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Author Topic: Book Recommendations on Science for the not Scientifically Inclined?  (Read 6018 times)
Juni
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« Topic Start: May 07, 2010, 03:35:42 pm »

Let me first say that I am terrible at science. Really, really terrible. Science and I have never gotten along.

I am trying to build a scientifically plausible world for my multiple series of novels to take place on. The series span about 5,000 years of history and take place all over the world, so I need to understand ocean tides and earthquakes and weather patterns and such. I don't have a clue where to start.

So if you could recommend any books or websites that someone who knows nothing about science could understand that will help me, I would be eternally grateful. Thanks!!
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« Reply #1: May 07, 2010, 04:24:10 pm »


We've got two books lying around here that could apply - Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything and The Science of Discworld by Pratchett, Stewart and Cohen. Both are written to entertain and are thus easy reads with pretty decent introductions into science, but both also take the occasional shortcut that may not be quite technically correct.

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RandallS
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« Reply #2: May 07, 2010, 04:45:03 pm »

I am trying to build a scientifically plausible world for my multiple series of novels to take place on. The series span about 5,000 years of history and take place all over the world, so I need to understand ocean tides and earthquakes and weather patterns and such. I don't have a clue where to start.

Here is a list of online materials (and books) on SF/F worldbuilding:

http://www.specficworld.com/resources/world.aspx
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« Reply #3: May 07, 2010, 10:15:27 pm »

Let me first say that I am terrible at science. Really, really terrible. Science and I have never gotten along.

I am trying to build a scientifically plausible world for my multiple series of novels to take place on. The series span about 5,000 years of history and take place all over the world, so I need to understand ocean tides and earthquakes and weather patterns and such. I don't have a clue where to start.

So if you could recommend any books or websites that someone who knows nothing about science could understand that will help me, I would be eternally grateful. Thanks!!

Well, people may hate me for linking to the Black Hole of the Internet, but if you read through the Hollywood Science index on TV Tropes, you'll come up with a lot of mistakes that authors often make, and sometimes ways to avoid them.  They're all written by nerds, so I trust most of the information on there, but double-checking is recommended.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HollywoodScience

But that's only in relation to works of fiction and fantasy, so there's probably better info out there.  I just find TV Tropes a good place to start off from.
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« Reply #4: May 07, 2010, 10:36:48 pm »

I just find TV Tropes a good place to start off from.

Except for the 'blink and your whole day has disappeared' factor, that site is great.  Somebody who wanted a crash course in western culture could just pick a page and start reading.  After all, those tropes wouldn't work the way they do if they didn't reflect 'us' and our variants of human nature.

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« Reply #5: May 07, 2010, 10:39:12 pm »

Except for the 'blink and your whole day has disappeared' factor, that site is great.

That should be a site disclaimer, because it's so true. TV Tropes has sucked up countless hours of my life.
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« Reply #6: May 10, 2010, 03:40:46 am »

So if you could recommend any books or websites that someone who knows nothing about science could understand that will help me, I would be eternally grateful. Thanks!!

Not geared towards worldbuilding but a good read anyway: The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science by Natalia Angier. She writes for the New Yorker, so it's very accessible.
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« Reply #7: May 10, 2010, 01:31:42 pm »

Here is a list of online materials (and books) on SF/F worldbuilding:

http://www.specficworld.com/resources/world.aspx

Whoa. A world-building resource site I haven't seen yet. That alone is pretty amazing. Thanks for the link, Randall!
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« Reply #8: May 10, 2010, 01:44:46 pm »


Thanks for the links and recommendations, everyone! Smiley
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« Reply #9: May 10, 2010, 06:33:36 pm »

Let me first say that I am terrible at science. Really, really terrible. Science and I have never gotten along.

I am trying to build a scientifically plausible world for my multiple series of novels to take place on. The series span about 5,000 years of history and take place all over the world, so I need to understand ocean tides and earthquakes and weather patterns and such. I don't have a clue where to start.

So if you could recommend any books or websites that someone who knows nothing about science could understand that will help me, I would be eternally grateful. Thanks!!


Ironically, I would recommend Earth Science (textbook) by Edward J. Tarbuck. It's filled with all sorts of basic info on plate tectonics, different types of rocks, some oceanography, and they even found a way to throw in some astronomy. It's a book usually recommended for intro Earth Science classes, but from experience I can say it's readable. You can do a search for that on Amazon and it will show up on the first page, if not at the top.

I took an Earth Science class for the same reason as you started this thread (well, that and they made me take a science course anyway). Hopefully you'll end up enjoying this book (if you choose to check it out), but even if you read through it and don't like it, you'd still be able to take something worthwhile out of it.
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« Reply #10: May 10, 2010, 08:24:17 pm »


Ooh, thanks! The reviews look great. Smiley Being under $10 is nice, too!
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« Reply #11: May 11, 2010, 06:31:11 pm »

Ooh, thanks! The reviews look great. Smiley Being under $10 is nice, too!


If you're lucky, it may still come with the "lab book", and you could do little experiments with each different field if you so desired. That way, you'll be able to tell all your friends about the differences between igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks the next time you're at a party.

The best part is this earth science book also teaches how to measure the surface of the moon. In fact, that was the best lesson I learned in Earth Science class; that I would have done better in an astronomy class!   Tongue
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« Reply #12: November 28, 2010, 11:47:46 am »

I am trying to build a scientifically plausible world for my multiple series of novels to take place on. The series span about 5,000 years of history and take place all over the world, so I need to understand ocean tides and earthquakes and weather patterns and such. I don't have a clue where to start.

No books or websites really, but perhaps a science museum is a place to visit some time? You know, the ones aimed at kids, with all kinds of stuff to see and try and do and lots of interactive video displays. They usually cover things like tidal motion, vulcanic eruptions, magnetism, electricity, various types of biology, the working of your senses, small psychological experiments etc. Also different mechanical inventions. Seeing it is different from just reading about it. And if you'd feel weird going alone, borrow some neighbouring kid and take him/her along. Smiley
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