Laying the foundation of the book in concrete physics, Greene re-imagines the Greek myth Icarus, a boy whose wax and feather wings melt as he flies to close to the sun, ignoring the admonitions of is father. Consequently, he falls into the sea. The boy in Greene’s story doesn’t quite meet such a moribund demise, but he does return from exploring a black hole (against the warnings of his scientist father) to find that time had passed disproportionally while he was gone, everything he knew had changed.
NPR’s Robert Krulwich does an exemplary job of explaining the relationship between gravity and time in this article, while discussing theoretical physicist Brian Greene‘s new picture book Icarus at the Edge of Time. You can even hear Greene and Krulwich perform a shortened version of the book in the accompanying broadcast.