Book:The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch
|The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch|
|Co-author(s)||Ian Stewart, Jack Cohen|
|Publication date||5 May 2005|
|All data relates to the first UK edition.|
Roundworld is in trouble again, and this time it looks fatal. Having created it in the first place, the wizards of Unseen University feel vaguely responsible for its safety. They know the creatures who lived there escaped the impending Big Freeze by inventing the space elevator – they even intervened to rid the planet of a plague of elves, who attempted to divert humanity onto a different time track.
But now it's all gone wrong – Victorian England has stagnated and the pace of progress would embarrass a limping snail. Unless something drastic is done, there won't be time for anyone to invent spaceflight and the human race will be turned into ice-pops. Why, though, did history come adrift? Was it Sir Arthur Nightingale's dismal book about natural selection? Or was it the devastating response by an obscure country vicar called Charles Darwin, whose bestselling Theology of Species made it impossible to refute the divine design of living creatures? Either way, it's no easy task to change history, as the wizards discover to their cost. Can the God of Evolution come to humanity's aid and ensure Darwin writes a very different book? And who stopped him writing it in the first place?
- The Auditors of Reality
- Charles Darwin
- The Wizards:
Cameos and Mentions
- Chair of Oblique Frogs, a wizard
- Professor of Revolvings, a wizard
- Sloman, former Archchancellor
Things and Concepts
- Thaumic Reactor
- Unseen University Mealtimes
Ebury Press hardback p139: The Auditors have created 21,309 separate reasons why Darwin fails to write The Origin of Species. As this has riled Ridcully to the point where it has become personal, Unseen University is scoured for every graduate wizard who can be found, given an assignment, and sent into Roundworld by Hex to reverse the malignities. Ridcully addresses them with
Shortly your missions for tomorrow, should you choose to accept them, will be given to you by Mr. Stibbons!
Straight out of "Mission: Impossible," except that in the case of the TV series and films, no blame or sanction attaches to the operator who refuses a mission. However, Ridcully adds: If you do not choose to accept them, you are free to choose dismissal!" and then shows he's really serious about this by cancelling Second Breakfast, as there is work to be done.
Later on in the book, when Darwin is being shown the secrets of the God of Evolution on Mono Island, he and Stibbons are treated to the sight of the aerodynamic blue whale, the mighty denizen of the skies. One is on the god's workbench, but two more are flying around in the great blue yonder inside the mountain, at such a height that clouds form indoors. (A nod to the storage hangars at NASA capable of containing an entire Saturn-V rocket, which are so necesarily tall that clouds form inside them.)
Whilst the god is trying to interest Darwin in the idea of a predator on the whales, namely the ground-to-air ballistic shark, one of the flying whales deflates and falls.
Is this "tribute plagiarism" to Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series of radio shows-turned-novels-turned-TV series-turned movies? In a climactic scene, a blue whale is called into existance several miles above the surface of the planet Magrathea, and has a jolly good time on the way down before being necessarily and suddenly deflated... it is not, however, clear whether the God of Evolution also does bowls of petunias.
Just a thought. The programme for the 2006 Discworld Convention reveals the synopsis of a completely different Science of Discworld III, in which the wizards visit assorted fictional Marses, culminating in the Discworld-universe's own version of Barsoom: a flat square planet, on the back of four thoats on the back of a giant zitidar, while Ankh-Morpork was invaded by the Martian tripods. (thanks to tvtropes)
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