I've been absolutely obsessed with the movie "Interstellar" lately so it was just a given that I'd check out Kip S. Thorne's explanation of the scientific facts behind the movie.
For those who don't know: Interstellar is a movie starring Matthew McConaughey as a astronaut-turned-farmer in a distant future that gets the opportunity to travel to a different galaxy in order to find a possible inhabitable planet.
NOT a good pick for non-scientists
Honestly, I was confused the whole time. This isn't popcorn literature, this doesn't feel like a Degrasse Tyson lecture. This feels like a straight-up text book and is therefore very poorly marketed.
I expected a book that's aimed at the same audience that loved "Interstellar" the movie. Thorne tries very hard to refrain from using formulas and too much established wording, but I had an extremely hard time reading this book. I had to read every chapter over and over again and concentrate to even grasp half of what he's saying. Thorne is absolutely unable to word complicated science in an easily understandable way. I felt straight up stupid reading this because I didn't understand as much as I would've liked to.
Too many topics - too little depth
However, I craved some knowledge beyond that. I don't care about an in-depth explanation of gravitational force. I care about gravitational force in relation to "Interstellar", but I don't want a whole chapter dedicated to cramming astrophysics theory into the reader. It's too much and it ends up being super unimportant if you want to understand the movie. I liked that Thorne features a lot of illustrations and sub-chapters, but I ended up skimming a lot of the theoretical stuff, because it seems unimportant.
What I really expected from this is to gain some insight on the probability of all this. Thorne explains the blight, the possibility of interstellar travel, and that's exactly what I wanted to read. Then again, there are pages and pages focusing on the black hole Gargantua that just ended up confusing me. I still can't tell you how black holes work and it's extremely frustrating. Instead of trying to cram in the planets, gravitational force, black hole theory, and a very unsatisfying explanation of the ending, there should have been a clear focus.
Science is such a wide term, there is no focus, the book tries to loosely move along the plot of the movie, but that's not really helping to ground the reader if you don't really get what's going on.
Overall: Do I Recommend?Not if you don't have any clue about astrophysics like me. You'll end up feeling more clueless than before. You'll really have to study this one, it's not a light and entertaining read.
Published: November 7th 2014
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
Cover: W.W. Norton & Company, 2014.
Cover: W.W. Norton & Company, 2014.
Genre: Non-Fiction / Space
"Interstellar, from acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan, takes us on a fantastic voyage far beyond our solar system. Yet in The Science of Interstellar, Kip Thorne, the physicist who assisted Nolan on the scientific aspects of Interstellar, shows us that the movie’s jaw-dropping events and stunning, never-before-attempted visuals are grounded in real science. Thorne shares his experiences working as the science adviser on the film and then moves on to the science itself. In chapters on wormholes, black holes, interstellar travel, and much more, Thorne’s scientific insights—many of them triggered during the actual scripting and shooting of Interstellar—describe the physical laws that govern our universe and the truly astounding phenomena that those laws make possible."