Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Evolution” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,141 Ratings  ·  169 Reviews
EVOLUTION follows the ebb and flow of one stream of the great river of DNA. It is a stream that will pick up, and then let go, mankind. Darwinian evolution is dramatized as a constant life and death struggle, a heroic story of endurance. It is a story that transcends generations, species, mankind and, in the end, the Earth itself.
Mass Market Paperback, 658 pages
Published 2006 by Gollancz (first published November 2002)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Evolution, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Evolution

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Peter Pier
Mar 21, 2008 Peter Pier rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
THIS is LIFE. Anybody interested in the WHY at all should read this book. Baxter excells himself by describing the roots of humanity, and the hardship of our ancestors on the way obtaining self-awareness.
I havent seen anything better regarding the origins of intelligence. You will recognize the chapter(s).
Absolutely recommended!
Jan 05, 2013 Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had put off reading this book for years because, while I've enjoyed many of Stephen Baxter's novels, the idea of wading through 750 pages of the story of human evolution narrated by anthropomorphised primates really didn't appeal. The ape-creatures in the last and weakest part of his Time/Space/Origin trilogy had put me off.

My bad. This is really nothing less than a story of how we became human, of nature red in tooth and claw. It's a story of short and brutal lives, of disease, murder, rape a
Apr 04, 2008 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who uses 'natural' as a synonym for 'good'
Shelves: fiction
This is a series of episodes illustrating critical (if imagined) chapters in primate evolution. It begins with a story about a primordial primate living underfoot while dinosaurs are stomping around, works its way up to a brief episode about modern humans, and then immediately wipes out the human race and moves forward.

The pre-human episodes are meant to conform very closely to the fossil record. Indeed, when indulging in more extreme flights of fancy, Baxter provides explanatory bits as to wh
Worthwhile: I received this book as a gift and did not have high expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Baxter manages to novelise very effectively the course of evolution through billions of years, which is no mean achievement. The book is fact-based, though of necessity it does spin some extravagant speculation from those facts, and in a few places those speculations are less than convincing, such as the prehistoric Neanderthal shanty town outside the Homo Sapiens village.

Baxter writes
Lis Carey
Jan 12, 2011 Lis Carey rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-sf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nawar Youssef
Dec 21, 2014 Nawar Youssef rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, science
كتاب رائع يجب أن يقرأ من الجميع فهو قد يساعد على توسيع حيز القبول لعلم التطور في عقول بعض الناس غير القادرة بعد على استعاب الأمر.

تغيرت أفكاري حول تصنيف هذا الكتاب بتغير فصوله، اعتقدت في بادء الأمر إنه رواية لكن بدلت رأيي على إنه كتاب علوم مخصص بعلم التطور، و من ثم كتاب تاريخ يتحدث عن تاريخ الحياة بشكل عام و تاريخ الانسان بشكل خاص و لكني غيرت رأي مرة اخرى لاجده عبارة عن كتاب خيال علمي مميز، قبل أن أعود إلى الرأي الأول على إنه رواية. لكنه رواية تضم كل ما سبق من معلومات و متعة و تشوييق و خيال جميع
Al-waleed Kerdie
Oct 02, 2013 Al-waleed Kerdie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
ملحمة روائية حقيقية تقع في 800 صفحة, تسير بنا بالرحلة التطورية للحياة على الكرة الأرضية و التغيرات الجيولوجية التي شهدتها بالإضافة للتتغيرات الكوزمولوجية التي رافقت الحياة على الأرض, رواية رائعة تنتقل بنا بشغف من بدايات التكون الأحيائي على الأرض مرورا بمذنب شيكشولوب الذي ضرب الأرض قبل 65 مليون عام و قضى على أكتر من 70 بالمئة من الانواع الحية, رحلة تنتهي بمستقبل الحياة على الأرض بعد حوالي 500 مليون, لن أذكر تفاصيل أخرى حتى لا أحرق الرواية لمن يرغب بقرائتها
Stewart Tame
Nov 02, 2015 Stewart Tame rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book reminded me in many ways of those Walking With Dinosaurs TV shows. The book is broken up into sections, each set in a different era. So we focus on an early mammal here, a proto-hominid there, and generally span a huge chunk of our planet's history, from the earliest mammals to a distant, speculative future and the eventual extinction of all life. One might almost say that evolution itself is the protagonist of this novel. And it is as novel, not a textbook. Parts of it are pure specul ...more
Dec 19, 2014 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book but about 100 pages too long. The author dramatized mammalian evolution from the time of the dinosaurs until a future hundreds of millions of years from now. Having watched Cosmos this summer, I have been thinking about the incomprehensible spans of time that have passed since the formation of the universe, and since life began on this planet. Evolution serves as a reminder of just how brief our species' time in the sun really has been, and what remarkable arrogance human beings disp ...more
Anna Erishkigal
Mar 29, 2014 Anna Erishkigal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a rollicking science fiction tale, this book may leave the reader scratching their head. It is more a series of interrelated short stories and vignettes given from the viewpoint of creatures stretching back in time from the first tiny mammals to survive the impact which took out the dinosaurs, to the present, to the distant future when our planet is trashed and our sun has expanded to re-absorb the Earth.

