George’s Secret Key to the Universe is a children’s book — the first in a series of three parts presented in an illustrated chapter book penned by the notable physicist Stephen Hawking and his journalist daughter, Lucy and skillfully illustrated by Garry Parsons.
The story focuses on the protagonist named George, a boy whose parents are technophobe environmentalists. He has a physicist neighbor named Eric, who owns a computer that has the capability to open portals in spacetime. Eric’s daughter and George jump through the portal to explore the solar system, while catching a ride on a comet.
The antagonist, G. Reeper,is a science teacher who later interrupts their space joyride tour. Intending to get his hands on the machine to for his devious intentions, Reeper entices Eric to go out to the deeper regions of the universe, where he eventually gets swallowed by a black hole. In a mission to save his neighbor, George should overcome a various obstacles, including, in an amusing way, his scientific jargon phobia.
Readers who know real men of science will appreciate Eric’s exuberance, naive idealism, and inclination to reprimand. The book reaches some points that tackle the echoing tension between environmentalism and science. All in all, it succeeds most importantly as a well crafted classic adventure story.
George’s Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy and Stephen Hawking, with Christophe Galfard is published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and is available on bookstores and online stores.