Weird Life: Book summary and reviews of Weird Life by David Toomey

Weird Life

The Search for Life That Is Very, Very Different from Our Own

by David Toomey

Weird Life

Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

In recent years, scientists at the frontiers of biology have hypothesized the existence of life-forms that can only be called "weird": organisms that live off acid rather than water, microbes that thrive at temperatures and pressure levels so extreme that their cellular structures should break down, perhaps even organisms that reproduce without DNA.

The search for these strange life-forms spans the universe, from rock surfaces in the American southwest and hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor to Martian permafrost, the ammonia oceans of Jupiter's moons, the hydrogen-rich atmospheres of giant planets, the exotic ices on comets, the crusts of neutron stars, and the vast reaches of space itself.

David Toomey brings us into the world of the researchers who have devoted their careers to "weird life," and as they envision and discover ever stranger organisms here on earth, they open up fascinating possibilities for the discovery of life in the rest of the universe.

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. An ingenious overview of anything that might be alive. The author remains true to science while coming to delightfully bizarre conclusions." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. This title would be an excellent supplement to a physical science course and will be perfect for curious readers with humanities or social science backgrounds. It is far superior to the average "quirky science" works." - Library Journal

"Physicists and astronomers have speculated that alien life might arise near black holes and neutron stars, or even as intelligent clouds of interstellar dust. In Weird Life David Toomey conveys these far-out theories with precision and humor -- including the theory that a "shadow biosphere" of weird organisms might thrive right here on Earth." - The New York Times.

"As English professor Toomey tracks the work of scientists who hunt for such extreme examples, he explores the very definition of life. He also envisions the truly weird life-forms that might exist elsewhere in the universe--such as bacteria that ride on icy comets or even "living" networks of charged dust grains that circle black holes and communicate with one another electromagnetically." - Scientific American, recommended.

"At least 30 billion species have inhabited Earth, David Toomey tells us - each extraordinary in some way, like the extremophile bacteria that cluster at sea-floor vents. Yet all arose from a single ancestor. Toomey leads us into a speculative world of life outside that singular club. We visit the "shadow biosphere" of as-yet-only-imagined microbes posited by astrobiologists; the possibility of microbial life in Venusian clouds; doppelgangers in the multiverse; and much, much more. Weird indeed, and not a little wonderful." - Nature.

The information about Weird Life shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Information

More Information

David Toomey is an associate professor of English and director of the Professional Writing and Technical Communication Program at the University of Massachusetts?Amherst. He lives in Amherst.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more history, current affairs & science...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Romanovs
    The Romanovs
    by Simon Sebag Montefiore
    The Romanovs chronicles the reigns of the 20 individuals who were considered members of that dynasty...
  • Book Jacket: Barkskins
    Barkskins
    by Annie Proulx
    Barkskins, by Annie Proulx, is not a book to read quickly. After a month of slow reading, I ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Marriage of Opposites
    by Alice Hoffman
    Alice Hoffman's latest work, The Marriage of Opposites, is a historical fiction novel focusing on ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Imperial Wife
    by Irina Reyn

    A smart, engaging novel that parallels two fascinating worlds and two singular women.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Secret Language of Stones
    by M. J. Rose

    "A fantastic historical tale of war, love, loss and intrigue."
    – Melanie Benjamin

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Girl Waits with Gun
by Amy Stewart

An enthralling novel based on the forgotten true adventures of one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!