The Sky's Dark Labyrinth Blog
At the dawn of the seventeenth century, the Sun revolved around the Earth according to God’s plan and as set down in the Bible. Yet some men knew that the Heavens did not move as they should and began to believe exactly the opposite – a heresy punishable by being burned alive.
The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth is the first in a trilogy of novels that dramatically bring to life key moments in our understanding of the cosmos – when our view of the Universe changed forever.
I'll be collecting all posts here that are relevant to The Sky's Dark Labyrinth. Published during the course of 2011-2012, volume I, The Sky's Dark Labyrinth, presents the stories of Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei.
German Lutheran Johannes Kepler is convinced that he has been given a vision by God when he becomes the first man to distill into mathematical laws how stars and planets move through the heavens. Galileo Galilei, an Italian Catholic, will try to claim Kepler’s success for his own Church, but he finds himself enmeshed in a web of intrigue originating from within the Vatican itself. Both men become trapped by human ignorance and irrational terror to the peril of their lives and those of their families in one of the darkest, yet also one of the most enlightening, periods of European history.
Volume II, The Sensorium of God, features Isaac Newton and Edmond Halley. Volume III, The Day Without Yesterday, recounts the story of Albert Einstein, Edwin Hubble and George Lemaitre.
Confirmed publication dates so far are April in UK, June in Australia, September in Canada. Forthcoming publications dates will be announced for South Korea, Japan and Greece soon. I'll be talking about these books at various literary festivals and other venues across the UK this year. Stay tuned for further announcements. The book is published in the UK and Australia by Polygon Books and in Canada by McArthur Books.
To download a four page brochure about the trilogy, click here.
To contact the book's UK publicist, Jan Rutherford, click here.
To contact the book's Canadian publicist, Devon Pool, click here.
The Measure of Dreams is a short story set before the events of The Sky's Dark Labyrinth. It features Johannes Kepler and his attempt to construct a model of the Universe by turning it into a drinks dispenser. Yes: a drinks dispenser.
Surrounding the short story is an essay exploring the way astronomers love to invent invisible things to explain their observations.
"For a science based on observation, it is remarkable how often astronomy has invented invisible things to get itself out of trouble. Whenever its theories are at odds with reality, a little mathematical snake oil can usually be relied upon to make things slip together more comfortably.
"The snag is that the astronomers then have to say what this invisible mathematical thing is in reality. Perhaps it is an unseen planet tugging at the others to draw them off course, or a sea of particles designed to carry light like waves on an ocean. And once they have decided what the invisible thing is, astronomers then have to invent something that will find some evidence for it. That’s when life becomes really tricky…"
The story is published in Exit Strategies (Arc 2.1: The Journal of the Future, from the makers of New Scientist). It is available as a digital download here.
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The second volume of The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth is now out in Italy, published by Dedalo.
From their website: “Genio, idee rivoluzionarie e scoperte epocali si scontrano con debolezze umane, rivalità e segreti inconfessabili nell’ instabile e travagliata Inghilterra della Restaurazione. Nell’ avvincente romanzo di un grande autore scientifico, un ritratto accurato e molto umano dei padri della scienza moderna.”
You can read more about it here.
Dedalo published the first volume, ‘L’oscuro labirinto del cielo’ in November 2012. You can read about that here.
They also published my book, Le Grandi Domande: Universo. More details here.
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My thanks to Lucy Jones for her review of The Day Without Yesterday.
She concludes, ‘Clark’s series serve as a discussion of science and society in a fictionalised form, crossing genre boundaries successfully, and prompting serious thought which is alarmingly relevant to today. Highly recommended reading for anybody with an interest in history and science.’
You can read the full review of The Day Without Yesterday here.
I also discovered that she generously reviewed The Sensorium of God last year, too.
She says, ‘This novel is well worth a read, whether you have read The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth first or not. It doesn’t lack for drive or plot, and yet is much more sophisticated than a great many other books on the market.’
You can read the full review of The Sensorium of God here.
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Novelist Pippa Goldschmidt has reviewed The Day Without Yesterday for the great website Lablit.
“I’ve read and reviewed the two earlier books in this trilogy and have been very impressed by the way Clark weaves together the stories of different historical characters into a coherent whole, not only getting across the revolutionary nature of their discoveries but also presenting them in the historical context to show how their contemporaries (mis)understood their findings.
This latest book doesn’t disappoint. ...”
You can read the full review here.
Pippa’s review of The Sensorium of God is here.
Pippa’s novel, The Falling Sky can be bought here.
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As readers of my novel, The Sensorium of God know, Isaac Newton was an arch heretic. Ahead of tonight’s BBC2 documentary about Isaac Newton, the BBC invited me to choose five ‘heretic’ scientists whose courage and determination I find inspiring:
“Great scientists change the way we view the world.
Doing that usually means smashing an old, entrenched idea - often making enemies in the process. Before being proven and accepted, a great theory can be subjected to harsh criticism and its proposer can be mocked, rejected, even vilified.
Sometimes a religious authority is on the attack, other times it's the scientist's colleagues - either way it takes special determination to stick to an idea others believe is clearly wrong.
The genius of the lucky ones is recognised in their lifetime but some are venerated only posthumously.
Here are five of my greatest scientific heretics. I find their courage inspiring. Some have become household names, while others still remain in relative obscurity. ...”
You can read the full article here.
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