Study Guide

Nation Science

By Terry Pratchett


Every day there are new advances in science: the world is round! We've landed on the moon! Dark matter! (We're still not sure what that's about.) These discoveries changed the world. Okay, so, the world actually didn't change at all, but our perspective of it did, and that's all that really matters right? The same thing happens to Mau and his people, except instead of it happening over a period of thousands of years, it happens in just a few days. By the time her father arrives, Daphne's blinded Mau with science, and his island home—and consequently, the world—will never be the same.

Questions About Science

  1. Mau and Ataba are always at odds with one another. Are science and religion mutually exclusive?
  2. Mau never gets answers from his gods, so he turns to science instead. Can science answer all of life's questions?
  3. Why does the prospect of scientific advancement frighten Mau's people? 
  4. Mau's people believe that their rituals, like singing to the beer, are magic. Does science take the magic out of life?

Chew on This

Belief in science is just as much a belief as faith in religion.

Science offers a better way of understanding the world, because it can provide new answers when the old ones no longer make sense.