Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

Community Reviews
posted by Fnord666 on Sunday October 21 2018, @09:36PM   Printer-friendly
from the documenting-our-tech-tree dept.

Imagine that in the future you can rent time machines just as easily as you can rent a car. Paradoxes are nicely sidestepped, and you even get the handy pamphlet "1001 Fun Ways to kill Hitler". Sounds great, right? Suppose that time machine breaks down. Turns out it's easier to re-invent civilization than it is to fix said machine, and that's what this book purports to do.

This book is chock full of tidbits, like this on buttons. People wore buttons for thousands of years as ornaments. It was only fairly recently someone realized they could hold clothes closed. This is disgraceful and embarrassing. You can do better.

Scalzi's page describes this book much better than I can. Need to know which animals to domesticate? Covered. Foods to cultivate? Covered. Crop rotation? Compass? Non-sucky numbers? Forge? Birth Control? Logic? Chemistry? Steel? check, check, check, check, ...., check.

This is not a textbook, there is no math, and minimal theory on why things work. It's focused on why and how, not "how does it work?".

I got my copy from the library and, after an hour or two, ordered my own copy from Amazon. I'm sure my fellow Soylenters will also love this book.

Original Submission

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Monday October 22 2018, @01:15AM

    by Snotnose (1623) on Monday October 22 2018, @01:15AM (#751838)

    For people who have read it, how does it solve the standard problem with these sorts of go-back-and-create-everything narratives that in order to "invent" X you need to first invent the twenty things you need to build X, and before that invent the four hundred things you need to build the twenty things you need to build X, and before that invent the sixteen thousand things you need for the four hundred things for the...

    The book has a tech tree, much like the Civilization games. You want steel? You need this, this, and this. Everything in the book has maybe 3-4 things you have to invent first. Of course, those could also have 3-4 things you have to invent first, but that's why you have a tech tree. But in 300 some odd pages he gets you to steam engines, internal combustion engines, and computers. As a side note, he also describes how to make music and great art. All with prerequisites that are provided in the book.

    The key point the book makes over and over is that we could have invented *this* several hundred years earlier, sometimes a few thousand years earlier. He also points out things like cement that the Romans invented but the tech was forgotten for a thousand years.

    The book does a pretty damned good job of setting out the prerequisites needed for a technology. Each prerequisite is also described (earlier) in the book, with it's own set of prerequisites.

    When the dust settled America realized it was saved by a porn star.
    Starting Score:    1  point
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   2