- Paperback: 124 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (September 15, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312194331
- ISBN-13: 978-0312194338
- Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.4 x 10.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 59 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,402,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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After Man: A Zoology of the Future 1st Edition
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"A fascinating, elegant fantasy." --Boston Globe
"After Man is grand fun and marvelously imaginative." --The Los Angeles Times Book Review
"[Dixon's] brief explanation of the principles of evolution is so lucid, and the detailed illustrations of futuristic beasts are so charming, that After Man is bound to captivate readers of all ages." --Chicago Sun-Times
"An extraordinary book! There are wonders on every page. After Man is an extrapolative tour de force." --Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine
"Stunning in execution and implication, this will be a decided treat for futurist biology student or enthusiast, science fiction fan and general reader." --Booklist
About the Author
Model making and the creation of animated films occupy much of his spare time.
The idea of writing about evolution looking forwards rather than backwards was not a sudden inspiration but has been evolving in the author's mind ever since his college days.
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Beginning with a basic review of the principles of biology and evolution, Dixon proceeds to apply them across a range of environments on an Earth 50 million years removed from mankind. The result is a menagerie of remarkable creatures. Remarkable in that they are frequently unique, even bizarre, but even more remarkable because they represent the result of a familiar creature's evolution. Dixon's world isn't a fantasyland, every creature in it holds true to the principles he so effectively explains in the first chapter. Moreover, they all fill an important ecological niche; he hasn't created 150 pages of carnivores. Rather, he presents a balanced, albeit limited, ecosystem that sheds light on the state of our own environment today.
Beautifully illustrated and highly engaging, "After Man" is a must read for anyone interested in evolution and anthropology. Furthermore, this book is educational without being heavy handed. One by no means needs to be an expert to learn from and enjoy this very unique work.
The book opens with a nice primer on the history of life on Earth through mankind. This factual section is printed on a yellow, heavy paper and consists of about twelve pages of content. Although the page count doesn't seem like much, these pages are packed with information discussing concepts such as evolution, cell genetics, and animal behavior. While the content of this section is not in full color, there is an abundance of illustrations.
The main section of the book, Life After Man, is beautifully illustrated throughout in full color life-like paintings. We are presented a world 50 million years after man brought about his own extinction. The continents have continued to drift and we see a geography different yet familiar. This section is mainly broken down by regions and climate. While each page contains wonderful illustrations, the primary layout of the book is such that one page is heavily illustrated and the facing page contains information about the animals and habitats depicted.
The book concludes as it began with yellow, heavy paper. A couple pages are devoted to discussing the future of life and a nice appendix with glossary and a tree of life are present. Finally, an index.
While the primary content could certainly be considered fantasy, the concepts and how they are applied are as scientific as any. Unlike other books presenting fantastic views of the future, the author has kept his vision grounded to the science as he sees it. Animal loving kids as well as adults should love this book. In retrospect I find it even more interesting. In a time when nuclear war seemed a real possibility and global cooling was seen as the most likely environmental concern, we were given a view of a thriving planet millions of years after our departure.
I love the drawings, particular of naked Sandsharks that look like something from the spice worms of Dune, Striger cats that have prehensile tails and grasping paws, Predator Rats, Swimming Monkeys, the penguin become 12 meter whale-like plankton-eating Vortex, Slobbers who catch insects with their slobber, and look like a marsupial bundle of moss, and bipedal walking screaming 1.5m tall bats, the Night Stalkers. Some of these ideas may sound outlandish- a good number of them certainly are. But the best part is Dixon gives solid evolutionary theory for how each would evolve, dictated by a changing environment and the raw material of previous genetic code. So we get classic island giganticism and the freedom of evolution on islands. We get the foreseeable continual development of symbiosis between antelopes and tick birds, such that now the tick birds nest in a special dorsal cleft on the antelope. And those animals that are the most successful today, such as the rodents, insectivores, and lagomorphs (especially rats and rabbits) are the ones with the greatest opportunity for diversity in the future.
I would highly recommend this book for any student of evolution. It's not fact; it's simply based on sound theory. It's the best kind of science fiction, as it all could happen. It's certainly fiction, but more than fiction, as it will help you contemplate the foundational truths of evolution.