The Science of Superheroes

  • by Lois Gresh, Robert Weinberg, introduction by Dean Koontz
  • Narrated by Oliver Wyman
  • 7 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

If the planet Krypton had a gravitational field strong enough to account for Superman's amazing strength, would it be possible to launch a rocket ship from the planet's surface? Assuming that the Flash could actually travel at the speed of light, would any villain ever stand a chance against him? Could evolution actually produce X-Men?The Science of Superheroes takes a lighthearted but clearheaded look at the real science behind some of the greatest superhero comic books of all time, including Spider-Man, Batman, the Fantastic Four, and many more. Each chapter presents the origin of one or more superheroes and asks intriguing questions that lead to fascinating discussions about the limits of science, the laws of nature, and the future of technology.If gamma rays can't turn a 128-pound weakling into the Incredible Hulk, what could? Are Spider-Man's powers really those of a spider? Could a person ever breathe water like a fish? From telepathy to teleportation, from cloning to cosmic rays, this vastly entertaining romp through the nexus of science and fantasy separates the possible from the plausible and the barely plausible from the utterly ridiculous.You'll discover the connection between black holes and green lanterns; what Galileo could have told Professor Pym about the stresses caused by shrinking and growing; and how many of Batman's "inventions" anticipated actual technological developments. You'll learn how comic book writers use "technobabble" to create seemingly credible explanations of improbable superpowers and bizarre events.The Science of Superheroes celebrates the ingenuity and imagination of the writers and artists behind the greatest superheroes, and offers helpful suggestions on how some characters' origin stories could be made more believable. It offers immensely enjoyable and informative listening for anyone who loves science, superheroes, or both.The Science of Superheroes is also available in print from Wiley.


What the Critics Say

"Weinberg and Gresh tell it like it is - and how it would be, if our favorite comic book characters actually existed. The Science of Superheroes is a fascinating and entertaining examination of everything from astrophysics to genetic biology to the evolution of the 'superhero.'" (Mark Powers, editor, X-Men and Uncanny X-Men)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A bit drawn out and dry.

Some interesting discussions, but inconsistent and drawn out in parts. For example the chapter on aquaman spends far too long unpacking a modern evolutionary theory that man evolved in aquatic environments. And is it really necessary to debate fish communication in such depth. Other queries don't get sufficient coverage e.g. Batman's grapple line: could he carry enough line on his person, could the grapple penetrate walls? Ultimately a bit hit and miss and rather dry. Some interesting comic history though.
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- Bobby Davro


The information being imparted here may well be accurate, but the quality of writing and the style is absolutely dire ! There is mild swearing throughout, and the reader sounds so naive and "dumb", that I keep expecting him to use words like "wow", "cool", and "awesome" at any moment. It is the most dreadful book I have ever come across.
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- Robert

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-11-2002
  • Publisher: Random House Audio