Luminous Fish: Tales of Science and Love
Lynn Margulis. Chelsea Green, $21.95 (192p) ISBN 978-1-933392-33-2 Distinguished University Professor in the department of geosciences at the University of Massachusetts, Margulis charts the professional and romantic lives of a handful of scientists in her first fiction outing, a mixed bag of sex, seduction and science. In the first story, "Conceits (Howard)," René studies chemistry and dates the monumentally self-absorbed Howard Fein, a medical student whose selfishness results in lifelong repercussions for René. Later, in "Gases (Raoul)," René has a toxic affair with fellow atmospheric chemist Raoul Gautier, who alternately accepts and rejects her advances. In "The Estimator (Georges)," readers meet Georges Standon, a space scientist haunted by the long-ago disappearance of his wife, Odile, who, in the following story ("Meeting"), becomes fast friends with René at a science conference. Margulis's portrayal of the scientific life—isolated, oddly passionate and laced with the joy of discovery—brings out the lyricist in her, though she is less adept at navigating the inner lives of her "dedicated loners." Margulis's ambitious project is partially successful.