Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Review - How to Build a Time Machine

Hi all,

I finished the non-fiction book How to Build a Time Machine by Paul Davies a few weeks ago, but I have not had time, until now, to write a quick review of it.

It is a short book at some 135 pages (excluding the bibliography) and would be even shorter if some of the totally unnecessary drawings of people like Stephen Hawking were removed. But a short book is a good book for me at the moment as I struggle to finish reading another 760 page fantasy epic (another review next week maybe).

In places, I found it hard to understand the science Davies was describing, and I one of the small minority who actually read A Brief History of Time from cover to cover, and thought I understood it at the time. My science background is just year 12 physics at high school, which I did reasonable well at.

The main premise of the book is the feasibility of building a time machine by creating a wormhole. This would enable both forward and backwards time travel between the times at each end of the wormhole. The energy involved is massive, more energy then produced by our sun, so the likelihood of such an engineering feat is not great.

I, as well as others, have argued that if it was possible to travel into the past, then why aren’t those travellers here now and why hasn't someone from the broke, sweltering and seawater inundated world of the future come back and knocked off George W Bush before he stuffed up the world. Davies counters by saying that future time travellers will only be able to travel back to the time when a wormhole was created.

Having said I had trouble understanding some of the science, I also found that I was familiar with the concepts and ideas in other sections of the book.

I did get one idea for a story out of reading How to Build a Time Machine.

Overall, I would recommend this book to a reader who knows a bit about science who has not read much about the concept of time travel.


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