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Nonfiction Notices

Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster, Mike Davis (Metropolitan Books 0-8050-5106-6, $27.50, 484pp, hc, August 1998) Widely reviewed book about how Los Angeles is a city especially prone to natural disaster and how it has taken up that role in popular culture. Noted here especially for the two final chapters, ''The Literary Destruction of Los Angeles'' and ''Beyond Blade Runner'' (together 150pp), which cover SF works from Heinlein and Matheson to Independence Day. In SF movies, writes Davis, when New York is destroyed, it's a tragedy; when LA is destroyed, it's a farce.
(Mon 12 Oct 98)
What Remains to Be Discovered, John Maddox (Free Press 0-684-82292-X, $26.00, 14+434pp, hc, October 1998) Two years ago John Horgan published The End of Science, which claimed that all the fundamental discoveries science could make had been made (and he gave reasons why such a claim was not like similar-sounding claims from previous generations). This book by Maddox, editor of Nature, appears to be a direct response to Horgan (though it's nowhere explicitly acknowledged as such): there are plenty of revolutionary discoveries waiting to be made in the next century. Chapters cover the origins of the universe, theories of everything, the biological machinery of life, and the nature of the brain. There's a remarkably contentless quote from Horgan on the back cover.
(Mon 12 Oct 98)
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