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The Science of Superman
Mark Wolverton, edited by Roger Stern
iBooks, 256 pages

The Science of Superman
Mark Wolverton
Mark Wolverton received a B.A. in Science Writing/Journalism from DePaul University in Chicago. His fiction has appeared in Pursuit Magazine, Keen Science Fiction! and Aboriginal Science Fiction. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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A review by David Maddox


"Look, up in the sky! It's a bird... it's a plane... it's... SUPERMAN!"
A strange visitor from another world with powers and abilities far beyond that of mortal men. Our yellow sun makes him faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Superman is the basis for all super heroes and certainly the longest lasting in our history. His exploits, adventures and phenomenal powers are legendary and his costume is one of the most recognizable icons of American civilization. But could a Superman exist in the real world? Writer Mark Wolverton does his best to answer that question in The Science of Superman: The Official Guide to the Science of the Last Son of Krypton.

Wolverton, who has put aside a promising career in live theatre, script writing and authoring science fiction stories to write about science does an astounding job with this book. He takes the reader through each step of the super process; the probability of a world like Krypton existing, the science and geographical problems which resulted in its destruction, the ship that sent young Kal-El to earth and all the differences that would arise from a Kryptonian living on our world.

Each chapter is concisely written, giving an overview of the super power, the science and biology behind it, then the theoretical application of this power being brought to life. True, this is not a hard-core science book but it is entertaining in such a way that it could definitely be used to coerce stubborn school kids to enjoy science. Wolverton's research is thorough, his ideas sound and his asides quite humorous.

Just to give some examples, Wolverton postulates that Superman possesses a bioelectric field which protects him from most subatomic particles and that his skin absorbs and retains heavy elements like iron, making his cell walls stronger; hence his invulnerability. He even uses Einstein's abandoned theory of cosmological constant (a negative force or pressure throughout space that offsets gravity) as a possible explanation of flight. Super hearing, super speed, super strength, super vision and even the weakness to Kryptonite are all equally laid out and explained.

Overall, The Science of Superman is a true homage to the Man of Steel and his contribution to our culture. It cements his scientific legacy and goes a little further in bringing the imaginary to life. Check it out and "Up, up and away" may just seem a little more feasible.

Copyright © 2003 David Maddox

David Maddox
Science fiction enthusiast David Maddox has been many things, including Star Trek characters and the Riddler in a Batman stunt show. He holds a degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University, and has written several articles for various SF sites as well as the Star Wars Insider. He spends his time working on screenplays and stories as well as acting in any venue he can. Residing in Los Angeles, he continues to be part of this wacky business called show.

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