The author of Losing Earth returns with an exploration of our post-natural world in which scientists race to reanimate extinct beasts, our most essential ecosystems require monumental engineering projects to survive, chicken breasts grow in test tubes, and multinational corporations conspire to poison the blood of every living creature.
... an unwavering look at our increasingly dystopian world ... Rich presents humanity’s war against nature in vivid detail, with nature nearly defeated ... Flowing and deeply researched prose paints scene after scene of the ubiquitous entropy that is gaining momentum ... As devastating as the darkness is, however, Rich illuminates those acting on behalf of life itself ... Rich manages to fluently and empathetically depict in a digestible way the predicament in which we now find ourselves. The weight of the book is carried by deeply humanistic and nuanced stories of those whose lives have been devastated and those fighting for justice on their behalf, alongside those playing God with nature via biotechnology and chemistry ... Rich articulately, sometimes even brutally, evinces how the onus is upon all of us to respond morally while simultaneously living with a reality that Dr. Frankenstein knew quite well: A monster set loose becomes a threat to our own existence.
... essentially a compilation of recent essays ... Such conciseness is welcome. There is only so much eco-despair a reader can take, after all ... succinctly outline a basic issue that is best summed up by Albert Einstein’s maxim: 'We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.' In short, we need a very radical reappraisal of our place on Earth.
This landscape is uncanny, but the figures that populate it are by now familiar: heroic scientists, arrogant capitalists, slippery politicians, noble advocates, innocent bystanders. Many of the stories follow an investigative arc ripped from the frames of ’90s environmental dramas and domestic espionage films ... Would-be masters of the universe make for easy allegories. The book is full of failed Faustian biotech capers ... The anticlimactic nature of these stories ought to be unsettling. Indeed, by the end of each one, we know exactly what has happened and who is responsible, but there is no accountability. There’s not even, really, an end. There is only the realization of what’s underway, rising up around us like warming water. Yet Rich can’t help but bring this anticlimactic irresolution to a familiar point—to a cliff-hanger that delays comeuppance. His deft craftsmanship notwithstanding, this collection is documentation. The breached boundaries must be identified, analyzed, and recorded, because someday, there will the consequences. This isn’t wrong, but it’s a little easy.