The Science of Science Fiction

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Product Details

$22.95  $21.34
Nomad Press (VT)
Publish Date
7.9 X 0.5 X 10.1 inches | 1.0 pounds

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About the Author

Matthew Brenden Wood is a math and science teacher with a passion for STEAM education. An avid amateur astronomer and astrophotographer, Wood holds a bachelor's degree in astronomy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and lives in Phoenix, AZ. Tom Casteel is a cartoonist with a master's degree from the Center for Cartoon Studies. Tom has illustrated several books for Nomad Press, including The Brain: Journey Through the Universe Inside Your Head. Tom lives in South Bend, IN.


School Library Connection September 1 issue

By exploring the intersection between the arts and sciences, this book provides an engaging discussion of how works of science fiction can influence actual scientific innovation and vice versa. This title is best for middle and high school libraries looking to expand their STEAM collection or with a substantial sci-fi fan base in their community. The suggested activities included in this title provide many opportunities for collaboration, high-level thinking, discussion, and debate. Recommended

Puget Sound Council for the Review of Children's Literature

Rating: Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.

Grade Level: 5th grade to 8th grade

Good addition to STEAM collections in middle and high school. Designed to allow readers to discover the science behind classic and modern SF stories, many of which have inspired today's inventors (think flip phones, small, hand-held tablets and Star Trek). QR codes provide links to primary sources and a chance to dig deeper into the subjects presented. Questions and STEAM activities help foster critical thinking skills. Topics included are de-extinction (even if we can bring back dinosaurs is it a good idea?); robots, androids and artificial intelligence; living on Mars; aliens and alien worlds--deep space exploration; faster-than-light travel; and time travel (think Doctor Emmet Brown's time travelling DeLorean). Timeline of ideas and their related inventions, glossary, metric conversions, resources and index. Get this pre-bound.

Booklist, February 2017
"This latest addition to the award-winning Inquire and Investigate series will be a welcome acquisition for librarians wanting to spice up their STEAM collections. Accessible text, multiple subheadings, guiding questions, and follow-up activities, plus a bevy of graphics (sidebars, cartoons, fact blurbs, bulleted lists, charts, graphs, vocabulary lab exercises, scannable QR codes, primary resources), tackle six familiar science fiction themes: cloning, robots, colonizing Mars, interstellar travel, time travel, and aliens. Fictional characters, settings, and gadgets mesh with science fact and theory, making the technical going easier (and a lot more entertaining). An introductory time line traces fictional innovations versus scientific achievements, spanning Jules Verne to James T. Kirk and Brave New World to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galax. The text emphasizes connections from imagination to inspiration to reality, including achievements yet to come. No source notes are seen, but still this is an excellent way to capture students' imaginations, whether they're of the science and technology or literature and video-arts persuasion.

Publishers Weekly, February 2017
"In this intriguing addition to the Inquire and Investigate series, Wood explores the science behind cloning, time travel, and other science fiction staples. A nifty timeline contrasting real-world developments with their pop culture predecessors (such as smartwatches and Dick Tracy) sets the stage for discussions of robotics, genetics, astronomy, and the theory of relativity. Comics, sidebars, and experiments offer a variety of approaches to the topics (such as using a microwave and chocolate bar to calculate the speed of light), and QR codes provide links to supplemental online resources. It's an engrossing look at how science and fiction converge and diverge". Ages 12-15.

School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-Blockbuster hits like Star Wars and Jurassic Park have plots, settings, and technology that could exist only in the far distant future. But as science advances and new discoveries are made, fantastical sci-fi technologies might be closer to reality than one may think. This title compares fictional stories with real-life scientific breakthroughs, including artificial intelligence, cloning, space travel, and beyond. Older examples such as H.G. Wells's The Time Machine and more contemporary movie releases like 2015's The Martian are cited. After presenting a work of sci-fi and its fictional aspects, the author uses information and theories about the subject to explain how possible or impossible it is presently and in the future (for instance, the chances of humans traveling to Mars or cloning a woolly mammoth). Accompanying the main text on each page are additional facts, photos, and short comics infused with a bit of corny humor. Each of the six chapters ends with a section of projects and discussion questions that make for great student interaction or homework assignments. VERDICT Jam-packed with high-interest material, this selection will be useful for science classes or literature units that cover the books mentioned within.

Praise for other books in the Inquire and Investigate series:

Civic Unrest: Investigate the Struggle For Social Change
Michael Yell, National Board Certified middle school social studies teacher
"With its lively writing, investigations, role playing, and QR codes, Civic Unrest will have students immersing themselves in an exploration of ideas, events, and questions. This is social studies."

The Brain: Journey Through the Universe Inside Your Head
Amazon #1 Hot New Release in Teen & Young Adult Biology Books

Eric Chudler, Executive Director, Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering
"Clear writing and colorful graphics make The Brain: Journey Through the Universe Inside Your Head a terrific resource for young learners interested in learning about those three pounds of tissue in our heads."

Nick Spitzer, Director, Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind
". . . An excellent introduction to the way our nervous system works. The text is engaging and lucid, the illustrations are fun, and cool activities are introduced to give students hands-on experience and tests of brain function. Chapters discuss the developing brain, memory and learning, the healthy brain, and much more. Highly recommended!"

The Roaring Twenties: Discover the Era of Prohibition, Flappers, and Jazz
". . . Two aspects of the book stand out. First, the QR code links to primary source documents, photos, and film clips; and second, the Inquire & Investigate section of each chapter, which challenges students to compare and contrast events of that era with events that have occurred since that time. . ."

Library Media Connection
"This engaging and insightful read into the 1920s can be used as a supplementary textbook in an American History class. Lusted's writing captures the decade, offering all its vitality with an encompassing overview of the era." Recommended

Genetics: Breaking the Code of Your DNA
" explains genetics in eight chapters that build upon one another. . . A solid resource that shows life science and biology students the practicalities and marvels of genetics."

National Science Teachers Association
". . .The book is written to the reader and I would use this book for a supplement if required to use a textbook. If I was not required to use a textbook, I would use this book for secondary classes. This book would be good to use with students that struggle with reading and content."

Forensics: Uncover the Science and Technology of Crime Scene Investigation
2013 Society of School Librarians International Honor Book Award

"Like other titles in the Inquire and Investigate series, this book focuses on a high-interest topic in a cutting-edge field to reinforce young people's understanding of the scientific method . . . an appealing and age-appropriate STEM resource."

Music: Investigate the Evolution of American Sound
School Library Journal
"This overview is a STEAM advocate's delight. . . . an admirable synopsis of the multicultural history of American music."