PD Smith

Science & the superweapon

03 July 2007 | Doomsday Men, Dr Strangelove, Kahn, Kubrick, Roshwald, SF, Shute, Wells, WMD | 3 comments

Author Andrew Robinson has written a perceptive review of Doomsday Men for this month's Physics World. Unfortunately, it's not available on-line unless you are a subscriber. However, I can tell you that he describes my book as "a chillingly compelling history of chemical, biological and atomic superweapons". He continues:

"Doomsday Men analyses dozens of examples of how culture influenced science in the devising of superweapons. They range from the prophetic writings of HG Wells, and the science fiction published in Amazing Stories and other magazines in the 1920s and 1930s, to highly influential post-atomic-bomb novels such as Nevil Shute's On the Beach and Mordecai Roshwald's Level 7. And, of course, there is the darkly comic film Dr Strangelove, directed by Stanley Kubrick in 1963, in which the story centres around the 'doomsday machine' - a phrase originally coined by gung-ho phyisicst Herman Kahn."

Robinson concludes that Doomsday Men "successfully shows how and why superweapons have been simultaneously admired and reviled by both scientists and the public."

3 comments so far:

  1. shannon | 03 July 2007

    Fantastic. I imagine a good review must be one of the great highs in life. So, how do you get a magazine to review your work? Do you have to send them the book or do they find the books on their own?

  2. PD Smith | 03 July 2007

    It helps if you start with a good publisher and a good publicist! The book is then sent out to the journals most likely to review it. But reviewers also request books...I'm always on the look-out for new books in publishers' catalogues that I could review. There are just so many fascinating subjects being written about...

  3. shannon | 03 July 2007

    Thanks for the info, Peter. That's one of my biggest problems--so many interesting books I want to read, so little time. Can't wait until someone comes up with a plug-in to just download them directly into your brain..ha ha. Just kidding on that. I actually love the whole reading process, including the feel of the book.

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