Bernard Werber

Bernard Werber

Bernard Werber (born September 18, 1961 in Toulouse) is a French science fiction writer active since the 1990s.


Werber was born in Toulouse (Haute-Garonne) in a Jewish family [ [] ] on 18 September 1961. Beginning at the age of 14, he wrote stories for a fanzine, an experience which would later be useful in his novels, such as "L'Empire des anges" (The Empire of the Angels). After leaving school, he became a Scientific journalist in "Le Nouvel Observateur" and "Eurêka", the magazine of the Cité des sciences et de l'industrie in Paris for about a decade. During this period, he developed an interest in science, which he mixes with his favourite themes, ants, death and the origins of the human race.

The works of Bernard Werber have been translated into 35 languages. With 15 million copies sold throughout the world, Bernard Werber is one of the most widely known modern French authors in the world. He even showed up in a TV program in South Korea once. [ [ Ombre et Lumière 2006 - Dailymotion Video] ] .

Following on from his book "L'Arbre des possibles" (The Tree of Possibilities), he started the "Arbre des possibles" Web site, a « project to research or imagine the possible futures for mankind [ [] . A futurology site resulting from an idea of Werber's: to trace a tree of the possible futures of mankind.] . »

The first full-length film by Bernard Werber "Nos amis les Terriens" (Our friends the Earthlings) released in April 2007, was produced by Claude Lelouch.


His style of writing mixes different literary genres, notably the saga, the science fiction of the inter-war years, and tracts of philosophy.

In most of his novels, Bernard Werber uses the same form of construction, alternating informative articles in the style of an encyclopaedia and normal prose. The articles define or enlarge upon the ideas in the main text.

Also there are connections between his novels. One finds characters like Edmond Wells both in the trilogy "Les Fourmis" (The Ants) and in the "L'Empire des anges" (The Empire of the Angels). Also there are recurrent themes like l'Arbre des Possibles (The Tree of Possible Things) of "Isidore Katzenberg", or even the novel Nous les dieux, which treats the ideas first presented in the short story "L’École des jeunes dieux" (The School of the Young Gods).

In the two novels, Werber describes various authors. We are presented with an author who, at the end of his life, writes a last book which makes sense of his previous work. Thus in having a certain similarity of characters, themes and styles, one can conclude that he is trying to give a certain coherence to the ideas that he is developing.

Some of his detractors accuse him of passing off certain scientific theories as proven, although they are only hypotheses with a scientific foundation. For example in the Les Thanatonautes (The Voyagers beyond Death) Werber states "more girls than boys are born on the Earth"; but the statistics show the opposite: even excluding the counties where the practice of selective abortion occurs, the human sex ratio at birth is 1.05 to 1 in favour of boys. The figures, by age band, only show more women than men after 30 years of age, and more so in the developed countries.

The 3rd October book launch

Several years ago Bernard Werber decided to launch a book each year on the 3rd of October, after the end of the summer holidays. The aim is to "to give the public something other than the prix Goncourt". [ Interview in the "La Croix" of 25 August 2003]

Stage and screen

In addition to the film Nos amis les Terriens, released in 2007, Werber has also produced a short film, La Reine De Nacre ("The Mother-of-pearl Queen"), and written a play, Nos Amis Les Humains ("Our Friends, the Humans").


The symbolism in his books is extensive. Animals such as the dolphins, rats and ants are intelligent animals, or at least are presented as such.

Also he returns frequently to the symbolism of figures that, according to the manner in which they are explained, reflect "the stage of the evolution of the soul".

Werber's philosophy

None of his works are intended to prove or support any particular scientific theory, but to present in a work of fiction various little-known discoveries to the public at large. L'Ultime secret (The Ultimate Secret) is a good illustration of this. It contains the following sentence: « Ils vont aller de surprise en surprise jusqu'à l'extraordinaire dénouement basé sur une découverte scientifique peu connue mais réelle. » (They are going to go from surprise to surprise eventually leading to the extraordinary conclusion, which is based on a little known but nevertheless real scientific discovery. )

Bernard Werber is a distinguished member of INREES, Institute for Research on Extraordinary Experiences, an association which exists to promote the acknowledgement of extraordinary or unusual experiences among the clientele of medical health professionals, doctors and caregivers.

