From Publishers Weekly
The title of well-known science writer Clegg's newest is a bit of a teaser: as Clegg (A Brief History of Infinity
) himself admits: we may never have a definitive answer to the question, What came before the Big Bang? But there are lots of theories running around waving their hands to be noticed and get funding. Clegg devotes the first half of his book to the problems that face big bang theorists (when did the bang happen? How big was it? what caused it?). He then gives equal time to those who are looking to send that theory the way of phlogiston. Many alternative origin-of-the-universe theories postulate either that there have been cyclical universes—each ending in a Big Crunch, followed by another Big Bang, or that our universe really exists in a giant black hole,or that universes can bud off one another.Most astronomy and science fiction buffs will bl familiar with this material, but Clegg's relatively jargon-free style makes for a good introduction for general readers, even if it leaves them still wondering what did come before the big bang. (Aug.)
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"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