Belletristic Essay

Belletristic Essay-80
For example, as some reviewers noted when his second best seller, , by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, who, because of this 1818 novel, is often seen as the originator of the modern science-fiction genre.In the early 1880’s, electricity was still a fairly new discovery and hence a mysterious force, and so Shelley’s suggestion that it might somehow revitalize inert limbs and organs seemed not implausible. In , then, Crichton rewrites Shelley’s scenario: The “monster” is not a creature stitched together from cadavers but a living man beset by physical and emotional ailments whose brain has been wired so as to control his moods and impulses, thereby giving him a new life.Gould introduces what he calls "the 'main event' of my early career," his proposal (with Niles Eldredge) of the theory of punctuated equilibrium.

For example, as some reviewers noted when his second best seller, , by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, who, because of this 1818 novel, is often seen as the originator of the modern science-fiction genre.In the early 1880’s, electricity was still a fairly new discovery and hence a mysterious force, and so Shelley’s suggestion that it might somehow revitalize inert limbs and organs seemed not implausible. In , then, Crichton rewrites Shelley’s scenario: The “monster” is not a creature stitched together from cadavers but a living man beset by physical and emotional ailments whose brain has been wired so as to control his moods and impulses, thereby giving him a new life.Gould introduces what he calls "the 'main event' of my early career," his proposal (with Niles Eldredge) of the theory of punctuated equilibrium.

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The Andromeda Strain The first novel published under Crichton’s own name—and his first work that was not a conventional murder mystery— in the 1990’s Crichton’s most widely read book.

In it, we see at the inception of his career as a best-selling science-fiction/thriller writer the themes and techniques that he used most consistently throughout his life.

These procedures as described may be in advance of contemporary science, but they still fall within the realm of near-future possibilities.

Likewise, in , that seminal science-fiction writer’s exploration of the borderlands between humanity and other species. Moreau create humanoid creatures from animals through painful operations, Crichton’s characters employ more believable twenty-first century science involving DNA and gene splicing.

Nearly all of our life so passes nearly all the time (and thank goodness, lest we all be psychological basket cases).

Shall we not find fascination in the earth's daily doings?Gould's cross-referencing, the parenthetical directions to consult this or that essay in the book for further treatment, as though not trusting readers to make thematic connections on their own.And there is something obsessive about his repeated use of certain quotes by Freud and Darwin, his lucky-charm statement that he is "a tradesman, not a polymath" and his caveat that "evolution, as I always say, no doubt to the point of readers' boredom, is a copiously branching bush, not a ladder." These repetitions suggest a mind as mechanically reactive in certain areas of expression as it is flexible in the pursuit of new ideas. Gould's essayistic productivity lies precisely in the trust he puts in certain familiar compositional strategies, pet phrases and quotations to get him going.I learned many fascinating things about the Cambrian explosion, the extinct blaauwbock (a blue antelope), new theories of taxonomy, catastrophism versus uniformitarianism -- most of which I suspect I will forget in a month, but maybe not. But whether delighted or bored, I deepened my acquaintance with that singular literary character, Stephen Jay Gould.I found his perspective on fads in science museums incisive and eloquent, and his excursions into literary matters (like Edgar Allan Poe's conchology book) enlightening. Like all self-conscious essayists, he has erected a persona -- and first-person stand-in -- that selectively mirrors the author in real life. Gould does not generally write personal essays, we do learn many details about him in passing: he is "a man of below-average stature" who played washtub bass in his youth; adores Gothic cathedrals; wears white, legendless T-shirts; persists in rooting for the Yankees though he lives in the Boston area; and collects old books. Gould's "I," as he chooses to represent himself, is first of all a mensch: the public-school Jewish kid from Queens, a "dinosaur nut" (ridiculed as "Fossil Face" by his schoolmates), who became a lover of tolerance and reason, a "humanist at heart," a "meat-and-potatoes man." Layered over this earthy Everyman is a proud, prickly researcher not above tooting his horn; a tireless (and sometimes tiresome) polemicist for Darwin's theory of evolution; a melancholy, introverted antiquarian who cherishes the noble deeds of the semi-forgotten dead; and an extroverted lecturer who inspires uncommonly with his enthusiasms -- but who also falls into that more common professorial style of facetious pedantry and self-quotation.A typical essay begins by citing some proverb, passage of poetry or famous quip, which Mr.Gould uses as a bridge to the elucidation of a scientific issue.Consciously or unconsciously, Crichton seems to have devoted much of his career to creating a vast patchwork quilt of intertextual reconstructions of classic science-fiction stories.Crichton’s dedication to “real” science is his most obvious and recurrent theme.And when he brings them together he does so with a pleased "aha!" "I do love coincidences of this sort," he says, calling them "God's gift to an essayist." Yes, but only the sort of essayist who revels in collage. Gould's more rarefied excursions convey no feeling beyond a too-whimsical curiosity.

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