Thursday, September 24, 2009

What is Brian Clegg reading?

The current featured contributor to Writers Read: Brian Clegg, author of the newly released Before the Big Bang: The Prehistory of Our Universe.

His entry begins:
I’m usually in the middle of reading a science book for the site, but I like to have a fiction book on the go as well, to get some balance.

At the moment I’m revisiting an old favorite, The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier. Of course there’s her familiar expertise with the Cornish countryside, but I particularly love the way she uses the vehicle of a drug that sends the mind back in time to integrate a historical plot with a present day one. Along with the protagonist, we feel that the historical world is increasingly more real than the modern day segments – it’s immersive in a way that a straight historical novel rarely is. Du Maurier also manages to rack up the tension, as the dangers and side effects of the drug become more apparent. Not a...[read on]
Among the early praise for Clegg's Before the Big Bang:
"Clegg follows the footsteps of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, Steven Hawking’s A Brief History of Time and Timothy Ferris’s Coming of Age in the Milky Way. He shares his predecessors’ enthusiasm, eloquence and ability to explain complex ideas but provides a bonus by covering startling developments of the past decade. Anyone looking for an introduction to or a refresher course in cosmology need look no further."
--Kirkus, starred review

"Indeed, the existence of so many things, from dark matter to black holes to wormholes all has to be inferred. The Big Bang, too, is only provisional and seems to be waiting for a more graceful model to replace it. In Clegg’s words, the Big Bang theory “has the feeling of something held together with a Band-Aid. Whether what came before our universe was another universe or nothing, or something else yet unconsidered, for now the most accurate answer might be: We just don’t know."
--Anthony Doerr, Boston Globe, July 19
Clegg is the author of A Brief History of Infinity, The First Scientist: A Life of Roger Bacon, and Light Years: The Extraordinary Story of Mankind’s Fascination with Light, and Upgrade Me: Our Search for Human 2.0. He holds a physics degree from Cambridge and has written regular columns, features, and reviews for numerous magazines.

Follow Brian Clegg at, and visit his website and blog.

Writers Read: Brian Clegg.

--Marshal Zeringue