Imagined Worlds – Freeman Dyson

After finishing Judas Unchained by Peter F. Hamilton (which I’ll review at some stage) I’ve decided to go on a bit of a non-fiction book spree since Judas Unchained was so huge and time consuming. I miss my dose of pop science.

First up was a book I found in the library by Freeman Dyson. I had little knowledge about Freeman. I knew he was a futurist and that the Dyson Sphere was named after him. That’s about it.

The book goes on to describe Tolstoyan vs. Napoleonic scientific research. Tolstoyan science is chaotic with many different theories and participants working in loose groups, whereas Napoleonic science is that of the huge government porjects – rigorously structured, bureaucratic, and expensive. Not only that, but napoleonic often leads to failure due to the influence of politics.

I was also rather surprised by Freeman’s quite scathing view of science. Mainly due to science’s influence in widening the gap between rich and poor and he calls for an application of ethics to guide or projects and endeavours.

I wasn’t overly amazed by the book, but it was a quick read and held some interesting stories about failed scientific projects over the last century (all Napoleonic in nature). I think it was aimed at a more general audience then I’m used to.


#1   Bob on 02.24.06 at 3:18 pm

The ending to JU was a bit of a let down for me – I was expecting the customary 2nd book climax! Hmm… I guess it was kind of a triology if you include Mispent Youth.

#2   Joel on 02.24.06 at 6:23 pm

Ahh, yeah… I kinda forgot about the relationship to Mispent youth.

I didn’t find the ending too bad, seemed to nicely tidy up the loose ends and all. I did however feel that the planet’s revenge wasn’t that big off a climax… it was them all being limited to what they had, no epic space battles for them!

#3   Jungle Rhino on 02.26.06 at 3:11 am

The ending was still cool though because it had all the ‘ard core wet wired dudes who are just totally sweet. Man I wanna be like that when I grow up…

Still all that BS with Ozzie was a bit lame. I suspect it would have been far better if Peter F. Hamilton had chewed some cardboard squares while writing that section. Hmmm actually he should of just asked William Buroughs to do that bit for him.

Still I love the bit where Nigel is talking to the Navy dude and the Navy dude is like “So Nig what’s on that ship?” Then Nigel is like “Oh it’s carrying an IMPROVED quantm buster” and the Navy dude is like “WTF. How the hell could you improve one of those damn things!!!”

#4   Joel on 02.26.06 at 1:00 pm

yeah, the wet wired-ness was awesome. I was watching Aeonflux yesterday in the movies and I was thinking “Man, they really need to make a hardcore wetwired battle in some movie”.

I actually think I have a rather good idea for a movie that would involve alot of that. Has to do with the civil unrest which will start when we begin creating intelligent machines and can upgrade our bodies mechanical and biologically.

The Ozzie bit wasn’t too bad. The worst part of it was that it draaagged on for so long. By the end I had forgotten why Ozzie even went on his little quest!

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