Colin Tudge

Hotting Up

A Rough Ride to the Future: The Next Evolution of Gaia


Allen Lane/The Penguin Press 208pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

James Lovelock has provided one of the great insights of science, and indeed of metaphysics: that the Earth as a whole and all the creatures on it behave in combination, like some kind of meta-organism. The physical forces at work in the world and the cosmos combine to create the conditions that make life possible. In other words, the Earth and all its organisms are homeostatic; they capture energy from their surroundings and use it to maintain conditions that favour their own continuance. This is what distinguishes living from non-living systems. Lovelock’s friend and neighbour, the novelist William Golding, suggested a name for this metaphorical organism, Gaia, after the Greek goddess of the Earth. Lovelock was at first derided by his fellow scientists

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying… ,
    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,
    • The author 'seethes with contemptuous indignation at the shiny junk that an unregulated construction industry dumps… ,
    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,
    • 'All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And t… ,
    • 'You are interested in a particular subject; basic research hardens this interest into an obsession, after which th… ,