Paul Nahin

Time machines : time travel in physics, metaphysics, and science fiction

I'm a firm believer in the idea that science fiction stories are an excellent resource in the study of philosophy. In 'Time machines' Paul Nahin brings together an extensive list of fictional examples of time travel, and uses this to illustrate ideas in the science and philosophy of time. Thus we are introduced to wormholes, Gödel's rotating universe, and other ways of travelling in time. Nahin also gives plenty of consideration to the paradoxes which this might cause. Overall this book gives an accessible introduction to some deep ideas, as well as suggesting plenty of further reading.

However, I did get the feeling that, at nearly 600 pages, this book had expanded out of control. The first chapter is overview of about 100 pages and I was impatient to get onto the main part of the book. I also feel that the prospective readership could have dealt with more diagrams and equations in the main body of the book, rather than having these relegated to long 'tech notes' at the end.

I also felt that Nahin was often too dogmatic in judging other people's ideas. If the purpose of the book were to present Nahin's own ideas then this would have been fine, but as it is billed as a compendium of various ideas about time travel I felt that this dogmatism was out of place.

Amazon.com info
Hardcover 628 pages  
ISBN: 0387985719
Salesrank: 495971
Published: 2001 Springer
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Amazon.co.uk info
Hardcover 668 pages  
ISBN: 0387985719
Salesrank: 1399833
Weight:2.45 lbs
Published: 2001 Springer
Amazon price £54.99
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Hardcover 628 pages  
ISBN: 0387985719
Salesrank: 629841
Weight:2.45 lbs
Published: 2001 Springer
Amazon price CDN$ 83.24
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 72.94:Used from CDN$ 18.36
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