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Science fiction starts with science and extrapolates possibilities. But how, and how often, does science fiction
influence the course of science and technology? Levy does an admirable job of teasing apart this relationship by
exploring the history of science fiction and tracing the origins of many ideas which came to dominate science over the
years: H.G. Wells envisioned the atom bomb and tanks, for example; credit cards were predicted in a work written in
1888; and Star Trek gave us ideas for 3D printing, telecommunications, and health apps. In some cases, science fiction
explores scientific ideas before they enter the mainstream. In others, people who grew up on science fiction work to
make those stories a reality. Much of what Levy illuminates is already well-known but there are some surprising
connections here, too. Most notably, he argues that telepresence (as portrayed in the movie Avatar) belongs to the
evolution of videophones. He presents information in an accessible and engrossing way, highlighting many
forgotten classic works of science fiction. This work should appeal to anyone who's interested in the history of
science, technology, and science fiction.
— John Keogh
YA/S: High school and even advanced middle school readers with an interest in science fiction and technology will
appreciate this accessible book. JK.
About the Author
JOEL LEVY is a writer and journalist specializing in science and nature. He is the author of more than a
dozen books, including A Curious History of Mathematics, Really Useful, and Newton's Notebooks. He has also written
features and articles for major national media and has appeared on numerous national television and radio shows.