Thoughtful Gifts for Curious People

Otherlands: A World in the Making


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The past as we've never seen it before: Otherlands is an epic journey into deep time, showing us the Earth as it used to be, and the worlds that predated our own. Travelling back to the dawn of complex life, award-winning palaeobiologist Thomas Halliday gives us an up-close encounter with eras that are normally unimaginably distant.

Halliday immerses us in ancient landscapes, from the mammoth steppe in Ice Age Alaska to the lush giant penguin-filled rainforests of Eocene Antarctica, to Ediacaran Australia, where the moon is far brighter than ours today. Visit the birthplace of humanity; hear the crashing of the highest waterfall ever known; and watch as life emerges again after the asteroid hits. These lost worlds may seem fantastical but every description - whether the colour of a beetle's shell, the rhythm of pterosaurs in flight or the lingering smell of sulphur in the air - is grounded in the fossil record.

Otherlands is an emotional narrative that underscores the tenacity of life, but also the fragility of seemingly permanent ecosystems, including our own. To read it is to see the last 500 million years not as an endless expanse of unfathomable time, but as a series of worlds, simultaneously fabulous and familiar.

Hardback, 416 pages.
Measures 16.2 x 3.7 x 24 cm.