The Science of Discworld IV: Judgement Day - Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen

The Science of Discworld IV: Judgement Day - Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart, Jack Cohen

I don't even know where to start with this. The Science of Discworld is a series within Terry Pratchett's Discworld series that interleaves a short story about the wizards of Unseen University with long chapters of science related to the concepts of the story. Usually, I love the Science of Discworld series, because, well, SCIENCE OF DISCWORLD!

But this one...

Mainly, I have problems with the fiction side, which takes up maybe a quarter of the book (yet Pratchett's name is the largest one on the cover. Go figure). The dialogue is forced, the characters all sound the same (who are these characters, anyway? Don't tell me this is Vetinari, because it categorically isn't), and the story feels truncated and inconsequential, which has never been the case before.

The science redeems it to some extent. Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen are both coherent writers, often amusing, if occasionally the slightest bit patronising. Unfortunately, the entire point of the book appears to be A Crusade Against Religion. Religion is bad, people!! It makes you blind!! BLIIND!! I wouldn't mind (well, I would), but Pratchett has made this point before, much more skillfully, in Small Gods and, to an extent, The Last Hero. Fiction often does a better job than scientific polemic. But not here, because Pratchett also has his characters deliver, severally, a number of uncharacteristic speeches about Why Religions Are Wrong. Oh, please go away. What happened to showing, not telling?