Saturday, February 12, 2011

Just in time for Darwin Day: The Tangled Bank: Love, Wonder and Evolution

It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.
~ On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin (1876 Edition)

Today - February 12th - marks the 202th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. Just in time to celebrate, the print version of  The Tangled Bank: Love, Wonder, and Evolution - an anthology of evolution-related fiction from Tangled Bank Press - has just been released in print. 

Originally released as an e-book, editor Chris Lynch has collected contributions by a number of speculative fiction  authors and poets:
[. . . ] The Tangled Bank: Love, Wonder, and Evolution is bursting with stories, poetry, and full-page artwork about the meaning of evolution. From science fiction and fantasy, to comedy and horror, to fairy tales and literary fiction, this anthology has something for everyone. An international lineup of more than 40 contributors includes Sean Williams, Brian Stableford, Patricia Russo, Carlos Hernandez, Jetse de Vries, Christopher Green, Bruce Boston, and Emily Ballou. Dark, whimsical, and shot through with wonder, The Tangled Bank explores the universe Charles Darwin revealed.
Chris Lynch has generously sent me a copy of the e-book, and I'm looking forward to reading it. The bits I've sampled so far have been both interesting and entertaining. It's also beautifully illustrated with drawings by Ernst Haeckel.

If you'd like a sample,  you can read Christopher Green's short story Darwin's Daughter for free.

You can also read a couple of contributor Anne Bryan's Darwin-related sonnets on her web site, and listen to poet Emily Ballou read from her collection The Darwin Poems

Print, e-book and EPUB editions of The Tangled Bank are available for purchase through


  1. I loved Darwin's Daughter - cheers for sharing the link


  2. Just started following you, this is a cool blog. I left a stylish blog award for you on my blog if you participate in such things. :)


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