Fresh from baiting the world’s religious communities with his atheist treatise The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins returns to spread his love of science and the natural world to a younger audience with The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True.
The app, which is available now for iPad, contains the entire text of the book (which explains the hefty £10 price tag), along with a full sketchbook’s worth of animated illustrations from Dave McKean. The pictures are cutesy, but informative, and never distract from the text – anyone who’s ever read an iPad edition of a magazine will find the whole thing very familiar.
Each chapter of the book opens with a question: Why are there so many animals? What is the sun? Are we alone in the universe? and tackles them first by looking at mythological answers from the ancient world, and then by moving on to the modern scientific account of the subject. The book is aimed at younger teens and the writing is simpler than previous Dawkins, but there are plenty of questions in The Magic of Reality that should be of equal concern to curious adults, including an account of how atoms work, how languages evolve differently to one another and classic philosophical arguments about why bad things happen to good people and what constitutes a miracle.
For regular devotees of Dawkins, The Magic of Reality might feel a little lightweight, but as a fun introduction to the big questions of science for adults and teens, it’s a corking little app. As an extra incentive, the hardback copy of the book now in shops packs an RRP of £20, making the iPad version a relative steal.