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Reviews

  • A fascinating journey through Earth's history... [Halliday] is appropriately lavish in his depiction of the variety and resilience of life, without compromising on scientific accuracy... To read Otherlands is to marvel not only at these unfamiliar lands and creatures, but also that we have the science to bring them to life in such vivid detail

    Gege Li, New Scientist
  • Riveting... An intense and imaginative reading of fossils as runes that tell us about our own times, and possible future. Halliday is a Time Lord at heart, eager to lead us back to, say, the Permian or Oligocene epochs and unpack their lessons for 21st Century humanity. For all its scholarship, this is a very readable book, full of literary reference and accessible metaphor. Otherlands is also a wise manual for adaptive change rather than a prophecy of inevitable doom

    Matthew D'Ancona, Tortoise
  • Thomas Halliday offers a 550m-year tour of the incredible diversity of life that has existed on our planet... Halliday's trick is to tell his story in reverse. The first hominids exit early; the continents merge and drift and merge again; the sounds of the cretaceous forest fall silent as we pass beyond the evolution of birdsong. Life retreats from land to ocean, and the first eyes give way to the sightless world of the Ediacaran, an alien realm of crawling beings

    David Farrier, Prospect
  • Writing with gusto and bravado [...] Halliday has honed a unique voice... Otherlands is a verbal feast. You feel like you are there on the Mammoth Steppe, some 20,000 years ago, as frigid winds blow off the glacial front... Along the way, we learn astounding facts

    Steve Brusatte, Scientific American
  • Halliday takes us on a journey into deep time in this epic book, showing us Earth as it used to be and the worlds that were here before ours

    ‘The Hottest Books of the Year Ahead’, Independent
  • This is a piece of nature writing that covers millions of years, from the very start of evolution, while capturing the almost unthinkable ways geography has shifted and changed over time. Epic in scope and executed with charming enthusiasm, Otherlands looks set to be a big talking point for fans of non-fiction in 2022

    ‘The 15 New Novels And Non-Fiction Books To Read In 2022’, Mr Porter
  • Palaeobiologist Thomas Halliday embraces a yet more epic timescale in Otherlands: A World in the Making, touring the many living worlds that preceded ours, from the mammoth steppe in glaciated Alaska to the lush rainforests of Eocene Antarctica. If you have ever wondered what sound a pterosaur's wings made in flight, this is the book for you

    'The best science books coming your way in 2022’, New Scientist
  • The best book on the history of life on Earth I have ever read

    Tom Holland, author of DOMINION
  • Thomas Halliday's debut is a kaleidoscopic and evocative journey into deep time. He takes quiet fossil records and complex scientific research and brings them alive - riotous, full-coloured and three-dimensional. You'll find yourself next to giant two-metre penguins in a forested Antarctica 41 million years ago or hearing singing icebergs in South Africa some 444 million years ago. Maybe most importantly, Otherlands is a timely reminder of our planet's impermanence and what we can learn from the past

    Andrea Wulf, author of THE INVENTION OF NATURE
  • Deep time is very hard to capture - even to imagine - and yet Thomas Halliday has done so in this fascinating volume. He wears his grasp of vast scientific learning lightly; this is as close to time travel as you are likely to get

    Bill McKibben, author of FALTER

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