News from an unknown universe

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

News from an Unknown Universe , with the subtitle A journey through the seas , is a non-fiction book by Frank Schätzing . The work collects the results of the author's five years of research on which his bestseller The Swarm is based.

The knowledge gathered when writing the eco-thriller was only able to use around 20 percent of the knowledge that it claims. So one night in a bar he and his publisher came up with the idea of ​​using the remaining 80 percent to write a 150-page "ribbon". The 150 pages were then attached to a non-fiction book of over 600 pages, Schätzing's seventh book, which is intended to lead even an inexperienced reader through the history of the earth and seas from “the day before yesterday” to “the day after tomorrow” in a relaxed, humorous tone. On behalf of ZDF , the non-fiction book was filmed in 2010 as a three-part documentary “Terra X - Universe of the Oceans”. The documentation, which was also released on DVD, has an illustrated edition of the book.


The non-fiction book is divided into three large thematic complexes, in which Frank Schätzing deals with the relationship between man and the sea in the past, the present and the future.

In the first section, entitled “Yesterday”, Schätzing explains how the water from the oceans got to earth, how the complex DNA molecule and ultimately the cell developed from simple protein structures . He then pays special attention to the development of marine fauna in the various geological ages Ediacarian , Cambrian , Devon , Silurian , Mesozoic and so on. - He also dares to look at the mainland and describes to the reader how the first land animals developed and why the reverse development from land to sea animals also occurred. In his explanations, Schätzing goes deeply and repeatedly on natural selection according to Charles Darwin .

In the second section, entitled “Today” and dedicated to the present, Schätzing gives a lot of space to the physical topics related to the sea. He vividly explains the gravitational effects of the moon on the oceans, the macroscopic structures on the sea surface ("bumps in the sea") caused by gravitational differences, the formation and propagation of waves and especially of tsunamis . Complex geographical relationships such as the global ocean current cycle are also explained in a generally understandable manner. In addition, Schätzing focuses on typical contemporary communities in the oceans, such as coral reefs, biotopes of black smokers, deep sea floors, on whales and sharks, and shows conflicts with humans, such as the overfishing of global fish stocks and the hunt for endangered shark species. He also sheds light on the search for other species in the oceans and especially for intelligent species and finally goes into the hypothetical “products” of cryptozoology , the search for mythical marine creatures.

In the third part, aptly titled “Tomorrow”, Schätzing describes to the reader what the future of the seas and the relationship between man and sea could look like. Topics include the importance of the oceans as trade routes, the aspect of energy generation from the sea, the "technolution" and the possibilities of human settlement in the sea. Finally, he presents some considerations about oceanic worlds on alien planets.

In the epilogue “The Day After Tomorrow”, Schätzing deals with long-term developments in relation to the seas, especially in economic terms.

In addition to the regular text, a glossary , a geological timeline and a selection of recommended links on the topic are added at the end.


  1. Interview with Frank Schätzing ( Memento from February 14, 2007 in the Internet Archive )


"Groups of young, successful cyanobacteria, trendy and hip, wandered through the shallow waters, celebrated multiplication parties in the sunlight and just threw around with oxygen."

- Frank Schätzing: News from an unknown universe. P. 57.

“You can't buy sea cucumbers by the glass, and they are only angry when they run out of food, which is why they are incessantly gulping down on silt. Whatever is nutritious is digested, but the sediment is excreted. "

- Frank Schätzing: News from an unknown universe. P. 442.

“In school we learned that teacher knowledge is absolute knowledge. But science can never be absolute. It is the art of approach. It does not define, but circles, does not draw dividing lines, but creates transitions, knows no dogmas, but developments. It cannot verify anything, it can only create the clearest possible picture by deleting variables. "

- Frank Schätzing: News from an unknown universe. P. 17.


  • News from an unknown universe. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2006, ISBN 3-462-03690-4 .
  • News from an unknown universe. A journey through the seas. Dhv der Hörverlag, 2006, ISBN 3-89940-854-3 . (Audio version)