Wizards, Aliens, and Starships

Wizards, Aliens, and Starships

Physics and Math in Fantasy and Science Fiction

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"From teleportation and space elevators to alien contact and interstellar travel, science fiction and fantasy writers have come up with some brilliant and innovative ideas. Yet how plausible are these ideas--for instance, could Mr. Weasley's flying car in Harry Potter really exist? Which concepts might actually happen--and which ones wouldn't work at all? Wizards, Aliens, and Starships delves into the most extraordinary details in science fiction and fantasy--such as time warps, shape changing, rocket launches, and illumination by floating candle--and shows readers the physics and math behind the phenomena. With simple mathematical models, and in most cases using no more than high school algebra, Charles Adler ranges across a plethora of remarkable imaginings, from the works of Ursula K. Le Guin to Star Trek and Avatar, to explore what might become reality. Adler explains why fantasy in the Harry Potter and Dresden Files novels cannot adhere strictly to scientific laws, and when magic might make scientific sense in the muggle world. He examines space travel and wonders why it isn't cheaper and more common today. Adler also discusses exoplanets and how the search for alien life has shifted from radio communications to space-based telescopes. He concludes by investigating the future survival of humanity and other intelligent races. Throughout, he cites an abundance of science fiction and fantasy authors, and includes concise descriptions of stories as well as a glossary of science terms. Wizards, Aliens, and Starships will speak to anyone wanting to know about the correct--and incorrect--science of science fiction and fantasy"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Princeton :, Princeton University Press,, [2014]
ISBN: 9780691147154
Branch Call Number: 809. 38762 ADL
Characteristics: xi, 378 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
May 14, 2015

Light-hearted (which you don't expect from a physicist, which just goes to show that you shouldn't straight-jacket your expectations) of the physics behind fantasy and SF.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
Mar 13, 2017

abraham_8 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at CPL

To Top