A biologist describes the magical landscapes of Baja California from a scientist's point of view and tells how his experience on the peninsula helped him recapture the natural curiosity that spurred his career
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
A scientist's turgid record of a trip through the Baja, ``intended to be a sort of cosmology'' but foundering under its own portentous weight. Janovy (Fields of Friendly Strife, 1987; Back in Keith County, 1981, etc.) is invited by a biologist friend on a student expedition to this little-populated Mexican peninsula covered with cardon deserts, granite mountains, and whales breeding offshore. Along his way, he discusses cardons--the giant cacti that make up veritable forests; rock pelicans--the ``bird whose beak can hold more than his belly can''; and a hermit named Mike, who abandoned his business to live in a mountaintop cave. Janovy is absorbing when he sticks to the concrete, but more often he indulges in relentless free association, strained analogies, and paragraphs that end in watery wisdom. While changing planes, for instance, he ruminates that in a hour he will be over Utah, ``geologists' airspace''; that ``pilgrimages seem to be almost instinctive''; that ``humans retain the influence of the geophysical habitat in which they pass their formative years''; and that ``through such returnings we find our who we are.'' Watching a brown pelican, Janovy gives an interesting discussion of the bird's habits, its place in the family of water birds, and a comely description of the bird diving into the sea. As with so many of Janovy's subjects, though, ``...the pelican becomes a metaphor instead of a bird,'' as Janovy explains how ``adjusting my `search image' allows me to see the hidden components of a scene'' and that ``we can test our higher levels of vision by learning how to observe pelicans....'' Would a chicken do in a pinch? Stouthearted readers may be able to stalk Janovy's cognitions through his forest of verbiage; for others, the trek will be arduous and the reward nebulous. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Library Journal:
Janovy (biology, Univ. of Nebraska) describes a journey to Baja California in search of the landscape described in John Steinbeck's Sea of Cortez . Along the way he muses on the changing nature of scientific research in the 1990s, noting that most of it has become a scramble for bio-tech dollars conducted in areas chosen to garner grant money and patents rather than based on personal interest. Besides describing Baja's natural history, Janovy explores topics ranging from a biologist's place in society to the effects of population and information explosions. This work transcends the traditional "field study" by examining how modern pressures have changed scientists and their research. Recommended for science, natural history, and travel collections.
- Tim Markus, Evergreen State Coll. Lib., Olympia, Wash.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description Houghton Mifflin. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0395576490 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # 8KN-WVBB-U887
Book Description Houghton Mifflin Co. /Riverside Press, New York, NY, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Co. /Riverside Press, 1992. 240 pages. Biologist and writer explores the mountain, desert and ocean habitats of the Baja ecosystem. Notes, bibliography. Hard Cover. New/New. 8vo. Bookseller Inventory # 008476
Book Description Houghton Mifflin, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110395576490