Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fringe Science edited by Kevin R. Grazier

Book Details
Fringe Science edited by Kevin R. Grazier
Paperback, 256 Pages
2011, Smart Pop
ISBN: 1935618687

Fringe has always been more than the sum of its parts—but its parts, too, are worth a closer look. The show combines a surfeit of mad science, some old-school sci-fi flair, and a dash of strawberry-milkshake whimsy to create the challenging, fascinating Pattern that keeps us coming back season after season and universe after universe.

Now, in Fringe Science, cutting-edge scientists, science writers, and science fiction authors and historians provide a smart, savvy, and accessible look at the world(s) of Fringe.
  • MIT physics professor Max Tegmark illuminates the real-life possibilities of parallel universes
  • Stephen Cass, founding editor of Discover's Science Not Fiction blog and a Senior Editor with Technology Review, unravels Fringe's use of time travel
  • Award-winning science fiction historian Amy H. Sturgis walks us through the show's literary and television ancestors, from the 1800s on
  • Television Without Pity staff writer Jacob Clifton looks at the role of the scientist, and scientific redemption, through the ever-shifting role of Massive Dynamic
  • Garth Sundem, bestselling author of Brain Candy, explores the mysterious way that memory works, from why Walter forgets to how Olivia remembers
  • And more, from lab cow Gene's scientific résumé to why the Observers should be wearing white lab coats
Immediately after reading Fringe Science I had an almost undeniable urge to re-watch the TV series it is based upon. That's a sign of a fantastic pop culture book. Having read many essays about varying aspects of the show, all I wanted to do was dive back into that world.

Fringe has a lot going on - on many levels. No matter if an episode is focusing on the past, the present, interpersonal relationships or the alternate universe, science always comes into play. Even the most outlandish of episodes is based in scientific possibility if not probability. Fringe Science looks deeper at the science involved in the show and though multiple essays examines aspects of the show.

I love when books like this manage to educate through pop culture. Taking a closer look at Fringe using examples and scenes from the show, the essayists teach the reader about science fiction as a genre, diseases, memory and the possibility of time travel among other topics. My one complaint is about the essay entitled "Parallel Universes." Unlike the rest of the essays in Fringe Science, Parallel Universes was all science, devoid of even the slightest Fringe reference. While any fan of the show can read this essay and tie it to the show in their own way, the essays are more entertaining and effective when we know exactly how the author is relating the topic.

Some complicated concepts are discussed in the book, but unscientific readers won't be lost. For the most part, ideas and theories are explained clearly and fully, on a basic level. Not only will the book educate the reader about some less often discussed scientific theories, but it will also help fans better understand the possibilities of certain fringe events when viewing the show. Fringe Science is wonderful and a must read for any Fringe fan.


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