Synopses & Reviews
Magic takes many forms. Supernatural magic is what our ancestors used in order to explain the world before they developed the scientific method. The ancient Egyptians explained the night by suggesting the goddess Nut swallowed the sun. The Vikings believed a rainbow was the gods bridge to earth. The Japanese used to explain earthquakes by conjuring a gigantic catfish that carried the world on its back — earthquakes occurred each time it flipped its tail. These are magical, extraordinary tales. But there is another kind of magic, and it lies in the exhilaration of discovering the real answers to these questions. It is the magic of reality — science.
Packed with clever thought experiments, dazzling illustrations and jaw-dropping facts, The Magic of Reality explains a stunningly wide range of natural phenomena. What is stuff made of? How old is the universe? Why do the continents look like disconnected pieces of a puzzle? What causes tsunamis? Why are there so many kinds of plants and animals? Who was the first man, or woman? This is a page-turning, graphic detective story that not only mines all the sciences for its clues but primes the reader to think like a scientist as well.
Richard Dawkins, the worlds most famous evolutionary biologist and one of science educations most passionate advocates, has spent his career elucidating the wonders of science for adult readers. But now, in a dramatic departure, he has teamed up with acclaimed artist Dave McKean and used his unrivaled explanatory powers to share the magic of science with readers of all ages. This is a treasure trove for anyone who has ever wondered how the world works. Dawkins and McKean have created an illustrated guide to the secrets of our world — and the universe beyond — that will entertain and inform for years to come.
"In this outstanding 'graphic science book,' evolutionary biologist Dawkins (The Selfish Gene) teams up with illustrator Dave McKean (The Graveyard Book) to examine questions in everyday science, such as: why seasons occur; what things are made of; and whether there's life on other planets. They explain the answers from mythological and cultural points of view before diving into the chemistry, biology, and physics — all in language that advanced middle school, or most high school, students can absorb. Rather than oversimplifying things, Dawkins's explanations demonstrate that life on earth is magical enough without tricks of the eye or supernatural theories. Appearing on every page, McKean's illustrations cover the gamut from prehistoric creatures along the evolutionary chain to a sequence showing how the immune system defends the body from a flu virus. This book may be exactly what's needed to increase science literacy for readers of all ages." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"I wanted to write this book but I wasn't clever enough. Now I've read it, I am" Ricky Gervais
"Exhilarating. The clearest and most beautifully written introduction to science I've ever read. Again and again I found myself saying "Oh! So that's how genes work!" (or stars, or tectonic plates, or all the other things he explains). Explanations I thought I knew were clarified; things I never understood were made clear for the first time. My favourite adjective of praise has always been 'clear,' and this book has clarity all the way through." Philip Pullman, author of The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ and the His Dark Materials trilogy
"I am often asked to recommend good books on science for young people. From now on, I will not have to hesitate. The Magic of Reality provides a beautiful, accessible and wide ranging volume that addresses the questions that all of us have about the universe, separating often too-little known facts from too-frequently believed fictions. For this reason it should be a powerful resource for people of all ages, written with the masterful and eloquently literate style of perhaps the best popular expositor of science, Richard Dawkins, and delightfully illustrated by Dave McKean. What more could anyone ask for?" Lawrence Krauss, Foundation Professor and Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University and the author most recently of Quantum Man, and A Universe from Nothing
Richard Dawkins teams up with illustrator Dave McKean (Coraline, The Graveyard Book) to write a graphic book examining natural phenomena.
Richard Dawkins’s The Selfish Gene
revolutionized the way we see natural selection. His blockbuster The God Delusion
provoked worldwide debate. Now this master science writer has teamed up with David McKean, a master of the graphic novel, to create a new genre: the graphic science book.
The Magic of Reality
Science is our most precise and powerful tool for making sense of the world. Before we developed the scientific method, we created rich mythologies to explain the unknown. The pressing questions that primitive men and women asked are the same ones we ask as children. Who was the first person? What is the sun? The myths that address these questions are beautiful, but in every case their beauty is exceeded by the scientific truth.
With characteristic clarity and verve, Dawkins uses each chapter to answer one of these big questions. Looking first at some of the myths that arose to answer the question, he then, with the help of McKean’s marvelous full-color illustrations, dazzles us with the facts. He looks at the building blocks of matter, the first humans, the sun — explaining the life and death of stars; why there’s a night and a day — ranging from our solar system to the inner workings of our planet; what a rainbow really is — going from the rainbow in your backyard to the age of the universe; and finally, he poses a question that still baffles scientists: When did everything begin? This is a frame-by-frame look at the infinite beauty behind everyday phenomenon.
About the Author
Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist, best selling author and outspoken atheist. He has established himself as a guru of evolution with the publication of books detailing and expanding upon Darwinian theory. Until his retirement this year, he was the Charles Simonyi Professor For The Understanding Of Science at Oxford University. He is the author most recently of The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution.
His other books include The Selfish Gene, The Extended Phenotype, The Blind Watchmaker, River out of Eden
(ScienceMasters Series), Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, The Devil's Chaplain, The Ancestor's Tale,
and The God Delusion.
Dawkins was Elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2001.The Galaxy British Book Awards named him Author of the Year in 2006 for The God Delusion, and in 2008 his TV program 'The Genius of Charles Darwin' won Best Documentary Series at the British Broadcast Awards. He was listed as one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2007.
In his role as the Charles Simonyi Professor For The Understanding Of Science at Oxford University, Dawkins regularly talked to the public regarding his views on the wonders of science.
Dave Mckean has illustrated many award winning comics and books, including The Big Fat Duck Cookbook (Heston Blumenthal), What's Welsh For Zen (John Cale), Varjak Paw (SF Said), The Savage and Slog’s Dad (David Almond), Arkham Asylum (Grant Morrison), The Homecoming (Ray Bradbury), Wizard and Glass (Stephen King), The Graveyard Book, Wolves in the Walls, Coraline, Mr. Punch, Signal to Noise and Crazy Hair (all by Neil Gaiman).
He has written and illustrated the graphic novel Cages and short story collection Pictures That Tick, and is working on a new novel (Caligaro) and second volume of short stories.
He has designed and illustrated well over a hundred cd covers for artists as diverse as Michael Nyman, Rolling Stones, John Cale, Alice Cooper, Bill Laswell, Bill Buford, Counting Crows, Iain Ballamy, Tori Amos and Frontine Assembly.
He has designed a Broadway Musical (Lestat), creatures for the Harry Potter films, advertising campaigns for Kodak, Nike, Smirnoff, BMWMini and the British Government, and exhibited in Europe, America and Japan.