Sure, I got infuriated from time to time by Brown’s writing style, in which he sets up a mystery and then takes a dozen chapters to reveal the actual answer, but it also did its job and kept me reading.

What I would say is that it’s worth going out of your way to get a paperback copy if you can. I had the hardback and it was difficult to hold while I read reading it. Admittedly this is totally a firstworld problem and not one that everyone would have, but it did bug me a little bit and hamper my enjoyment. Actually, this may be one of those rare books where it would work better as an e-book or an audio book than when it’s physically in print.

All in all then, I’m glad that I finally picked this up, if only because I’m a completionist and I’ve read all of Brown’s other books. I’ll probably pick the next one up too, assuming there is one, but I won’t be pre-ordering it. I’ll try to grab it from a charity shop if I can. I’ve got to be honest, I fancy my chances. And that’s about all I’ve got.

Learn more about Origin.

 


Richard Dawkins – The Magic of Reality | Review

Title: The Magic of Reality

Author: Richard Dawkins

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 272

Rating: 3.5/5

This book is a bit of a weird one because it takes the form of a series of responses to questions, and so every chapter in the book is based upon a question like, “When and how did everything begin?” It’s a pretty simple setup that allows Dawkins to tackle some of the bigger questions that people have, but it does also mean that it feels as though something’s somehow lacking.

Don’t get me wrong, the science was solid and Dawkins made his arguments well, and I do feel that I’ve learned a bunch of stuff here. At the same time, it feels a bit like he’s set out to try to explain everything and then settled for just a few frequently asked questions. I’m not sure what he could have done differently though, because if the book was two or three times the length, it would have ended up feeling long and drawn out.

Still, it was a pretty good way to keep my brain trained and to learn a few new lessons about science and stuff. This isn’t necessarily the best non-fiction science book on the market, but I polished it off in 24 hours or so and was happy with it, even if it was just okay. After all, I’m slowly working my way through everything that Dawkins has ever written, and this is probably one of the most approachable. All in all, I’m glad I read it and maybe you’ll like it too.

Click here to learn more about The Magic of Reality.