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In The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch Roundworld is in trouble again, and this time it looks fatal. Having created it in the first place, the wizards of Unseen University feel vaguely responsible for its safety. They know the creatures who lived there escaped the impending Big Freeze by inventing the space elevator – they even intervened to rid the planet of a plague of elves, who attempted to divert humanity onto a different time track.
But now it's all gone wrong – Victorian England has stagnated and the pace of progress would embarrass a limping snail. Unless something drastic is done, there won't be time for anyone to invent spaceflight and the human race will be turned into ice-pops. Why, though, did history come adrift?
Was it Sir Arthur Nightingale's dismal book about natural selection? Or was it the devastating response by an obscure country vicar called Charles Darwin, whose bestselling Theology of Species made it impossible to refute the divine design of living creatures? Either way, it's no easy task to change history, as the wizards discover to their cost. Can the God of Evolution come to humanity's aid and ensure Darwin writes a very different book? And who stopped him writing it in the first place?
Sir Terry Pratchett is the acclaimed creator of the global bestselling Discworld series, the first of which, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983. In all, he is the author of fifty bestselling books. His novels have been widely adapted for stage and screen, and he is the winner of multiple prizes, including the Carnegie Medal, as well as being awarded a knighthood for services to literature. Worldwide sales of his books now stand at 75 million, and they have been translated into thirty-seven languages.
Professor Ian Stewart is the author of many popular science books. He is the mathematics consultant for New Scientist and a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick. He was awarded the Michael Faraday Prize for furthering the public understanding of science, and in 2001 became a Fellow of the Royal Society.
Dr Jack Cohen is an internationally-known reproductive biologist, and lives in Newent, Gloucestershire. Jack has a laboratory in his kitchen, helps couples get pregnant by referring them to colleagues, invents biologically realistic aliens for science fiction writers and, in his spare time, throws boomerangs. Jack, who has more letters to his name than can be repeated here, writes, lectures, talks and campaigns to promote public awareness of science, particularly biology. He is mostly retired.