Reviewed by Matthew Appleton
This review originally appeared in the June 2003 issue (#178) of The New York Review of Science Fiction.
The discovery of nuclear fission ranks as one of the greatest innovations of the twentieth century. It ended World War II, ushered in the Cold War, brought a new form of power and fueled our worst nightmares with the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl disasters. It also conveniently brought about the metaphor of the nuclear family, and as the twentieth century progressed, the metaphor became as combustible as the real thing. I know from experience: my nuclear family underwent fission when I was just four years old. With divorce rates in the United States hovering around 50% for a number of years now, this phenomenon shows no sign of abating soon. This unavoidable fact of modern life also provides a basis for David Gerrold’s two most recent novels, Jumping off the Planet and Bouncing off the Moon.