What this story -does- do more clearly than all the snoozer science textbooks we were for
Jan 23, 2009 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mohamed El-Mahallawy
الخمس نجمات ليس لأنه أقنعني بالتطور ولا أنه شرح لي ما غاب قبلاً ..
الخمس نجمات للخيال الروائي الغير مقيد والغير محدود أبداً الذي يمتلك باكستر ...
علميا ، هناك العديد من السقطات الغير منطقية وغيرها والكاتب نفسه يعترف أن الموضوع الذي كتبه ليس علميا بدرجة مائة في المائة ..
لكن خياله في الكتابة والتفكر مُطلق .. يُحسد عليه
Jul 24, 2008 Lithodid-man rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lithodid-man by: Former employer
I really loved this book. This is a phenomenal look into the history and potential future of our species. While science fiction, is based on sound principles and a good knowledge of real human prehistory.

I made this book required reading for a course I taught, Introduction to Human Evolution. This raised more than a few eyebrows. My reason for this was that he illustrates some of the more important yet lesser known aspects of evolution and human biology. I noticed one reviewer found the 'devolu
A great read -not in the least for its 762 pages- taking you from 145 Million years ago (chapter two) to 500 Million years in the future. It describes, in speculative fiction way, the upcoming and downfall of Man. From sentient dinosaurs to sentient trees. It is not -as the author himself says in the afterword- a textbook, but a plausable grand story of human evolution, in the vein of Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men
Feb 22, 2010 Cobalt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is the clearest understanding I have ever had on the eons-long process of evolution, told in a fascinating novel from each creature's point of view from millions of years ago. I couldn't put this book down! The amazing settings bring each geologic age to life again, as it was when it happened. This author must have a prodigious science background and great imagination. This book is perfect for anyone with an interest in ancient and pre-historic history, geology, geography and sociology ...more
Dec 17, 2010 Flowkclab rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read
One of my favorite books (if not my favorite)! I am fascinated by evolution and history in general and evolution itself could be considered to be the main character of this book. Of course, this book is fiction, but it takes your imagination to what could very well have happened between 65 million years ago an now, and what could happen between now and 500 million years in the future.
Nov 10, 2007 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is kind of different. It doesn't have a plot. It's essentially a series of short stories about the lives of various creatures on the evolutionary path to modern humans and beyond. Said that way, it doesn't sound very interesting but it kept my attention through all 800+ pages.
Aug 09, 2014 Pierre rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
هذه هي روعة هذه النظرة إلى الحياة....فمن بدايات بسيطة تطورت - و ما زالت تتطور– أشكال بارعة الجمال لا حصر لها. تشارلز داروين
ملحمة ماراثونية جميلة تحكي قصة تطور و تنوع الحياة على كوكبنا، تجمع بين الواقع و العلم و الزمن و الخيال.
Pablo Flores
Mar 14, 2015 Pablo Flores rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is basically a novelization of evolution; the main "character" is the primate lineage, beginning with a small creature in the last days of the dinosaurs and ending many millions of years after the extinction of the human species. As such it is surprisingly entertaining, even though the author cannot resist throwing in bits or entire paragraphs of documentary-style exposition. There are some very powerful scenes, which mostly offset the duller parts. You can learn a lot with this book a ...more
Oct 09, 2014 Broodingferret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I approached this novel with some trepidation, as the concept of dramatizing humanity’s evolution down through the ages sounded like something that might be way too dry to be entertaining. It did, however, come highly recommended, so I cracked it open and was pleasantly surprised by how engaging the stories were (it’s essentially a collection of short stories tied together by theme, given that the book stretches across hundreds of millions of years). Most of the novel is set in the past, with th ...more
Ameen Khaled
Jul 30, 2014 Ameen Khaled rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
how brilliant and illuminating this novel is .

to see a beautiful painting you have to take some steps backwards , so that you can get the whole surface , you will not get any beauty or ideas from concentrating on the small details .

it is astonishing to realize how tiny we are , how short our lives are compared to life itself.

