Thursday, September 23, 2021

'Sublime' - that's the verdict of Stretto on the Dutch translation

Een (Zeer) Korte Geschiedenis van Het Leven is the Dutch version of A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth, now published by Spectrum. Stertto magazine likes it a lot, calling it sublime. Click here for the full review.

Thursday, September 16, 2021


 A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth features front and centre on Bookbreak, a book-based YouTube channel that has more than 25,000 subscribers. Thanks Bookbreak! Enjoy it here - 

Published today!

Today's the day! A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth is now published in the UK, from Picador. It's available for purchase at any of the outlets above (just follow the links to UK stores) and comes in four flavors - hardback, paperback, kindle and even an audiobook, which I narrate (and I also did the music and sound effects). 

If you'd like a signed copy, some are available from the Chicken and Frog bookshop in Brentwood, UK. Be sure to contact them to ensure you get a signed copy.

The Dutch version, Een (zeer) korte geschiedenis van het levenis also published today, from Spectrum. A German version follows on 5 October; a Portuguese edition in November, an Italian edition early in 2022, with more to follow. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Starred Review in Booklist

 Just got this review in Booklist. It's Starred. Which means they think it's rather good. For the full review click here.

Monday, September 13, 2021

And Now, in Ukrainian

 A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth has added another language to its vocabulary. Translation rights have already been acquired for twelve languages (all details here) - to which a thirteenth can be added. 

Family Leisure Club has acquired the rights to translate it into Ukrainian. 

Of course, it takes a while before translation rights turn into a book for sale. The first non-English version to hit the streets will be in Dutch (Spectrum), on 16 September - same date as the UK version from Picador. This'll be followed by the German edition, from Hoffmann und Campe, on 5 October. The Italian edition, from Einaudi, comes out early in 2022.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Review in the Literary Review

Thrilled to have a review (and such a glowing one) in the Literary Review, which is one of my favourite magazines. I mean, I actually subscribe to it, and I contribute to it now and then. What's more, it's the magazine's 500th issue! The review is by Nigel Andrew, who says, among other things, that A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth is a 'hugely enjoyable page-turner'. Which is lovely. You can read the full review here

Friday, September 3, 2021

Goodreads Giveaway!

For US/Canada readers only: Goodreads is hosting a giveaway of 50 ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) of A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth until 20 Sept. Click here to enter. Good luck!


Thursday, September 2, 2021

Review in Geographical Magazine

'Gee has a remarkable ability to describe how species and their environment have shaped one another. Throughout life's perilous journey, extinction and evolution swing in perfect rhythm. Gee neatly portrays this dance in a way that dissolves life's mind-boggling complexity into something digestible for everyone.' 

Full review here.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Review in Publishers Weekly

Gee (The Accidental Species), a paleontologist and senior editor at the science journal Nature, finds beauty in adversity in this eloquent account of how life evolved on Earth. Gee explains how varied life forms rose to the challenges of changing sea levels, “world-spanning” ice ages, and volcano-induced extinctions, as in the Permian period when the world became “a cauldron of magma.” 

He describes how the giant Pteranodon “cruised the seas... winging between the young and divergent continents” and how ancient mosses and liverworts crept onto barren, wind-scoured coasts that were “as dry and lifeless as the surface of the moon.” Early lichen life forms, he explains, were “forged in fire” and “hardened in ice” as they adapted, and Gee spotlights nature’s ingenuity as plants sprouted up and creatures began to crawl. Early conifers, for example, engineered a clever response to unfavorable growing conditions (the seed), and the small, lizardlike Westlothiana helped vertebrates make the tricky transition from the sea to arid land with a newly designed “private pond” (the egg). 

Gee is also a gleeful guide to the lives of early humans who, he notes, responded to ever-harsher living conditions “with larger brains and increasing stores of fat.” Action-packed and full of facts, this well-told tale will delight lay readers.