(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

In the tradition of Stephen Hawking’s BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME, but often in the language of STAR TREK and BACK TO THE FUTURE, this book is a stimulating survey of some of the mind-boggling theories of astrophysics that are rapidly making the stuff of science fiction the realities of science fact, or at least science theory.

The heart of the book is Kaku’s fascinating description of the seeming paradoxes of the Kaluza-Klein theory, the most recent version of which is Kaku’s own specialty, superstring theory, which posits that there are six more dimensions of reality that exist beyond the commonly accepted four dimensions of length, width, breadth, and time. Kaku leads the reader gently into this complex mathematical world by laying the groundwork for hyperspace and parallel universes in myth, religion, and art. He then shows how Einstein’s theory of curved space led up to the formulations of Theodr Kaluza, whose postulation of a fifth dimension astounded Einstein.

Although quantum physics and a theory that says reality is made up of strings rather than particles may not sound like thrilling reading, anyone who has ever watched the crew on the starship ENTERPRISE fall through a wormhole into a parallel universe will find it fascinating. One does not have to be a STAR TREK fan to appreciate this dizzying trip into hyperspace; newspapers have recently described the proposed construction of a giant laser that can create thousands of times more energy than all the generators in the United States and have headlined the recent success of astrophysicists who have determined the age of the universe and how fast it is expanding. The world of hyperreality may someday be the world of everyday reality.