Notes from Deep Time (Hardback)

A Journey Through Our Past and Future Worlds

Helen Gordon

The Earth writes its own story in the landscape. A novelist sets out on a journey to piece it together

'Astounding ... To call this a "history" does not do justice to Helen Gordon's ambition'
Simon Ings, Daily Telegraph

'Awe-inspiring ... She has imbued geological tales with a beauty and humanity'
Shaoni Bhattacharya-Woodward, Mail on Sunday

The story of the Earth is written into our landscape: it's there in the curves of hills, the colours of stone, surprising eruptions of vegetation. Wanting a fresh perspective on her own life, the writer Helen Gordon set out to read that epic narrative.

Her odyssey takes her from the secret fossils of London to the 3-billion-year-old rocks of the Scottish Highlands, and from a state-of-the-art earthquake monitoring system in California to one of the world's most dangerous volcanic complexes, hidden beneath the green hills of Naples. At every step, she finds that the apparently solid ground beneath our feet isn't quite as it seems.

Join her to meet the unusual characters who are piecing this vast story together. Grapple with the theory that explains how it all works - plate tectonics, a break - through as significant as evolution or quantum physics but much younger than either, with many secrets still to reveal. And look ahead to the worlds to come, when only our traces will remain, enigmas for those who follow us. 'In deep time,' Gordon finds, 'everything is provisional. Bones become rock. Sands become mountains. Oceans become cities.' And life goes on.

Publication date: 18/02/2021

£20.00

ISBN: 9781788161633

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: Science & Mathematics, Travel & Nature

Notes from Deep Time (Ebook)

A Journey Through Our Past and Future Worlds

Helen Gordon

The Earth writes its own story in the landscape. A novelist sets out on a journey to piece it together

'Astounding ... To call this a "history" does not do justice to Helen Gordon's ambition'
Simon Ings, Daily Telegraph

'Awe-inspiring ... She has imbued geological tales with a beauty and humanity'
Shaoni Bhattacharya-Woodward, Mail on Sunday

The story of the Earth is written into our landscape: it's there in the curves of hills, the colours of stone, surprising eruptions of vegetation. Wanting a fresh perspective on her own life, the writer Helen Gordon set out to read that epic narrative.

Her odyssey takes her from the secret fossils of London to the 3-billion-year-old rocks of the Scottish Highlands, and from a state-of-the-art earthquake monitoring system in California to one of the world's most dangerous volcanic complexes, hidden beneath the green hills of Naples. At every step, she finds that the apparently solid ground beneath our feet isn't quite as it seems.

Join her to meet the unusual characters who are piecing this vast story together. Grapple with the theory that explains how it all works - plate tectonics, a break - through as significant as evolution or quantum physics but much younger than either, with many secrets still to reveal. And look ahead to the worlds to come, when only our traces will remain, enigmas for those who follow us. 'In deep time,' Gordon finds, 'everything is provisional. Bones become rock. Sands become mountains. Oceans become cities.' And life goes on.

Publication date: 18/02/2021

£10.99

ISBN: 9781782835042

ISBN 10 / ASIN: B083JMB5VQ

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: Science & Mathematics, Travel & Nature

Reviews for Notes from Deep Time

'The reward of Helen Gordon's profoundly considered and far-reaching book is that it opens up the dizzying view of geological time ... Notes from Deep Time reaches into a place that, in a post-religious era, offers a glimpse of something close to eternity'

Philip Marsden FT

'Astounding ... To call this a "history" does not do justice to Helen Gordon's ambition. Her adventures in the deep time of Earth hark all the way back to its beginnings as a barren ocean planet, 4.4 billion years ago, while keeping one foot firmly planted in the depleted and desertified plaything we're left with today ... Notes From Deep Time sidesteps the maundering and finger-wagging that comes with much Anthropocene thinking, and shows us how much sheer intellectual and poetical entertainment there is to be had in the idea'

Simon Ings Daily Telegraph

'Awe-inspiring ... It's Gordon's background as a literary writer that takes Notes From Deep Time to the next level. She has imbued geological tales with a beauty and humanity'

Shaoni Bhattacharya-Woodward Mail on Sunday

'Notes From Deep Time is a marvel-rich masterclass of narrative non-fiction, one of those books that teaches its reader to see the world completely differently. That it does so with wit, wisdom and crystal-perfect prose only adds to the pleasure. To escape from the present into deep time with such a companionable guide is clarifying, almost therapeutic, and at times gratifyingly dizzying'

Max Porter, author Lanny

'If there were ever a good time to think about deep time, it's now ... A whirlwind tour of our planet's deep past and far future ... succeeds in grounding our existence firmly in the context of geological time'

Alexandra Witze Nature

'Helen Gordon's wonderfully expansive book encompasses a paradoxical fluidity, both tangible and immense, where human witnesses measure out deep time in golden spikes and ammonites, excavating lost seas and saurians for clues as to what we were and who we will be'

Philip Hoare, author Leviathan

'A book as multi-layered as the deep-time planet itself'

Sara Wheeler, author Terra Incognita

'Sublime ... a fascinating and thrilling descent into time, human in scale but full of moments of vertiginous wonder'

Jon Day, author Homing

'Helen Gordon's terrifically readable book juxtaposes scenes from deep Earth time with telling accounts of how geologists forensically analyse the evidence for this enormous narrative - and looks to the future, too, as humans make their own additions to the planet's strata. Highly recommended'

Jan Zalasiewicz, author The World in a Pebble

'Questing, thoughtful and profoundly moving, Notes From Deep Time is a remarkable TARDIS of a book'

Dan Richards, author Outpost

Helen Gordon

Helen Gordon

Helen Gordon's books include a novel, Landfall (Penguin, 2011), and Being A Writer, a compendium written with Travis Elborough (Francis Lincoln, 2017). She is married to a geologist and lives mostly in the Holocene.