When I got home from London late tonight, I found a gift-wrapped parcel, containing my first, advance copy of The Accidental Species, with a wonderful note from my editor at the University of Chicago Press. Here is the new arrival.
Like people whose reputation precedes them, it’s surprisingly small when you actually meet it. No, not small, compact. Or, rather - concentrated. This book represents a distillation of everything I have ever thought and believed about science, whittled and edited and distilled down to what I think is its purest and sparest form. I’m proud of it.
I have written many books. The business of researching, thinking, writing, editing and rewriting each one, with all that concentration and effort expended over many months, makes it loom large in one’s thoughts, creating something protean, abstract, hard to measure.
Receiving one’s first copy of the actual object is always a special moment – it represents the final crystallization of one’s arguments, into real, hard physicality. The experience is usually accompanied by dread – that one will inevitably discover mishpronts – but in this case I have no such fears, because the University of Chicago Press knows how to produce books properly, the old-fashioned way, with trained editors and copy editors.
Heaven knows what I’ll write next.