how nature and people conquered the sky

Today we will get acquainted with the latest book by Richard Dawkins, a well-known evolutionary biologist and popularizer of science. The publication published in Ukraine by the “Laboratoriya” publishing house is called “Flight of Fantasy. Natural and man-made ways to bypass gravity.” As you understood, this is a popular science book. She tells how and why animals and insects fly, dispels many myths about flight, reveals its details from the point of view of mechanics, physics and evolution. The author did not forget about the desire to fly in humans. The book tells why Icarus didn’t succeed, what size wings are actually needed for a person or an angel to fly, etc., and also compares Alan Shepard’s space flight to the jump of a flea.

“Flight of fantasy. Natural and man-made ways to bypass gravity”

UAH 599

Pros:

good publication quality and impressive, detailed design; many illustrations, drawings and graphic explanations that add clarity and make the reading process pleasant; many interesting facts; short structured sections, which improves the assimilation of difficult information; an interesting topic that is revealed with good examples; the book is written in simple and understandable language; there is great humor and the author’s trademark sarcasm

Buy at Laboratoria

Cons:

after the author’s other books, this one may seem very short, which it is, and superficial

Buy at Laboratoria

“Flight of Fancy. Natural and Artificial Ways to Bypass Gravity” / Flights of Fancy. The Biology and Technology of Flight

Author Richard Dawkins
Illustrations Yana Lenzova
Translator Nazar Starovoit
language Ukrainian
Number of pages 296
Cover solid
Year of publication 2023
Size 145×215 mm
Site laboratoria.pro

As Richard Dawkins himself points out, “Flight of Imagination” – a book about flight – about the various ways to bypass the laws of gravity that mankind has discovered over the centuries, and animals and insects over millions of years of evolution. It is also a story about dreamy flights of thoughts and ideas that arose from the mere thought of flying.

Without departing from scientific facts, the author gradually lists the ways in which insects, animals and people have tamed gravity. But he also reminds that all of them have not conquered her completely. The book tells how humanity with our technology, and birds with their biology, solved the problem of separation from the earth by overcoming gravity.

Richard Dawkins also considers what is good about flight, whether it is for birds, insects and man, what are the benefits and what are the negative points. He also asks an interesting question, to which he later gives an answer: if flying is so cool, convenient and useful, then why don’t all animals fly, and some have even lost their wings in the process of evolution?

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With his characteristic sarcasm, as one of the most famous evolutionary biologists, the author mocks creationists many times, simply and easily explains various natural processes, mechanical and physical laws that allowed birds, insects and people to fly. The latter, of course, did not fly into the sky themselves, but they carefully studied the capabilities of animals to fly into the sky themselves. There is also a lot of talk about this.

From the description on the site and feedback from readers on various platforms, I expected the book to lean more towards technical explanations and stories about planes, spaceships, balloons, etc. And that’s all here. However, the book still focuses more on the biological-evolutionary points that allow animals to fly, jump, soar, etc. The author literally and in detail, but it is no less understandable and interesting, explains why, for example, the shape of the wings of a seagull is exactly like that, and why it is different for an eagle, what it gives, what it affects, etc. All this is tied to physics and other sciences.

In addition to the above-mentioned easy presentation and clear interpretation of various scientific features of flight, the book is imbued with the author’s filigree humor. There is also a place for sarcasm and mockery of creationists, which I also mentioned. As I write this, I realize how difficult it was to talk so easily and casually about the really hard-to-explain laws and rules by which humans, birds and insects have overcome gravity. And it all worked out for Richard Dawkins.

Flight of fantasy

“Flight of Imagination. Natural and Artificial Ways to Bypass Gravity” consists of short chapters that gradually reveal the topic of flight. If you are not familiar with the work of Richard Dawkins, but have only heard of his book “The Selfish Gene” or several others, I advise you to start your acquaintance with this one, although it is actually extreme, and hopefully not the last of the works of the 82-year-old author. Through it you will understand the views of the scientist, his voice and unique presentation. All this is here in Lite format, if compared to his other works. That is why ” Flight of Imagination’ is appropriate for Mr. Dawkins’s first foray into science.

The book is interesting not only from the point of view of content. It is also beautifully decorated. There are many drawings, thematic patterns on the pages, graphic explanations, visual examples, etc. All this was brought to life by the Slovak illustrator Yana Lenzova. This is exactly the option when it is better to have a paper edition than to read or listen. “Flight of Imagination” will definitely decorate your home library and will bring pleasure precisely from contemplation.

I will also emphasize that this is an unusual publication for the “Laboratory”. In other material on their books, I noted the convenience and asceticism at the edge of style that gives the publisher’s books an edge over the competition. It’s cool that here they did something ascetic, but bright and with so many illustrations. They did not forget about the forest.

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Conclusion:

“Flight of Imagination. Natural and Artificial Ways to Bypass Gravity” is an interesting and accessible book about flight and various ways to bypass gravity for humans and animals. The publication is well illustrated, has many pictures and visual explanations that significantly complement the text and are simply pleasing to the eyes. this book is a better introduction to the work of Richard Dawkins, and to those who have already read his popular works, this one may seem shallow and watery, but the author’s signature style and humor are spot on, as is his mockery of creationists.

Buy at Laboratoria

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