Gregory E. Pence, . . Rowan & Littlefield, $17.95 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-7425-1437-9

Although the 34 previously published essays in this collection reveal little that is either brave or new, Pence (Designer Food) revels in challenging media stereotypes of bioethics as well as conservative philosophical positions on cloning and assisted reproduction. These short pieces range widely over topics including reproductive and therapeutic cloning, assisted reproduction, organ donation, assisted suicide, genetically modified foods and public health care costs. Pence contends that the media have often misrepresented human cloning by reporting that it would produce an identical person to the donor. In fact, he argues, a human clone can never be an exact copy of the donor because the clone will grow up in different social and parenting environments. Pence also argues for lifting the ban on federally funded fertility research on embryos to benefit infertile couples for whom in vitro fertilization is too expensive. The collection would have been more valuable, however, if Pence had linked the essays with some common themes and eliminated redundancies. Moreover, a good many of these pieces feel old, dating from the 1980s and early '90s, in an area that changes dramatically almost weekly. Still, those interested in bioethics will find Pence's views an interesting contrast with those of Leon Kass presented in Life, Liberty and the Defense of Dignity: The Challenge for Bioethics (Forecasts, Sept. 9). (Jan.)