Some of these books
are books that have been the texts for this
course. I list them with comments for
my students, and for others who may be
voyaging with us though not taking the
course for credit at California State
University, Los Angeles. There are many
good textbooks available for the individual
sciences that world building touches on.
These books are intended to synthesize
the information that world builders need
specifically, and, in some cases, to give
an overview to people who are just beginning
to work in a particular area of science. These books are available from
Douglas. (1999) Atlas
of the Prehistoric World.
New York: Discovery Books.
beautiful book shows the
development of life on earth from
the earliest times. It has
many beautiful pictures, and is a
treasure for learners of all
ages. The book also shows the
positions of our drifting
continents during the past 500
ISBN Number: 1-56331-829-6
Also available at http://www.amazon.com/
Ward, Peter Douglas & Donald
The Life and Death of
Planet Earth: How the New Science
Charts the Ultimate Fate of Our
New York: Henry Holt and
This book is at once saddening
and satisfying. It tells the
story of our world, its beginnings,
and the rise and diversification of
life. Then it projects the
possible course of our future, and
the sliding of life backwards to
more simple forms. It gives
several scenarios for the
processes that will precede the end
of our world, when the expanding
sun will gather the inner planets
into itself. It is an easy,
enjoyable, and fascinating read.
Ward, Peter Douglas & Donald Brownlee
(2000). Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe Copernicus Books.
is a very interesting book that explores the evolution of our earth
from the perspective of looking to see what elements and events made
the evolution of complex life (animals) possible. Many circumstances, or the
lack of them, would have made the development of a life bearing planet impossible.
Pick up some interesting science concepts and facts while seeing how unlikely it
is that we would be here at all!
ISBN Number: 0387987010
Campbell, David G.
(1992). The Crystal Desert: Summers in Antarctica
Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
This is truly an enchanting book,
a visit to Antarctica with a knowledgeable and thoughtful guide.
Dr Campbell obviously loves this challenging land and its life forms,
and he describes them vividly. He reveals the secrets of the adaptations of the plants and animals,
and chronicles their life cycles. He knows the history of the continent, of the
explorers who travelled to it, and of the commercial exploitation that followed.
This book is a joy to read, and gives a vivid picture of an ecosystem that seems simple because it supports few species, yet reveals an amazing variety of ingenious adaptations.
ISBN Number: 69-x0-395-589
Stephen L. (1996) World Building: A
Writer's Guide to Constructing Star Systems
and Life Supporting Planets. Cincinnati,
Ohio. Writer's Digest Books.
is a 'must-have' book. Dr Gillett
has included and explained what we
need to know about planet construction:
the astronomy, the geology, and the
meteorology, and how the choices that
we make in those areas will affect
the possibilities for living organisms
on our planets. This is an interesting book
with High School Level and above Math.
We do need some mathematical formulas,
and they are included, boxed off and
explained, with diagrams. (If math
frightens you, you can take on the
formulas one at a time.) He defines
words that will come up in further
reading, and discusses the earth at
various times in its history. He discusses
the other planets in our solar system
and includes a wealth of fascinating
detail. You can order this one by
ISBN Number: 0-89879-707-1
van Rose. Susanna. (1994) The Earth
Atlas. New York, New York: Dorling
is a good one. It is an illustrated
book on geology, showing many pictures
that explain the terms and show the
sequential development of various
kinds of rocks and mountains, how
rivers change over time, and how erosion
works. It is full of information,
and the illustrations will give you
inspiration, too, for your own planet.
I bought this one! I think you will
enjoy it. too!
ISBN Number: 1-56458-626X
95 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10016 Cost: $19.95
Mahlon, Dodson,Bert, Hauck, Judith & Judy Hauck. (1995) Exploring the Way Life Works: The Science of Biology
New York, New York: Times
Books (A Division of Random House).
you are even a little bit intimidated
by organic chemistry, this book is for
you. Excellent, playful illustrations
and clear writing explain basic concepts
that world builders need to understand.
Seven chapters address patterns, energy,
information, machinery, feedback, community,
and evolution. There's a lot of information
here, presented in ways that will make
you smile. You will enjoy this book!
ISBN Number: 076371688X
See also a companion book: The Way Life Works: The Science Lover's
Guide to How Life Grows, Develops, Reproduces and Gets Along ISBN: 0812928881
E.O. and Dan L. Perlman. (2000) Conserving
Earth's BioDiversity with E.O. Wilson. Island
Press. Covelo, CA.
CD-ROM: Mac and Windows
"must have" resource for your
classroom. Excellent information and
presentation, very accessible and easily
navigated. You and your students will
love it and learn from it.
ISBN Number: 1-55963-773-0
Cost: around $40.00,
Teacher"s Edition: ISBN 1-55963-774-9
are some good books available. The Time-Life
series on science is very good, well
illustrated and described. If you are
just starting in some area, you may
find books with illustrations and drawings
helpful. I do. Sometimes a book intended
for children can be a really good introduction
to an unfamiliar field. Trying to learn
new vocabulary and new concepts together
can be discouraging. Pick up ideas and
basic vocabulary words in an easy format:
then when you take on more difficult
writing, you will feel comfortable.
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