An introduction to four billion years of evolution, starting with the Big Bang and concluding with speculation about life on other planets and space colonization. Early chapters dealing with the definition of life and the formation of stars, planets, and the first living cells are masterful, though extremely condensed. But later chapters--about the geologic record and the evolution of plants, animals and man--are so compressed that the general reader would be better served with an encyclopedia article: The 80 million years of the Cambrian Period are dealt with here in two and a half pages, while the 60 million years of the Ordovician Period are given only three paragraphs. Glossary; list for further reading; index. To be illustrated with photos and diagrams.