Today, scientists race to reanimate extinct beasts, our most essential ecosystems require monumental engineering projects to survive, and chicken breasts grow in test tubes. No rock, leaf, or cubic foot of air on Earth has escaped humanity's clumsy signature. The distinctions we grew up with—between natural and artificial, dystopia and utopia, science fiction and science fact—have blurred, losing all meaning.
In “Second Nature”, we meet ordinary people who make desperate efforts to preserve their humanity in a world that seems increasingly alien. Their stories—obsessive, intimate, and deeply reported—help us understand our place in a reality that resembles nothing human beings have known before.
Nathaniel Rich is a writer-at-large for “The New York Times Magazine” and a regular contributor to “The Atlantic”, “Harper’s”, and “The New York Review of Books”. His other books include “Losing Earth: A Recent History” and the novels “King Zeno”, “Odds Against Tomorrow”, and “The Mayor’s Tongue”.