Adam Roberts

The QI-ification of Knowledge

Recently I read Frank Swain’s popular science book How to Make a Zombie (2013). It’s pretty good, and a fine example of its type. However, Swain’s book does not tell its readers how to make a zombie. There’s an obvious reason for this, and excellent grounds for not admitting it up front – the two words ‘you can’t’ won’t fill 250 pages, no matter how large the type used. So instead, Swain takes us on a Cook’s Tour of the myriad aspects of his topic, sprinkling interesting facts all around him. He knows a lot about biochemistry, physics, biology and psychology, and he lays these subjects before the reader with a lively style and without ever using an equation or an indigestible piece of nomenclature.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying polemic...book… ,
    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,
    • The author 'seethes with contemptuous indignation at the shiny junk that an unregulated construction industry dumps… ,
    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,
    • 'All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And t… ,