one of the questions that confused our kind from the beginning of conscious is who we are , why are we here , where are we going to , I thought about this alot and alot of t
Dec 19, 2013 Yael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When telling the stories of individuals and peoples, there are three questions the story must deal with: 1) Where did we come from? 2) Where are we going? and 3) What will become of us? In Evolution, Stephen Baxter tells the story of humankind itelf, ranging from humanity's nraw beginnings in Purga the Purgatorius, dancing around the feet of dinosaurs and just barely surviving the comet-strike on the Yucatan Peninsula 65 million years ago; to paleontologist Joan Usub, on her way to participate i ...more
Jan 21, 2008 Ethan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci-fi fans, biologists, anyone interested in evolution
Having read Baxter's Manifold: Time, I wasn't expecting much characterization or plot (as is the case in much "hard sci-fi"). Strangely, some of the non-human characters of Evolution were a lot more real than some of the human ones (If you liked the squid in Manifold:Time, you'll probably like Evolution). The book is longer than it had to be, but the 15 or so stories were mostly worthwhile. At times the "genes working to survive" theme was too explicit and overdone (let the reader's intelligence ...more
Dec 10, 2014 Olethros rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
-Otra forma de hacer género.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. Con vistazos intermitentes a una Tierra del futuro próximo en la que sociedad y ecosistema están en claro peligro, repaso a unos 565 millones de años, desde el Cretácico hasta un futuro muy lejano, a través de unos protagonistas muy especiales con unas vidas muy particulares.

¿Quiere saber más de este libro, sin spoilers? Visite:
Paul McFadyen
Like most of Baxter's work, the plots and characters are thinly sketched devices, to convey the big picture of whatever ideas that he wants to illustrate - in this particular book, the theme is the adaptability of life on earth and the circumstances that lead to the rise (and fall) of the primates.

It's interesting to see the moment at which Baxter sees mankind veer off from being merely the first amongst equals of the animal kingdom and it's clear he sees this development as the tipping-point fo
Mar 25, 2011 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: (Cautious) palaeo buffs, science fans
First up, I have to confess that I didn't actually finish this book. I ran out of enthuasiam at about page 350. While I did enjoy the read, I found it hard to keep coming back witht the constant change of characters and places. The start of the book is also quite graphic - very "nature red in tooth and claw". It's a constant barrage of things being eaten, maimed, abducted and killed. When he starts writing the hominid sections it calms down a bit.

From a science perspective the book is pretty dan
Jun 08, 2015 Raisinlove rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Collosal! One of my favorite reads ever!
CV Rick
Oct 27, 2009 CV Rick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This was an easy book to set down. Quite frankly, fictionalizing vignettes of our evolutionary forefathers is a mixture of giving protagonist voice along with human motivations to animals (which, unless done very well, is annoying) and scattering plotless segments of dubious credibility. I would rather read National Geographic, or any other nonfiction reporting on evolution than this. I felt the whole time as if I was reading a book crafted toward winning an award, rather than a book crafted to ...more
Pat Cummings
Jun 09, 2016 Pat Cummings rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Pat Cummings by: Publisher
Shelves: reviewed
In a sweeping story, Baxter has chosen to tell the tale of human evolution, from our earliest mammal ancestor through present day and into a post-human future. Bringing together factual elements to paint a picture of what it might have really been like to live in these "geologically interesting" times, Baxter begins with a mass-extinction event, the comet-fall that spelled the end of the reign of dinosaurs.

Baxter's story begins with individuals in the line ancestral to humans. Through them he t
Jun 05, 2016 TheShrike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating historical fiction account of how evolution may have unfolded from the earliest known primate through the sun death of the earth....and beyond.

I really enjoyed Baxter's depictions of what was going through the minds of each of these animals as they moved up the evolutionary chain. It reminded me a bit of the section in "Hyperion" (by Dan Simmons) where he shows what a conversation with Dolphins might be like. It also reminded me a bit of "The Inheritors" (by Lord of the Flies author
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
MM English 9: Evolution by Stephen Baxter Recommendation 1 2 Dec 14, 2015 03:25PM  
  • The Light of Other Days
  • The Undertaker's Gift (Torchwood, #14)
  • Schild's Ladder
  • Written in Time
  • Double Jeopardy (Starfist, #14)
  • Furious Gulf (Galactic Center, #5)
  • Kethani
  • Moonfall
  • Planetfall
  • Wireless
  • The Endymion Omnibus
  • The Wellstone (The Queendom of Sol #2)
  • Darwin's Children (Darwin's Radio #2)
  • Peace and War (The Forever War Omnibus, #1-3)
  • The Hard SF Renaissance
  • Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America
  • Sixty Days and Counting (Science in the Capital, #3)
  • Signal to Noise
Stephen Baxter is a trained engineer with degrees from Cambridge (mathematics) and Southampton Universities (doctorate in aeroengineering research). Baxter is the winner of the British Science Fiction Award and the Locus Award, as well as being a nominee for an Arthur C. Clarke Award, most recently for Manifold: Time. His novel Voyage won the Sidewise Award for Best Alternate History Novel of the ...more
More about Stephen Baxter...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“An ability to believe in things that weren’t true was a powerful tool.” 1 likes
More quotes…