Science and Fiction

All the Wonder that Would Be

Exploring Past Notions of the Future

Authors: Webb, Stephen

  • Looks at exciting SF predictions of the past and what has become of them
  • Explains how predictions were rooted in the scientific orthodoxy of their day
  • Shows how ideas popularized in SF subsequently influenced working scientists  
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About this book

It has been argued that science fiction (SF) gives a kind of weather forecast – not the telling of a fortune but rather the rough feeling of what the future might be like. The intention in this book is to consider some of these bygone forecasts made by SF and to use this as a prism through which to view current developments in science and technology.

In each of the ten main chapters - dealing in turn with antigravity, space travel, aliens, time travel, the nature of reality, invisibility, robots, means of transportation, augmentation of the human body, and, last but not least, mad scientists - common assumptions once made by the SF community about how the future would turn out are compared with our modern understanding of various scientific phenomena and, in some cases, with the industrial scaling of computational and technological breakthroughs.

A further intention is to explain how the predictions and expectations of SF were rooted in the scientific orthodoxy of their day, and use this to explore how our scientific understanding of various topics has developed over time, as well as to demonstrate how the ideas popularized in SF subsequently influenced working scientists.

Since gaining a BSc in physics from the University of Bristol and a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Manchester, Stephen Webb has worked in a variety of universities in the UK. He is a regular contributor to the Yearbook of Astronomy series and has published an undergraduate textbook on distance determination in astronomy and cosmology as well as several popular science books.

About the authors

Since gaining a BSc in physics from the University of Bristol and a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Manchester, Stephen Webb has worked in a variety of universities in the UK. He is a regular contributor to the Yearbook of Astronomy series and has published an undergraduate textbook Measuring the Universe - The Cosmological Distance Ladder (1999) as well as several popular science books, among them  Out of this World - Colliding Universes, Branes, Strings, and Other Wild Ideas of Modern Physics in 2004, New Eyes on the Universe - Twelve Cosmic Mysteries and the Tools We Need to Solve Them in 2012, and, in 2015, the second edition of If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens ... WHERE IS EVERYBODY? Seventy-Five Solutions to the Fermi Paradox and the Problem of Extraterrestrial, published as part of Springer’s Science and Fiction series.

Table of contents (12 chapters)

  • Introduction

    Webb, Stephen

    Pages 1-42

  • Antigravity

    Webb, Stephen

    Pages 43-66

  • Space Travel

    Webb, Stephen

    Pages 67-94

  • Aliens

    Webb, Stephen

    Pages 95-118

  • Time Travel

    Webb, Stephen

    Pages 119-149

Buy this book

eBook n/a
  • ISBN 978-3-319-51759-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
Softcover n/a
  • ISBN 978-3-319-51758-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
All the Wonder that Would Be
Book Subtitle
Exploring Past Notions of the Future
Authors
Series Title
Science and Fiction
Copyright
2017
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright Holder
Springer International Publishing AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-51759-9
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-51759-9
Softcover ISBN
978-3-319-51758-2
Series ISSN
2197-1188
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIII, 344
Number of Illustrations and Tables
9 b/w illustrations, 71 illustrations in colour
Topics