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Publisher's Summary

Space and time form the very fabric of the cosmos. Yet they remain among the most mysterious of concepts. Is space an entity? Why does time have a direction? Could the universe exist without space and time? Can we travel to the past?

Greene uses these questions to guide us toward modern science's new and deeper understanding of the universe. From Newton's unchanging realm in which space and time are absolute, to Einstein's fluid conception of spacetime, to quantum mechanics' entangled arena where vastly distant objects can bridge their spatial separation to instantaneously coordinate their behavior or even undergo teleportation, Greene reveals our world to be very different from what common experience leads us to believe. Focusing on the enigma of time, Greene establishes that nothing in the laws of physics insists that it run in any particular direction and that "time's arrow" is a relic of the universe's condition at the moment of the big bang. And in explaining the big bang itself, Greene shows how recent cutting-edge developments in superstring and M-theory may reconcile the behavior of everything from the smallest particle to the largest black hole. This startling vision culminates in a vibrant eleven-dimensional "multiverse," pulsating with ever-changing textures, where space and time themselves may dissolve into subtler, more fundamental entities.

Sparked by the trademark wit, humor, and brilliant use of analogy, Brian Greene takes us all, regardless of our scientific backgrounds, on an irresistible and revelatory journey to the new layers of reality that modern physics has discovered lying just beneath the surface of our everyday world.

Enjoy the book? Listen to in-depth interviews with Brian Greene on Fresh Air and To the Best of Our Knowledge.
©2004 Brian Greene; (P)2004 Random House, Inc., Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Nobody ever said that cosmology was simple, not even Stephen Hawking, in whose tradition Dr. Greene impressively follows....He is both a skilled and kindly explicator....The Fabric of the Cosmos is as dazzling as it is tough." (The New York Times)
"It will be enjoyable and stimulating for the lay reader, who will even learn about time travel and teleportation. This is one popular-science book that won't be left on the coffee table half read." (The New York Times Book Review)

What members say

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  • Overall
  • Dylan
  • Lovettsville, VA, USA
  • 03-12-04

Avoid the abridged version

I mistakenly bought the abridged version and it is impossible to follow unless you already have a good background in the subject. This book covers the most mind boggling discoveries of science but with so little depth that all you are left with are ludicrous metaphors. I was hopelessly lost and gave up after an hour. I skimmed the book in the bookstore to see if the unabridged text is better. It makes a lot more sense and is also more interesting then this badly edited version. It's just not possible with material of this nature to cut out 2/3 of it and be left with something coherent.

90 of 95 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Excellent - for an abridged version

Fascinating summary of the topic. I would like to have bought the unabridged version, but (sorry, Mr. Pritchard) I agree that the narrator's voice is more than reminiscent of a 1950s educational documentary or newsreel. This is a worthwhile alternative.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Dennis
  • Loveland, CO, USA
  • 04-01-06

Mind blowing ideas

This book covers the history of the Relativistic and the Quantum Camps. It then portrays how the current thoughts on Superstring Theory are bringing these two very diverse groups together. This is a must listen for any armchair physicist!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Very approachable for the layman.

It covers the theories and discoveries chronologically giving a solid grasp of basics, and the advanced.

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Basic stuff until the last 20%

I guess I've listened to too many cosmology books because the first 80% of this book was just the same things I've read over and over again about Newton and Einstein. This book presents it well but didn't really bring anything new to the picture. The last 20% about strings was pretty awesome though. I wish I had only listened to the last 1.5 hours only.

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Very Good Overview

I know a lot of theories out there regarding theoretical physics, although don't have the education to deeply understand them. But still I thought this was a nice short overview of a pretty up to date collection of theories on how the world works.

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Not sure why the raving reviews...

The abridged version seems weak to me: the narration is excellent, yet the content is disappointing. The relation between quantum theory and its applications to deciphering the riddles of the cosmos should have been much more elaborated upon, and the examples given are often juvenile and seem to talk down to the listener.
Maybe I'm too much of a geek, but I already knew much of the content.
Maybe you should consider buying the unabridged version, but I personally really do care for the narration. Why did they not use the wonderful Eric Davis also for the unabridged version is a mystery to me. In hindsight, I would have purchased the Greene's "The Elegant Universe" which has the excellent narration and surely better content.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful