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The Science of Superheroesby Lois H. Gresh
Synopses & Reviews
If the planet Krypton had a gravitational field strong enough to account for Supermans amazing strength, would it be possible to launch a rocket ship from the planets surface? Assuming that the Flash could actually travel at the speed of light, would any villain ever stand a chance against him? Could evolution actually produce X-Men?
The Science of Superheroes takes a light-hearted but clear-headed look at the real science that underlies some of the greatest superhero comic books of all time, including Spider-Man, Batman, the Fantastic Four, and many more. Each chapter presents the story of the origin of one or more superheroes and asks intriguing questions that lead to fascinating discussions about the limits of science, the laws of nature, and the future of technology.
If gamma rays cant turn a 128-pound weakling into the Incredible Hulk, what could? Are Spider-Mans powers really those of a spider? Could a person ever breathe water like a fish? From telepathy to teleportation, from cloning to cosmic rays, this vastly entertaining romp through the nexus of science and fantasy separates the possible from the plausible and the barely plausible from the utterly ridiculous.
Youll discover the connection between black holes and green lanterns; what Galileo could have told Professor Pym about the stresses caused by shrinking and growing; and how many of Batmans "inventions" anticipated actual technological developments such as the jet pack, unmanned aerial surveillance, and the optical laser. Youll even learn how comic book writers use "technobabble" to create seemingly credible explanations of improbable superpowers and bizarre events.
Packed with fascinating accounts of how these characters were developed, The Science of Superheroes celebrates the ingenuity and imagination of the writers and artists who created them and offers helpful suggestions on how the origin stories of certain characters could be made more believable. It offers immensely enjoyable and informative reading for anyone who loves science, superheroes, or both.
In the successful tradition of "The Physics of Star Trek" and the authors' own "The Computers of Star Trek", this book takes a lighthearted but no less learned look at superpowers and considers what is and isn't possible.
The truth about superpowers . . . science fact or science fiction?
"An entertaining and informative guide to comic book wonders bound to come."
—Julius Schwartz, Editor Emeritus, DC Comics
Superman, Batman, The X-Men, Flash, Spider Man . . . they protect us from evildoers, defend truth and justice, and, occasionally, save our planet from certain doom. Yet, how much do we understand about their powers?
In this engaging yet serious work, Lois Gresh and Robert Weinberg attempt to answer that question once and for all. From X-ray vision to psychokinesis, invisibility to lightspeed locomotion, they take a hard, scientific look at the powers possessed by all of our most revered superheroes, and a few of the lesser ones, in an attempt to sort fact from fantasy. In the process, they unearth some shocking truths that will unsettle, alarm, and even terrify all but the most fiendish of supervillains.
Lois Gresh (Rochester, NY) has written eight novels and nonfiction books as well as dozens of short stories and has been nominated for national fiction awards six times.
Robert Weinberg (Oak Forest, IL) is a multiple award-winning author of novels, nonfiction books, short stories and comics.
"I found this book to be a hoot from beginning to end. Ms. Gresh and Mr. Weinberg must have spent some time in institutions for the deranged, because well-balanced minds could not have conceived of this project. But thank God for their derangement, for they have produced a package of pure fun from first page to last. If, like me, you admire superheroes from a distance, or if you are a hardcore fan of them, you will enjoy this book as surely as you would enjoy waking one morning to discover that you are invincible, able to fly, and in possession of a totally cool costume behind which to hide your true identity." —Dean Koontz, from the Introduction
"We comics fans have known it for years, of course: somewhere, in some nether dimension or on some alternate world, there is an Earth on which superheroes are real, living, breathing beings . . . and now Lois Gresh and Bob Weinberg have shown us how that?s possible. Mutants . . . aliens . . . scientific geniuses with a penchant for wearing costumes and masks . . . or just plain Joes who?ve trained their bodies within an inch of their lives . . . all are probed, dissected, examined in loving details. To paraphrase an old DC Comics feature: Science says you?re wrong if you believe that The Science of Superheroes isn?t more fun than a barrel of genetically-altered winged monkeys." —Roy Thomas, writer and editor of X-Men, Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, Superman, Justice League of America, Legion of Superheroes, Star Wars, and many other comic book classics
"Weinberg and Gresh tell it like it is?? and how it would be, if our favorite comic book characters actually existed. The Science of Superheroes is a fascinating and entertaining examination of everything from astrophysics to genetic biology to the evolution of the "superhero." —Mark Powers, editor of X-Men and Uncanny X-Men
About the Author
LOIS GRESH has written dozens of suspense and science fiction stories, and has been nominated for national fiction awards six times. She is coauthor, along with Robert Weinberg, of The Computers of Star Trek.
ROBERT WEINBERG s fiction has been nominated for Hugo, World Fantasy, and Balrog Awards. He is a two-time winner of the World Fantasy Award as well as the recipient of a Bram Stoker Award. Weinberg also writes the comic book series Cable for Marvel Comics. He previously served for twenty-four years as chairman of the Chicago Comicon, the second-largest comic convention in the United States.
Table of Contents
A Word about the Law.
Introduction: Men of Steel, Feathers of Fury by Dean Koontz.
Chapter 1: More Powerful than a Speeding Locomotive: Superman.
The Superman Legend Begins.
What Makes Superman Super?
The Drake Equation.
A Question of Gravity.
Chapter 2: Rays--Cosmic and Gamma: The Fantastic Four and the Incredible Hulk.
A Fantastic Foursome.
Frankenstein's Monster--Marvel Style.
The Perils of Technobabble.
The GFP Hulk.
Chapter 3: The Dark Knight: Batman.
A NonSuper Superhero.
The Science of Batman.
The Gotham City Earthquake.
Chapter 4: Under the Sea: Aquaman and Sub-Mariner.
Our Aquatic Ancestors?
Talking to Fish.
Chapter 5: Along Came a Spider: Spider-Man.
With Great Power.
The Power of a Spider?
Clones, Clones, and More Clones.
Chapter 6: Green Lanterns and Black Holes: Magic, Science, and Two Green Lanterns.
Wanted: An Unlimited Power Source.
The Life and Death of Stars.
The Origin of Black Holes.
Chapter 7: Of Atoms, Ants, and Giants: Ant Man and the Atom.
The Square Cubed Law.
The Atom Exploded.
Chapter 8: Fast, Fast, Fast: The Flash.
Introducing the Flash.
Problems with Logic.
The Speed Barrier.
Chapter 9: Good, Evil, and Indifferent Mutants: The X-Men.
A Victory Snatched from the Ashes.
The Case for Evolution.
The Truth about Creationism.
Creating the X-Men.
Chapter 10: Mysteries in Space: Science Fiction Superheroes.
Super Science without Super Heroes.
The Secrets of Other Worlds, Exposed!
Doomsday on Earth.
Across the Ages.
The Grandfather Paradox.
Chapter 11: The Right Stuff: Donald Duck.
The Real Deal.
The Duck Man.
Appendix A: Who Missed the Cut?
Appendix B: The Professionals Speak.
Bibliography and Reading List.
What Our Readers Are Saying
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