Interview with Danko Antolovic

When did you first start writing?
I am not a writer by profession. Most of my writings have been technical and scientific, and I have done that kind of writing for a good long while. I have recently tried my hand at non-technical writing, because I think that the general public and the scientists need to understand each other and communicate better.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I have spent many years in scientific research and in technology development. These disciplines have transformed our world, and we take their gifts for granted, as if they were bestowed upon us by magic; it is telling that in literature we already make very little distinction between magical fiction and science fiction.

My latest book is a collection of essays, titled “Whither Science?” and in it I attempt to lift the veil of magic from the practice of science. What motivates people to do science? What do they get out of it, and at what price? What does society get out of it? We trust the scientific method almost like a modern oracle, but why do we think it worthy of our trust? And yes, the view of the world that science has opened to us is rich and fascinating, but has it given us a worldview, a sense of the world as a place in which we can belong with our hearts as well as with our intellects?

Lastly, science has changed our world and given us enormous power, yet we humans have remained the same all along. Is that a tenable prospect for the future, or is something bound to break? We have choices to make for this future of ours, and I am convinced that science will have to, and will be able to, guide us in making ourselves worthy of the power that it has given us.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have had both mediocre and bad experiences with mainstream publishers, and I do not like the rigid mindset of the publishing industry. According to the current wisdom, a viable book must be a hardcover, at least 200 pages long, preferably longer, and most publishers seem to have a rather narrow view of what makes an interesting book topic. There are financial reasons for all that, of course, but it defeats the purpose of publishing, which is to bring new and interesting writings to the public.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Among the earliest books that I clearly remember reading as a child were the Doctor Dolittle stories by Hugh Lofting. These stories are unabashed, mostly harmless fantasy literature for kids, and they gave this one kid a glimpse into a much larger, richer world, stretching out beyond the confines of childhood.
Who are your favorite authors?
There are many writers whose writing I appreciate, and who can hold my interest for a while, but these two have remained steadily my favorites over a long time: Thomas Mann for his sharp observing eye and an understated sense of humor, and Lewis Carroll, whose stories are a unique expression of shy reticence and a devil-may-care adventurousness at the same time.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
“Doctor Faustus” by Thomas Mann; this is an imaginative and poignant modern retelling of the medieval legend of Faust.

“The Nonexistent Knight” by Italo Calvino; the story of an empty suit of armor who, by the mere power of his will and consciousness, serves as a paladin in the army of Charlemagne. How could it not be a favorite?

“Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carroll; much has been said and written about it, but this is still an incomparably original and imaginative story.

“No Exit” and “The Flies” by Jean-Paul Sartre; these two plays are something like exercises in abstract logic: they place their characters into specific, precisely defined instances of human condition and let the plot draw the inevitable conclusions.

“The Hero with a Thousand Faces” by Joseph Campbell; not so much a story narrative as a narrative about stories.
What do you read for pleasure?
I just finished reading the collection of fairy tales by brothers Grimm.
Published 2015-04-25.
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Books by This Author

Whither Science? Three Essays
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 19,710. Language: American English. Published: February 21, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Science and Nature » Philosophy of Science
In these essays we explore basic dilemmas facing contemporary science. We look at science's history, question its practices and ask about its potential. We examine the strengths and weaknesses of the scientific method, and we seek to understand the worldview that follows from that method. Lastly, we inquire about the future of science, and about problems that science urgently needs to solve.