cover image Darwin's Watch: The Science of Discworld III

Darwin's Watch: The Science of Discworld III

Terry Pratchett, with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen. Anchor, $15.95 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-8041-6898-4

The third Science of Discworld volume takes readers on an adventure across alternate timelines and behind the evolution of evolution. Ever since the wizards of Discworld's Unseen University accidentally created "Roundworld"%E2%80%94aka Earth%E2%80%94they've been trying to ensure humanity's survival, with mixed results. In Roundworld's Victorian England, Charles Darwin's "Theology of Species," and its support for the idea that life on Earth could only have risen from a godly designer's hand, has slowed scientific progress to a crawl. Outside interference has sent Roundworld down "a different leg of the Trousers of Time," and unless the wizards can put it back where it belongs, humans won't survive the next extinction event. The story alternates chapters with wry and illuminating essays on scientific progress and the history of evolution theory. The late Pratchett, creator of the wildly popular Discworld novels, and his coauthors offer fascinating insight into Darwin, his world, and how Victorian life shaped his theory of evolution. Even technophobic readers will enjoy this cheerful, accessible look at the less-than-linear path of scientific discovery, where the most comfortable answer is usually not the best. (June)