Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Bob Lorentson’s You Only Go Extinct Once is a satirical and humorous look at the evolution of pretty much all forms of life on Earth. He begins with the prospects and risks of reviving extinct species through gene editing, particularly focusing on the woolly mammoth. He deliberates on the challenges like habitat, diet, and social behaviors of resurrected creatures. Lorentson examines swaths of topics, from animal vulnerabilities to lightning strikes, hallucinogenic substance consumption among different species, historical events like the Irish potato famine, and animal deception strategies. Lorentson also fills readers in on Will Cuppy’s satirical works and personal struggles, and probes scientific explorations concerning microbial makeup, health consequences, Doomsday Prepping culture, pickleball’s rise, and societal impacts, wrapping up with diverse subjects such as rock balancing, brain function, sound bathing, human evolution controversies, and humanity’s environmental footprint.
While You Only Go Extinct Once has a lot to make a reader laugh. Bob Lorentson surprised me a bit by actually teaching me a thing or two. Or, more accurately, dozens of things. I think most people with even a tiny social media presence will be able to recognize the American phenomenon of garage sitting, where people “with perfectly good houses and perfectly good TVs plunk down in a folding chair in the opening of their garage and watch the world go by.” I had a good chuckle at Lorentson's comparing it to cavemen sitting at their rocky abode's entrance. Lorentson does an excellent job of employing a conversational and engaging tone throughout the book, frequently avoiding the taking of a staunch side and, instead, presenting various perspectives. Take, for example, his balanced approach to acknowledging the skepticism of Neanderthal deniers while subtly advocating for acceptance. Overall, this is a funny, insightful, and really well-compiled series of thoughts, and I have no doubt others will feel the same. Very highly recommended.