occasionally has something to do with their oddity, I’m convinced. I’ve just received my 1100-page copy of Roger Penrose’s The Road to Reality, since I’ve been tripping over my understanding – or rather, lack thereof – of physics and cosmology for the SFonal elements in Corvus. What is emblazoned across Penrose’s front cover? The Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller.

Assuming the publishers are not out and out lying, I really am forced to ask how in the world – how in the multiverse – this extremely long, dense, and challenging work could have been a bestseller? It’s certainly not the sort of book you can pop into your bag for your commute into the city or a day at the beach or a plane trip. In fact, you can barely lift it, and a quick browse has already given me a massive headache. If I manage, as a layperson, to understand one sentence in 500, I will consider myself fortunate. Here’s a sample at random (though I’ve chosen one without mathematical symbols to avoid an argument with my keyboard):

How then is this FLRW-symmetric vast quantum superposition of irregular geometries supposed to give rise to something resembling one specific ‘almost FLRW-symmetric’ universe which is perturbed only in some very minor way that is consistent with observations?
(p. 862)

How indeed?


2 thoughts on “The quiddity of bestsellers

  1. Lee 17 years ago

    Maybe I’ll have to borrow it one day …

  2. Michele 17 years ago

    As some of my younger friends like to say WTF?!

    That’s one hell of a sentence…

    Think I’ll stick to The Science of Doctor Who which is actually very understandable for a non-scientist like me !