I enjoy Historical Fiction. And as I went further and further back in time, I wanted to see how far back I can actually go. Are there fictional stories about the beginning of the universe? Not really. Or maybe few.
The Augustinian era: Before the Big Bang
The phrase "Augustinian Era" is meant to convey the idea that the known laws of physics break down in a gravitational singularity of infinite density at the time zero of the Big Bang, so that according to Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity there were no times prior to that point.
These are two books that I have found come closest to exploring this idea in fiction.
The Aleph and Other Stories (Penguin Classics) This book is a collection of short stories. In my opinion, they are abstract and difficult to read. The title story is about a man who keeps an Aleph in his cellar. An Aleph is a point in space that contains all other points.
Cosmicomics This book is a collection of delightful short stories, all are recommended. But to our exploration of the Augustinian Era, I draw your attention to the third story entitled All At One Point. It is a narrative of a conscious entity being aware of itself and other conscious entities during the Augustinian Era. It is quite humorous.
The Planck epoch: Up to 10-43 seconds after the Big Bang
If supersymmetry is correct, then during this time the four fundamental forces — electromagnetism, weak nuclear force, strong nuclear force and gravitation — all have the same strength, so they are possibly unified into one fundamental force.
Not formally stated, this is the moment that space and time are created. Therefore I concentrated on novels with a focus of space and/or time.
2001: A Space Odyssey This novel emphasizes space exploration. Lengthy journeys conveying the vastness of space; experiences of zero gravity and isolation.
Lost in Space Unlike the television show of the same name, this novel is literally a ship lost in space. Stranded and unable to move, waiting to be found. "Although a tree is a tree, no two trees are alike...but space is always the same."
The Shadow Girl Traveling through time at high speed, excellent description of the evolution of the Earth, from continent formation, to reptile-animal evolving, to discovery and settlement of New York.
The Exile of Time An adventure that takes you from the beginning of the Earth, 1,500,000,000 B.C. to 1,000,000,000 A.D.! Time travel sequences are amazing. The robot revolution is exciting! Great novel.
Starfarers This novel focuses on the time distortion of space travel. A group of explorers travel at light speed across the galaxy. Upon their return to earth, their subjective experience of time passed has been six years, while the objective time that has passed on earth has been ten thousand years.
The Forever War Similar to the above novel, this one also focuses on the time dilation of space travel. As the main character comes back from intergalactic war, he discovers Earth has changed drastically since he has left only 'months ago'.
The Grand Unification epoch: Between 10-43 seconds and 10-36 seconds after the Big Bang
As the universe expands and cools from the Planck epoch, gravitation begins to separate from the fundamental gauge interactions: electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces. This means that the only particle expected at this time is the Higgs Boson.
Flashforward In an attempt to discover the Higgs Boson, a strange worldwide phenomenon of precognition occurs. While attempting to replicate the phenomenon a second time, the scientists then make the sought out discovery of the Higgs Boson.
The Electroweak epoch: Between 10-36 seconds and 10-12 seconds after the Big Bang
At approximately 10-32 seconds after the Big Bang the potential energy of the inflaton field that had driven the inflation of the universe during the inflationary epoch was released, filling the universe with a dense, hot quark-gluon plasma.
The Inflationary epoch: Between 10-36 seconds and 10-32 seconds after the Big Bang
The rapid expansion of space meant that elementary particles remaining from the grand unification epoch were now distributed very thinly across the universe. However, the huge potential energy of the inflaton field was released at the end of the inflationary epoch, repopulating the universe with a dense, hot mixture of quarks, anti-quarks and gluons as it entered the electroweak epoch.
The Quark epoch: Between 10-12 seconds and 10-6 seconds after the Big Bang
In physical cosmology the quark epoch was the period in the evolution of the early universe when the fundamental interactions of gravitation, electromagnetism, the strong interaction and the weak interaction had taken their present forms, but the temperature of the universe was still too high to allow quarks to bind together to form hadrons.
These books are about gravity.
A book entitled Gravity by James L Butter, not listed.
The Photon epoch: Between 3 minutes and 380,000 years after the Big Bang
After most leptons and anti-leptons are annihilated at the end of the lepton epoch the energy of the universe is dominated by photons.
70,000 years into this epoch, cold dark matter dominates. Therefore I've focused on novels that emphasize photons and dark matter.
The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials, Book 2) While the whole trilogy is about dark matter, this book emphasizes it the most i've found. It is here that Lyra discovers that the Dust her father has been studying is called Dark Matter.