Welcome to the home of popular science books and authors.

Any comments on the site? Thoughts for improvements? Let us know in the comments box on the About page. And you can comment on any of the reviews and features in the box at the bottom.

Recent Posts

Hal’s Legacy – David G. Stork (ed.) ***

For me, 2001 was the first (and still one of the only) science fiction films that comes close to being accurate in its science. And without doubt, the movie-stealing character Unknown(certainly the most emotionally ranging character) was the computer, HAL.

This is an old book, dating back to the late 1990s, but still fascinating in the way that it uses the different aspects of HAL to look at how the real technologies have developed in comparison with the way they were envisaged in the 1960s film. It’s in the format of a series of articles by different authors. Amongst my favourites was the AI overview by Marvin Minsky, who was on set part of the time (and nearly killed by a flying spanner) and the discussion of HAL’s game of chess, reflecting on the way he plays chess like a person, rather than in the manner of a chess-playing computer like IBM’s Deep Blue.

Inevitably it’s a bit dated in places – but surprisingly little, considering how computer technology has moved on since the late 1990s. Also it’s probably a touch too academic and obsessed with every fiddly detail to make it acceptable as a general read (which is why I’ve only given it three stars). But if, like me, you were overwhelmed at the time by 2001, and are still impressed by it, this is a book of delights.


Hardback (older edition):  

Review by Brian Clegg
  1. Enter for a free copy of Brian Clegg’s Final Frontier Leave a reply
  2. The Perfect Theory – Pedro G. Ferreira **** Leave a reply
  3. The Solar Revolution – Steven McKevitt and Tony Ryan **** Leave a reply
  4. Particle Physics: a very short introduction – Frank Close **** 1 Reply
  5. Paleofantasy – Marlene Zuk *** Leave a reply
  6. Tesla, inventor of the electrical age – W. Bernard Carlson **** Leave a reply
  7. Serving the Reich – Philip Ball **** Leave a reply
  8. Daniel Davis – Four Way Interview Leave a reply
  9. Superintelligence – Nick Bostrom *** 1 Reply