About this item

In the beginning, Earth was an inhospitably alien place -- in constant chemical flux, covered with churning seas, crafting its landscape through incessant volcanic eruptions. Amid all this tumult and disaster, life began. The earliest living things were no more than membranes stretched across microscopic gaps in rocks, where boiling hot jets of mineral-rich water gushed out from cracks in the ocean floor.Although these membranes were leaky, the environment within them became different from the raging maelstrom beyond. These havens of order slowly refined the generation of energy, using it to form membrane-bound bubbles that were mostly-faithful copies of their parents -- a foamy lather of soap-bubble cells standing as tiny clenched fists, defiant against the lifeless world.

About the Author

Henry Gee

Henry Gee is a longtime editor at the science journal 'Nature'. Publishers Weekly gave a starred review to his book 'The Accidental Species: Misunderstandings of Human Evolution' (University of Chicago Press, 2013) . His much anticipated next book 'A (Very) Short History of Life On Earth' will be published by Picador (UK and Commonwealth) and St Martin's Press (US and Canada) with editions projected in simplified Chinese, Dutch, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian and Spanish.Thought provoking as well as wide ranging, he writes about science both for the general reader ('Jacob's Ladder: The History of the Human Genome'; 'In Search of Deep Time'; 'A Field Guide to Dinosaurs') as well as for professionals ('Across The Bridge: Understanding the Origin of the Vertebrates') . His fiction includes the Sigil Trilogy, 'By The Sea' and 'Hunting Unicorns and Other Stories'. A noted Tolkienist, he wrote 'The Science of Middle-earth', hailed by Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey as 'The most unexpectedly Tolkienian book about Tolkien I have ever come across' and edited Mallorn, the scholarly journal of the Tolkien Society, for eight years. He is a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines such as The Guardian and the Literary Review.An alumnus of the University of Leeds, he took part in the celebrity Christmas edition of University Challenge in 2019, where with fellow alumni the Rev Richard Coles (pop star turned churchman) , Jonathan Clements (prolific writer on China and Japan, and anime voice-over artist) and award-winning photographer Timothy Allen, he won the series championship. He lives in Cromer, Norfolk, England, with his family and numerous pets. You can follow him on Twitter at @EndOfThePier; on Instagram at @henrygee22; and follow his blog 'The End Of The Pier Show' on Occam's Typewriter.

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