I see that there are a lot of bad reviews for this book. It is not a typical book, thus people find it weird or boring. But as another review pointed out, this book is written from the point of view of the author telling another, possibly alien, 3rd party what his characters are doing, and remaining strictly non-partial and non-judgmental, no matter how harsh, evil, or crazy things are. The setting is in the '70's, and the narrator/author describes the things and places there in a way so that someone who has never been to the '70's can understand them. In this way, the novel actually becomes newer the older it gets.
Brian Greene is to modern physics, and M-Theory in particular, what Carl Sagan was to astronomy; not only a participant researcher, but its best explainer.
Sagan was criticized for having too large a public face in comparison to his scientific contributions, and some may say the same of Greene. I disagree with this argument, because it is just as important to show to laymen what has been discovered, and what current scientific thought is about a given area of study, as it is to do the discovering. It is when discovery is laid bare for the world that other minds are drawn to a subject, and this is when the sense of wonder begins that fuels future discovery. How many new astronomers, cosmologists, and physicists got their start after seeing and reading Cosmos?
Greene does the same for modern physics, and if there is a subject in need of good explanation, it is string theory. If you are unfamiliar with Greene's work, go check out his 3-part series that aired on PBS's science show, Nova, called The Elegant Universe. The entire show can be viewed on Nova's web site. Its a good primer on string theory and modern physics, and is a great lead-in for this book.
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