A real encounter between a young Lynn Margulis and J. Robert Oppenheimer and his family complements four gently linked stories. I think of a multidimensional tango, of men and women to be sure, but also of two less predictable partners—love and science. Margulis' first fiction is as intriguing as her research in evolution!
—Roald Hoffmann, Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1981)
In the public eye, talented scientists are usually seen to be single-minded individuals who obsessively dedicate their entire lives to the dispassionate elucidation of arcane and complex issues. The emotional distractions which afflict the lives of ordinary beings seem lacking.
Lynn Margulis' book exposes the reality of the passions, sexual and other desires which underlie and drive the lives of men and women scientists. This is done through four delightful, linked pieces of fiction spiced with a concluding personal memoir of some very real people.
This enjoyable, original and unique book also reflects its unusual title. Luminous fish give flashes of illumination on to their prey by alternately exposing and hiding their radiant tissue (which is packed with symbiotic, luminescent bacteria). In a similar fashion, Lynn Margulis gives brilliant glimpses of the public and private lives of her characters, and their emotional interactions with each other.
An excellent, fascinating and very readable portrayal of men and women scientists as the normal human beings they really are!
—Sir David Smith, Fellow and former Biological Secretary, Royal Society of London
Difficult artists and writers are plentiful in fiction, but Lynn Margulis has a unique and vivid gift for portraying work-driven scientists and their mystified, vexed, or frustrated mates and friends. And lurking just behind these highly emotional stories lies the great scientific story (in which Margulis was herself a central participant) of how science reluctantly came to understand that our planet's atmosphere is a biological phenomenon.
—Ernest Callenbach, author of Ecotopia
Science is often viewed as the cold, objective study of nature. Lynn Margulis shows us that this pursuit is often strongly and wonderfully influenced by the human touch. Luminous Fish is a fascinating read.
—Margaret McFall-Ngai, Professor of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Wisconsin
On transatlantic overnight flights, I often hope the book I've chosen will quickly put me to sleep. Not so with Luminous Fish, which pleasantly kept me awake much of the night. Lynn Margulis has penned a delightful collection of essays of real scientists going about their all-too ordinary lives at work and play. Seldom has the subjective side of science been captured better, nor surprisingly so as Lynn herself very much lives the life of some of those profiled within. A penetrating, realistic work of science and passion if there ever was one.
—Eric Chaisson, Wright Center for Science Education, Tufts University