A 700-page description of the state of current scientific knowledge about the origin of matter, life and humanity, plus a bold attempt to assess its limits. It is lucid and intelligible to the non-specialists—Hands was originally trained as a chemist, but has also published three novels. This is a book of astonishing ambition and scope, more like the work of a great Victorian polymath than most popular science books.
—Tim Crane, The Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year
A substantial, sceptical survey of the current state of scientific knowledge of about the most basic questions… (Hands) is always fair, and he writes from what must be the best point of view for a scientist—he is a dispassionate agnostic about everything, except those few things which can fulfil Popper’s falsification principle… An invaluable, encyclopedic achievement.
—A N Wilson, The Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year
From dark energy to the selfish gene, Hands looks at what we know—and what we don’t. An overview of thought on this ever-fascinating subject.