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the Complete Review
the complete review - science

Imagined Worlds

Freeman Dyson

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To purchase Imagined Worlds

Title: Imagined Worlds
Author: Freeman Dyson
Genre: Science
Written: 1997
Length: 192 pages
Availability: Imagined Worlds - US
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Our Assessment:

B+ : clever and important, but too succinct.

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Astronomy A 8/97 .
Boston Globe . 11/5/97 Gerald Holton
The Guardian A 19/6/97 Tim Radford
Nature . 3/12/98 Oliver Morton
New Scientist . 26/7/97 Gregory Benford
New Statesman A 16/5/97 Colin Tudge
The NY Rev. of Books . 25/9/97 Timothy Ferris
The New Yorker A 20/10/97 .
Raritan B Spring 1998 George Levine
The Washington Post . 13/4/97 Rudy Rucker

  From the Reviews:
  • "As well as mind-boggling speculations, Imagined Worlds includes some good discussions of how science and technology relate to politics and ethics." - Rudy Rucker, The Washington Post

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       We are great admirers of the eminent Professor Dyson who looks, carefully and cleverly, to the future. This book grew out of a series of lectures Dyson gave in Jerusalem in 1995, and the only weakness is that there is so little and that he does not flesh out his arguments and examples more fully. Nevertheless, Dyson shows us how we should regard our position in this age, and what we might expect for the future. An important physicist he knows what he is talking about and he offers an interesting perspective in a reassuring tone. An important little book which we recommend.
       The historic examples Dyson chooses -- some familiar (nuclear power), some not (airships) -- of good ideas forgotten and bad ideas fostered -- make for entertaining and thought-provoking reading. Dyson pushes us to remember our history in order not to repeat these and similar mistakes.
       Five chapters -- Stories, Science, Technology, Evolution, Ethics -- allow Dyson to spin out unusual tales that illustrate his points and illuminate familiar questions from new vantage points. Dyson is always suggestive, allowing the reader to take his ideas and build on them. There are few musts here. Dyson knows how difficult prediction is, but he still manages to paint a vivid picture of what our futures -- near and distant -- might hold. Engagingly told, it is, like all of Dyson's work, a fine book.

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Imagined Worlds: Reviews: Freeman Dyson: Other books by Dyson under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Freeman Dyson is Professor Emeritus of Physics at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, he has written numerous works. He is also the father of Esther, who gets a lot of press of her own. In 2000 he was awarded the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion -- a payday worth almost a million dollars.

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