Physics, Metaphysics, and Poetry. I read the Audible version of this while driving to my hometown in another State (a solid book for such a mid-distance, 6 ish hr drive) and thus had the unique pleasure of having Alan Turing himself (as played in The Imitation Game and read here by Benedict Cumberbatch) lecture me on theoretical physics, metaphysics, philosophy, and poetry. If you’re looking for a more concrete look at the exact theoretical physics at hand… this isn’t the book you’re going to want to pick up. If you’re looking for more of an easy-read, high-level, pop science level look at whether or not time exists… this is a very good book from that perspective. And indeed, ultimately the text is all about perspective. At the most distinct levels, time simply does not exist, according to Rovelli. And yet obviously we humans experience time. So how can these two prior statements be resolved? Read this book for Rovelli’s solid examination into the question and attempt at resolving this seeming paradox. Very much recommended. Particularly the Audible. 🙂
Intriguing Theoretical Astrophysics. If it wasn’t clear from the description of this book, this book is *all about* theoretical astrophysics and the author’s new theory of the origins and nature of time. If words like Newtonian and General Relativity and Leibniz and thermodynamics are part of your every day lexicon, you’ll probably enjoy reading this. For the rest of us… at least there isn’t much math involved in the actual text here? Specifically of the Calculus variety, which gives even many math-oriented people the heebie jeebies? Truly an intriguing work, but I’ll be the first to say that I didn’t fully follow or comprehend all of it – it is simply that high level. Even though Barbour tries to use narrative examples and structures designed to allow most anyone to have some idea of what is going on, at the end of the day this is still advanced theoretical astrophysics, of the kind that even Stephen Hawking wrestled with. While others more learned in the actual science may find fault here, for what it is I could find none. Very much recommended.
Infinite is easily Robinson’s most mind-bending work yet. With his masterful as always story telling, he introduces concepts that lead you to question everything about… well, everything. Admittedly written during times when he was going through some pretty intense drama in his real life, Robinson turns his own questions into one of his all around best works yet. While other Robinson works have had better focus on action and adventure, and there is still plenty of that here (including an opening scene of our protagonist being repeatedly killed), this book uses the action to set the space (literally) for the questions to be explored. And this, to my mind, is what contributes to it being all the stronger for it. There is still the great deal of escapism that we have come to expect from Robinson, yet there is also the much deeper questioning, should we decide to go there in our own heads.
And the ending… well, that might be the single most mind bending part of the entire story.