Science writing can be humorous, as these selected columns from now-defunct Discover magazine demonstrate. To be funny, of...

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THE MAN WITH NO ENDORPHINS

Science writing can be humorous, as these selected columns from now-defunct Discover magazine demonstrate. To be funny, of course, implies a basic savvy about the field as well as a flair for the absurd. Gorman is richly endowed on both counts. His wit can be gentle, as in a piece on educating hatchery-bred salmon to fear natural predators--putting the ""fear of cod"" in them: not his pun, he dutifully acknowledges. Or self-deprecating, when he tries his hand on interactive computers to train medical students (he kills all his emergency-room patients). He is, of course, The Man with No Endorphins (pace Oliver Sacks), bitterly complaining that running gives him no highs, and, indeed, venting spleen and much pain at such ""First World"" trauma as tax forms, computers, and commercial airlines for which evolution has not prepared us. Most of the time, however, he is Everyman Science Writer, impressed by feats of low and high technology (from toothpaste pumps to fancy new toilet flush mechanisms to the generation of minipigs). He pokes delicious fun at sociobiologists (""The DNA of the DAR"") anthropologists (""There's This Tribe. . .""), and at psychologists through the very articles appearing in the learned journals. Beware reading this volume in public: there are at least 1.7 uncontrollable guffaws per essay.

Pub Date: April 1, 1988

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1988