Clones and Clones: Facts and Fantasies about Human Cloning

Martha Nussbaum, Editor, Cass Sunstein, Editor W. W. Norton & Company $26.95 (351p) ISBN 978-0-393-04648-9
This compendium--two-thirds original, the remainder reprint--of essays, short fiction and poetry on the headlining topic of cloning offers a variety of insights ranging from an anti-male screed by Andrea Dworkin to a wide-ranging and subtle tract on the mythopoetic antecedents of today's technology from religion scholar Wendy Doniger. With 24 contributors in five categories--science; commentary; ethics and religion; law and public policy; fiction and fantasy--including three presentations by the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, there is a predictable unevenness in the quality of the writing. Editors Nussbaum (The Fragility of Goodness) and Sunstein (Free Markets and Social Justice) provide two of the more interesting pieces, the former a short story and the latter an exegesis on the legal implications of cloning. Gifted essayist Stephen Jay Gould offers one of his patented mazelike gems that entertains as well as informs. Poet C.K. Williams provides a provocative and troubling prose poem that conjures up monstrous images from ancient mythology to Freud. This book establishes a platform from which the general reader may move into specific areas of concern on the controversial subject of cloning. The spectrum of authors and their varying perspectives in fact and fiction are assets to anyone who hopes to understand this broad issue and its vast cultural implications. Editor, Alane Mason. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!