"It is time to remove the customary divisions between the official and the irrational views of the world. There are facts and occurrences and it is important to discuss them normally without passion or systematic exclusion. The world is not a simple dichotomy between belief and non-belief. There is a place for a third way, which may be summed up in a sentence:

I cannot explain it yet, but that doesn’t prevent me thinking about it and seeing if it might not have some use."

This approach is reflected in the contents of his novels, like for example the Thanatonautes, which proposes a spiritualist version of near death experiences, or even Nos Amis les terriens which talks of alien abductions. Science, the paranormal and spirituality influence several of his novels.


"Les Fourmis" trilogy

*"Les Fourmis", Prix des lecteurs de Science et Avenir, 1991, ISBN 2-226-05257-7. (lit. "The Ants", translated into English as "Empire of the Ants"). This book sold more than two million copies and has been translated into more than 30 languages.
*"Le Jour des Fourmis", 1992, ISBN 2-226-06118-5 (lit. "The Day of the Ants")
*"La Révolution des Fourmis", 1996, ISBN 2-226-08636-6 (lit. "The Revolution of the Ants")

"Les Thanatonautes" trilogy

*"Les Thanatonautes", 1994, ISBN 2-226-06758-2 (lit. "The Thanatonauts")
*"L'Empire des Anges", 2000, ISBN 2-226-11526-9 (lit. "The Empire of the Angels")
**"Nous, les Dieux", 2004, ISBN 2-226-15498-1 (lit. "Us, Gods")
**"Le Souffle des Dieux", 2005, ISBN 2-226-16807-9 (lit. "The Breath of the Gods")
**"Le Mystère des Dieux" 2007, ISBN 2-226-17979-8 (lit. "The Mystery of the Gods")

"Le Père De Nos Pères" trilogy

*"Le père de nos pères", 1998, ISBN 2-226-10562-X (lit. "The Father of our Fathers")
*"L'ultime secret", 2001, ISBN 2-226-12740-2 (lit. "The Ultimate Secret")no third book (as of 2007)

Other novels

*"Le papillon des étoiles"", 2006, ISBN 2-226-17349-8 (lit. "The Butterfly of the Stars")

Experimental books

*"L'Encyclopédie du savoir relatif et absolu", 1993, ISBN 2-226-06583-0 (lit. "The Encyclopedia of Relative and Absolute Knowledge")
*"Le Livre du Voyage", 1997, ISBN 2-226-09445-8 (lit. "The Book of Travel")
*"Le Livre secret des Fourmis", 2002 (lit. "The Secret Book of the Ants")
*"Nos amis, les humains", 2003 (lit. "Our Friends, the Humans")

hort stories

*"L'Arbre des possibles", 2002, ISBN 2-226-13459-X (lit. "The Tree of Possibles")


**"Exit Tome 1", 1999, ISBN 2-226-10451-8
**"Le Deuxième Cercle", 2000, ISBN 2-226-11474-2 (lit. "The Second Circle")
**"Jusqu'au dernier souffle", 2002 (lit. "Until the Last Breath")
*"Les Enfants D'Ève", May 2005 (lit. "The Children of Eve")


*La Reine de nacre (short, 15'), 2001 (lit. "The Mother-of-pearl Queen")
*Les Humains (short, 9'), 2003 (lit. "The Humans")
*Nos amis les Terriens (full length), produced by Claude Lelouch, 2007 (lit. "Our Friends, the Earthlings")


*"Nos amis, les humains", 2003, ISBN 2-226-13793-9, produced in 2004 by Jean-Christophe Barc with Audrey Dana and Jean-Christophe Barc


External links

* [ Werber's official website]
* [ Albin Michel's Werber website]
* [ "Encyclopédie du Savoir Relatif et Absolu" online]
* [ His page as a member of the assistance committee of the INREES]

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