HOW TO MAKE A HUMAN BEING
A Body of Evidence
Human beings know how to make machines. But what kind of machine is a human being? And could we ever make one? In order to answer these questions, other questions get in the way: What is it like to be a human being? What is it like to be some other kind of animal? What is reality? What is consciousness? Is there a God? What is love? Why live?
The questions proliferate. But all these questions can be viewed as facets of a single question: What is science?
In ‘How To Make a Human Being’ Christopher Potter shows how, at every scale of description, human beings escape the net of scientific reductionism. What it is to be human can be glimpsed in the details: in the opening of a window, in a shared joke. But cannot be caught by any reductive scientific description.
YOU ARE HERE
A Portable History of the Universe
Christopher Potter’s You Are Here is a lively and accessible biography of the universe—how it fits together and how we fit into it—in the style of science writers like Richard Dawkins, Bill Bryson, and Richard Feynman, as seen through the lens of today’s most cutting-edge scientific thinking.
THE EARTH GAZERS
On Seeing Ourselves
The most beautiful and influential photographs ever made were of the whole earth seen from space. They were taken from the moon, almost as an afterthought, by the astronauts of the Apollo space programme. They inspired a generation to think more seriously about our responsibility for this tiny oasis in space, the 'blue marble' falling through empty darkness.
This is a book about the long road to the capture of those unforgettable images. It is a history of the space programme and of the ways in which it transformed our view of the earth and changed the lives of the astronauts who walked in space and on the moon.
It is the story of the often blemished visionaries who inspired that journey into space: Charles Lindbergh, Robert Goddard and Wernher Von Braun, and of the courageous pilots who were the first humans to escape the Earth's orbit.
THE THING IS
A novel, a confession, a poem, an autofiction, a commonplace book, a prose poem.
By turns serious and playful, profound and trivial, sad and joyful, The Thing Is is a shape-shifting narrative: one that starts out as written by an alien, seeing the earth and its inhabitants from the outside. This perspective then becomes that of an everychild, who vaguely remembers having once been an alien, and evolves into the biography of everybody who has ever lived.
The narrative moves deftly from an ingenious theory about the origins of the universe and the emergence of life, to a riff on the poetic power of doorways (and other thresholds); or from stories about things hidden from view or buried by time, to what it feels like to be alive at this particular moment in history.
Beautifully wrought, often funny and poignant, The Thing Is is designed to be read in a variety of ways: in gobbets, all in one go, slowly, quickly, repeatedly. This slow/fast read is the perfect novel for our fast/slow times. Whatever The Thing Is to you, it will provide a new twist on the continuing adaptability of the form that we call the novel.