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review of Plutonic Sonnets by Robert Graber

In this book the author sings us a story via the classic melody of the sonnet. Through an oft times humorous, condensed history he shows the development of humankinds' understanding of the physical world and heavens. From stories of gods and titans to that of the power of the atom bomb which has been developed from the element namesakes of those gods, he weaves a magic history in beautiful rhythm and rhyme.

We journey as the titan's of old, who were given by humans the power of birth through to destruction, are gradually exposed for the 'dead' planets, etc. they are by scientists - the titans of today - who, via the discovery of the elements and how to manipulate them, actually do have that power of birth through to desolation. From Uranus to Uranium, Pluto to Plutonium Rob weaves the story about those characters, imagined and real, who have played a part in the growth of our consciousness from mythology to science.

We are diverted from the myths and history at times it seems (although we soon discover there is good reason for this) to topics such as the sale of tonic waters and the problems of constipation and even (to keep true to the form) a love sonnet or two.

Plutonic Sonnets is a wonderful, excellently written, humour-filled history of some of science's (and scientists') haps and mishaps with an interweaving of relevant mythology. Beautifully presented, it is in my opinion a must for the poet lover's coffee table, and, filled with interesting facts promising hours of entertainment and food for thought or discussion, would be a valuable addition to anyone's bookshelf.


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