A quasi-sequel to his "Elegant Universe," Fabric is an intriguing foray into the wild and wonderful world of quantum mechanics and speculative physics. Prima facie, the subject matter would appear to be significantly beyond the interests and capacities of the general, non-specialized public. However, Greene does an exceptional job of distilling the relevant issues of the content into managable, comprehensible and–most importantly–interesting reading.

As in Elegant Universe, Greene briefly traces the historical developments which have laid the foundations for the revolutions of quantum physics in the twentieth century. To do this, he examines "classical" conceptions of space and time, showing how very fundamental beliefs about the nature of these realities are being challenged and overturned by rapid discoveries in the field of quantum physics. With this established, Greene moves onto to discuss cosmic origins. Of particular interest is Greene's in-depth critique of deficiencies in the standard big-bang model. After discussing these issues at length, Greene proceeds to apply considerations of quantum physics to propose a new model of origins, the inflationary model.

After dispensing with considerations of origins, Greene brings the previous discussions to bear on one of his particular interests, String Theory. To Greene, String Theory encapsulates one of modern physics' best chances at providing a "theory of everything," a single, unified theory that will apply and extend to all physical phenemenon in the universe.

Finally, Greene concludes by using quantum physics and String Theory to speculate about the stuff of science-fiction: time travel and teleportation. Although he is careful to note that his discussion is merely speculative, it is clear that the ideas contained within the vision of quantum physics which Greene has outlined provide, at the very least, a theoretical basis for realistically speculating about the ability to pursue such fanciful ideas in the future.

At around 500 pages, Fabric of the Cosmos is both comprehensive and accessible. Greene's writing is not spectacular, but it is engaging and easy to follow, making the complex ideas much simpler to imagine and process. The biggest success in this book, I believe, is that Greene brings the reader into the world of quantum physics and String Theory. Given the complexity of the ideas involved, it would be easy for the author to either speak completely past his audience, or to distill the ideas to such a simplistic level as to offend. However, Greene successfully walks this thin line, creating an accessible world while concomitantly inviting the reader to engage the ideas beyond the level of mere metaphor. On the whole, this was quite an enjoyable book to read. While challenging at points, the content seduces the reader into the wild and wonderful world of quantum physics, a world–a universe–in which the impossible is possible, in which the absurd is the very fabric of which the universe is composed.

Endnote: For a compelling audio-visual version of the ideas contained in this book, head to http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/program.html to see a PBS special entitled "The Elegant Universe" which is based upon Greene's first book of the same name. All 3 hours are available to watch online for free, and are well worth the time to watch.