Cover image for Biospheres : metamorphosis of planet earth
Biospheres : metamorphosis of planet earth
Sagan, Dorion, 1959-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : McGraw-Hill, 1990.
Physical Description:
198 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
QH313 .S24 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Earth as a cosmic seed is a biosphere. This book is about the concentric layers of experience at the Earth's surface, and the way the past gets tangled up in the present.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Biospheres are self-contained ecological environments, ranging from laboratory-bred bacteria colonies to the Soviet Bios project involving prototypes of interplanetary spaceships. Coauthor with Lynn Margulis of Micro cosmos , Sagan takes a close look at Biosphere II, a sealed metal-and-glass terrarium for animals, plants and humans now under construction near Tucson, Ariz. Criticized by some as technocratic Disneylands or elitist retreats, biospheres are defended here as bulwarks against an increasingly polluted world, as experimental laboratories and even as confirmation of British chemist James Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis, which views planet Earth as a single, live, self-regulating organism. Sagan's convoluted futurist tract is most useful for its sifting of evidence for the Gaia hypothesis from diverse areas--the behavior of termites, atmospheric science, genetics, etc. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This book basically consists of philosophical reflections on the reproduction of the Earth's environment on other planets and in self-contained enclosures on Earth. It is fundamentally an extension of the Gaia hypothesis, which is explained in books such as Michael Allaby's A Guide to Gaia ( LJ 2/1/90). Some of the ideas and analogies presented are reasonable, others appear far-fetched. This book does not have as firm a scientific basis as Sagan's previous books, Microcosmos ( LJ 6/15/86) and Garden of Microbial Delights (HBJ, 1988), both coauthored with Lynn Margulis, but it does present some provocative ideas in a readable manner.-- Joseph Hannibal, Cleveland Museum of Natural History (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

A wide-ranging, thought-provoking volume dealing with little-known features of the biosphere. Although the material discussed is interesting and varied, much of it does not deal with mainstream ecological research. The book's main ideas depend a great deal on the Gaia hypothesis of James Lovelock. Biospheres is also a very creative treatise, building on ideas that are mostly speculative, but fraught with major implications for the future of our planet and our species. It is enjoyable reading; the interesting chapter references could lead to further development of the Sagan's ideas by the reader. Biospheres is an optimistic book, in that it shows a pathway through the gloomy predictions of many scientists who worry about an overly polluted planet. -F. F. Flint, Randolph-Macon Woman's College