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The Science of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials - Mary Gribbin, John Gribbin

This is such an amazing book!


I loved the His Dark Materials trilogy (The Subtle Knife admittedly less than the other two, because it was less about Lyra being awesome and more about her deferring to Will) and this book made me love the series even more.


Mary and John Gribbin give some background information into the science of Pullman's stories. It's basically like reading bits of A Brief History of Time thrown into the series.

This book covers all three of Pullman's novels and has specific chapters for explaining each of the title instruments (the golden compass, the subtle knife, and the amber spyglass) along with other aspects of the series.


I really liked how easy to read this book was. The Gribbins take advanced concepts such as string theory, quantum mechanics, evolution, and entanglement and simplify them so they are more easily understood by young readers (and those of us who are not scientifically inclined).


This is a great read. The text in informative and often humorous. It is clear that the authors love the His Dark Materials series and it is easy to share in their enthusiasm for the story as well as the science behind it.


While the book was published in 2003, the concepts they discuss are still applicable today (plus the series was written in the 90s so the science is still relevant for Pullman's time period).


The book also contains an introduction by Pullman himself. In the introduction Pullman states, "Although I'm a science fan, I'm not fundamentally a scientist. I'm a storyteller. A genuine scientist would love the subject for itself; I think I love science for the stories that are told about it." I have never been able to put into words why I love science, but now Pullman has done it for me. This is a great book to interest young readers in science as well as storytelling.


Highly recommend for those who enjoyed the His Dark Materials trilogy and are fascinated by science.