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The Science of Middle-Earth: Explaining The Science Behind The Greatest… (2004)

por Henry Gee

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Henry Gee, Senior editor for what many have called the most important magazine in science today - Nature - has written a spellbinding, fun, and accessible book explaining the scientific basis for how all that wizardy, sorcery, and magic really works in JRR Tolkien's fantasy epic, The Lord of the Rings and his other fictional books featuring Middle-earth. The author explores just how elves might be able to see much further than humans, why Frodo's sword turns blue at the sight of evil orcs, how the rings of power do their thing, and just about every other conundrum or piece of 'elvish magic' that have puzzled and delighted Tolkien fans for years. Throughout, Gee makes the point that science, fantasy , and nature are really more similar than one might think. Gee writes in a popular tone and style, fully explaining all science concepts and convincingly demonstrating how Tolkien's world of fantasy makes sense in a very real - scientific - way.… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente poroctoberdad, kaitlynn_g, TheTolkienist, Vanjo, jab2004
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It's a curious witty book. Really peculiar, but I liked it really much ( )
  norbert.book | Apr 19, 2020 |
The thing about Henry Gee is that he is a real scientist – not a populizer, not a science journalist - and he loves J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth. This book is a delight (for all Tolkien fans) both for its insights into Tolkien and the “origins” of Middle Earth, as well as for the scientific explanations.

Gee takes a many of features of Middle Earth - its denizens, its topography and its “technology” – and attempts explanations of the science possibly underlying them. In doing, so he is both faithful to the science that he represents and respectful of Tolkien’s conception of Middle Earth. When he cannot explain something – as with the “one ring” – he neither dismisses it as fantasy nor attempts a fictional way out; he simply admits that we do not yet know enough. In this way, he expounds on how Orcs came into being, the problem of the wings of the Balrogs, the acute sight and longevity of the Elves, how Frodo’s Mithril undershirt might have saved him from the troll’s spear, and many other Middle Earth topics.

In one memorable chapter, he identifies the theme of loss or diminution that pervades the Rings trilogy – loss of powers, reduction of peoples, lost skills – and relates this to both Tolkien’s personal and professional life, as a scholar of the “ancient, lost tongues of the north..his need for restitution was so great that he was driven.. to create new, lost languages.. and.. to invent a culture and mythology to go with them.”

Like all students of Middle Earth, Gee knows in his heart that, somewhere, somewhen , it really existed. This knowledge must be the motivation for his final chapter, in which he takes to task those who, like Richard Dawkins, “know” things so absolutely, that they simply cannot bear anyone else having different views of the world and of reality. How refreshing to hear another scientist try to knock that arrogant professor of “the public understanding of science” off his bully pulpit. It is surely no coincidence that the highlighted “blurb” on the rear of this book is a quote from Simon Conway Morris, professor of evolutionary paleobiology at Cambrige University. Conway Morris – less of a populizer than Dawkins and more of a real researcher – admiringly refers to how Henry Gee “..explores how the marvellous remains marvellous, but not fantastic.. “.

From now on, I will want to know every scientist’s Middle Earth credentials before taking them seriously. ( )
  maimonedes | Jun 10, 2008 |
A series of interconnected essays giving possible real-world scientific explanations for some of the phenomena in Middle Earth. Also an exploration of how the science of Tolkien's own time might have influenced the world he created. Not to be taken entirely seriously I think, but neither is it to be scoffed at. A good read, and certainly a different perspective to the great man's work. ( )
  stnylan | Aug 4, 2006 |
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by David Brin
We live in an era of both marvels and marvelous contradictions.
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I first came to Middle-earth at around the age of eight, when The Hobbit was read to my classmates and me.
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Henry Gee, Senior editor for what many have called the most important magazine in science today - Nature - has written a spellbinding, fun, and accessible book explaining the scientific basis for how all that wizardy, sorcery, and magic really works in JRR Tolkien's fantasy epic, The Lord of the Rings and his other fictional books featuring Middle-earth. The author explores just how elves might be able to see much further than humans, why Frodo's sword turns blue at the sight of evil orcs, how the rings of power do their thing, and just about every other conundrum or piece of 'elvish magic' that have puzzled and delighted Tolkien fans for years. Throughout, Gee makes the point that science, fantasy , and nature are really more similar than one might think. Gee writes in a popular tone and style, fully explaining all science concepts and convincingly demonstrating how Tolkien's world of fantasy makes sense in a very real - scientific - way.

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