"FOR THEN WE WOULD KNOW THE MIND OF GOD": FIRST EDITION OF A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME
HAWKING, Stephen. A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes. Toronto, New York, London, Sydney, Auckland: Bantam Books, 1988. Octavo, original half black cloth, original dust jacket. $1900.
First edition, first Canadian issue, issued simultaneously with the New York and London issues, of Hawking's popular treatment of quantum physics.
Although his editor cautioned Hawking that every equation included in the text would cut the book's readership in half, this "jaunty overview of key cosmological ideas, past and present—including multidimensional space, the inflationary universe and the cosmic fates that may befall us" (New York Times) quickly established itself as a landmark of modern popular science writing. "If all physicists could explain their work as well as Stephen Hawking explained black holes in his 1988 bestseller… science writers would have to find other work" (Andrew Grant). Hawking withdrew the first issue of the book and had it destroyed due to errors, including the absence of the Table of Contents and dedication; the endpapers were changed to white and the dust jacket was redesigned to be a darker blue for the second issue. An unknown but very small number of first-issue copies, as here, have survived, such as those distributed for advance review. Issued the same year in London and New York by Bantam—"published simultaneously in the United States and Canada" stated on copyright page—no priority established.
A fine copy.