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Author: Henry Gee
ISBN: 1-59360-023-2
256 pages
Price: $14.00
Publisher: Cold Spring Press
Release Date: October 12, 2004
[Now Available! ]

Henry Gee, Senior Editor for the most prestigious magazine in science today –
Nature – has written a spellbinding, fun, and accessible book explaining the scientific basis for how all that wizardry, sorcery, and magic really works in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy epic, The Lord of the Rings, and his other fictional books featuring Middle-earth.

Growing out of a series of columns under the pseudonym ‘Olog-hai’ for the premier Tolkien fan website — — the author explores just how elves might be able to see much further than humans, why Frodo’s sword turns blue at the sight of evil orcs, how the rings of power do their thing, and just about every other conundrum or piece of ‘elvish magic’ that has puzzled and delighted Tolkien fans for years. Gee tells us that science, fantasy, and nature are really more similar than one might think. Gee writes in a popular tone and style, fully explaining all science concepts and convincingly demonstrating how Tolkien’s world of fantasy makes sense in a very real – a very scientific – way.

In the Foreword to this book David Brin, one of sci-fi’s most popular authors, calls The Science of Middle-earth “one of the most clever and insightful explorations of its kind…one of the delights of this book is the chance to see yet another layer in the subtlety of Tolkien’s rich mind. For though he was suspicious of progress and the future, he nevertheless clearly reveled in the intellectual excitement that surrounded him. The new discoveries of science were not alien things. With fascination, he seems to have taken a real effort to weave them into The Lord of the Rings…”

And Paul Levinson, author of The Pixel Eye, says “If Charles Darwin were J.R.R. Tolkien, who would be his Aldous Huxley? If The Science of Middle-earth is any indication, the answer would be Henry Gee…a delightfully written primer.”

Henry Gee received his doctorate in zoology at the University of Cambridge in 1991. In 1987 he joined the staff of Nature, the leading international journal of science, where he is now Senior Editor, Biological Sciences. In 1996 he was awarded a Regents’ Professorship of the University of California. He is the author of several books including Jacob’s Ladder: The History of the Human Genome (Norton, 2004), In Search of Deep Time (Free Press, 1999), and (with Luis V. Rey) A Field Guide to Dinosaurs (Barrons, 2003). As Olog-Hai he is the occasional science correspondent for, the leading Tolkien fan website. He lives in Ilford, Essex, England.

The Science of Middle-earth is published by Cold Spring Press and distributed by Simon & Schuster, and is now available in bookstores nationwide and in Canada, and on the Internet through online booksellers.

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