Coming Soon: Written in Stone


As some of you may recall, last week I posted a list of new and forthcoming books written by science bloggers. I tried to include all the authors and titles I could think of, but there was one book that I intentionally left off the list; my own.

I am now proud to announce that my first book, Written in Stone, will be released by Bellevue Literary Press in the fall of 2010. In it I tell the stories of some of the most magnificent evolutionary transitions in the vertebrate fossil record, such as the evolution of birds from feathered theropod dinosaurs and whales from land-dwelling ancestors, and I use the history of science to sketch our changing understanding of these major events in vertebrate evolution. Written in Stone is not just a compendium of evidence for evolution from the vertebrate fossil record. It is a grand tale that traces the circuitous path our perception of evolutionary history has taken over the past 200 years.

There is still much to do before the book is completed, but I do want to take a moment to thank several people who have made this opportunity possible. (There are many others to whom I owe a word of thanks, but that is what the "Acknowledgments" section will be for.) My agent, Peter Tallack, has been a tireless advocate of my work. He has supported my vision for this book from the beginning and fought hard to find the right publisher for it. I could not ask for a better agent, and I am indebted to my colleague Ed Yong for putting me in touch with Peter in the first place. Most of all, I am grateful for the support of my wife, Tracey. She has enthusiastically encouraged me to pursue this project from the day I first thought of it, and her constant support has motivated me to write the best book that I possibly can.

With any luck you should see the finished product on shelves around this time next year, and I intend on writing some articles to complement Written in Stone as its release date nears. Keep watching this space for updates, and thank you for reading.

[Image: "Vain speculation unÂdeceived by the senses" from Scilla's 1670 treatise on the organic nature of fossils.]

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Congrats, Brian!

By Dave Carlson (not verified) on 28 Sep 2009 #permalink

Very cool, looking foward to it!

Thanks for the kind words, everyone!

Sean; It's funny that you should ask. I have another project that is still in a relatively early phase of development, and with any luck I will start working on it while Written in Stone is in production. Paleontology will figure into it, but in a very different way than my first book. That's all I can say for now. Hopefully I will be able to share some more details in a few months.

Having watched your struggles with your academic program for a while, this is great news. A cliche about lemons and lemonade comes to mind but I'll suppress it. :)

Brian congrats, I'm looking forward to your book. Excellent title.

By JefFlyingV (not verified) on 28 Sep 2009 #permalink

I really look forward to it, too! I thought the chapter you sent me on "Whales that Walked" was pretty cool, and it think it will be fun to compare that to what you have in the final book.


Delivery: 31 January 2010? 2011?

"Written in Stone" excellent.

My great congratulations! Always wonderful to see a quality science book in the offing, and yours will certainly be quality!

Glad to read this. I'll definitely be among the first buyers and readers.

By Christophe Thill (not verified) on 01 Oct 2009 #permalink

Only just saw this post. Congratulations! Quite an accomplishment. I'll look forward to reading the book.