Mark Reads ‘The Science of Discworld IV’: Prologue / Chapter 1

In the first chapter of Judgment Day, the wizards mess everything up. Because that’s what they do. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Science of Discworld. 

It is very strange to me that the end of this is so near. This is it! This is the final of the Science of Discworld books, and the prologue to this was a wonderful trip down memory lane. I am glad that someone—I’m not quite sure who—emailed me and my assistant at the time to make sure that these books were put on the schedule. I wouldn’t normally read books like this for Mark Reads, but that’s been part of the fun in reviewing them. They’re a challenge! I have to think about analysis and storytelling in a different way because this isn’t my normal style. Even if they aren’t as popular in terms of comments or views as “regular” Discworld reviews, I still get a lot out of discussing them with all of you and LEARNING COMPLICATED SCIENCE THINGS.

So, it is with that said that I begin a new journey, this time through a Science book that’s titled Judgment Day. The epigraph hints at themes of perception, imagination, and the clash between religion and science. Plus, the two quotes from Small Gods are immediately dealt with in the prologue, since the authors take us on a journey of creation, explaining how Roundworld was constructed with little to no sense. I commented this on video, but I loved the reversal of who is centered in this. The Disc is the logical world, constructed in a way so that no one falls off the bottom, and there’s proper support, AND everything makes way more sense then our nonsensically designed world that has to spin? And tilt? And there’s this weird magic glue that keeps us stuck to it so we don’t go flying off into space??? WHO DESIGNED THIS.

Oh, right. The Dean. It’s kinda his fault, or at least The Dean turned it all on. And gods bless this line:

There have been a few mishaps along the way, but the Roundworld universe has now been running fairly successfully for thirteen and a half billion years; all of it started by an old man with a beard.

GODDAMN IT, THIS JOKE IS TOO GOOD. Anyway, was anyone else thrown off (in a good way!) but what is now the first canonical mention of social media in a Discworld book??? I know that there’s a tenuous connection to canon here, but still: Twitter! Twitter is mentioned in this book! Oh god, y’all, it makes me sad that we lost Pratchett so early; could you imagine if he got to write a book about social media coming to the Discworld??? Maybe something utilizing the clacks? FANFICTION PROMPT, please run off and let this inspire you, friends. 

This whole introduction leads to the Great Big Thing, which every university must have, apparently? See, I thought the Roundworld experiment was their Great Big Thing. None of the other academic facilities have THAT, you know? A whole world! That has living organisms on it! That they can travel to if needed! (Which I’m assuming will be a thing in this book, too. But what’ll be the impetus? Why is this called Judgment Day?) But it’s not good enough, and thus Ponder Stibbons begins working on the Challenger Project, which took SIX YEARS to complete, and what amounted from all that work?

It was, in fact, a rather amorphous blob that seemed to twist magical equations with arcane symbols and squiggles that clearly meant something to those who knew about such things. 

There’s something uniquely funny about the fact that Vetinari is involved in this book. Usually, we just stick to the wacky and chaotic world of the wizards at Unseen University, but now, the one person who hates chaos the MOST has been wrapped up in something terrible. I feel like the Challenger Project is a reference to the Large Hadron Collider, since there were many people who believed that once it was turned on, it would create a black hole and we’d all die. (I believe that was the story? Please correct me if I’m wrong.) Which… might have happened? What did the wizards do? How mad is Vetinari going to be if he actually ended the world? 

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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