The Fragile Species

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

In his newest essay collection, THE FRAGILE SPECIES, Lewis Thomas offers some wise and perceptive commentaries on the human condition at the onset of the twenty-first century. An elegant stylist renowned for his clarity, wit, and perception, Thomas has reached a wide public audience as a wise and knowledgeable observer of modern biology and medicine. He has a unique gift for deflating our fears and worries through his cautiously optimistic discussions of such troubling issues as AIDS, drug abuse, gene splicing, overpopulation, and the Earth’s fragile ecology.

An inveterate “biology watcher,” Thomas has become increasingly concerned with the health of the Earth, which, like a human body, is suffering from a host of illnesses: ozone holes, acid rain, the greenhouse effect, and the threat of nuclear annihilation. In the face of these threats, Thomas takes heart from the evidence of cooperation, communication, and interdependence rather than brute competition on the level of microbiology. Thomas reminds us that we are a young species with much to learn. Rather than being troubled by the extent of human ignorance, which he is quick to admit, Thomas finds reason for hope in the prospect of what we may still learn about the basic mechanisms of disease and aging. As in his previous books, Thomas celebrates our human capacity for language, music (especially Bach), creativity, and play. He urges continued public support for basic biomedical research, which offers the best hope for finding eventual cures for AIDS and the global environmental problems that beset us.

In THE FRAGILE SPECIES, Lewis Thomas offers a scintillating collection of new essays on the human and planetary condition.