Inspired by the end of the millennium, celebrated science writer Paul Halpern tackles the fate of human civilization and our planet in this meditation on the end of the world. Beginning with the religious origins of the idea of apocalypse, Halpern shows how science has borrowed the metaphor to describe potential worldwide catastrophes. He spins out various scenarios for destruction, from nuclear war and global warming to a great flood and a new Ice Age. He argues that while human history will someday come to a close-even if we survived for billions of years, we would eventually face the end of the universe itself-in the meantime we have gained extraordinary control over our fate as a species. Faced with the power to steer our planet toward paradise or transform it into hell, he says, we must take steps to avoid those catalysts of apocalypse that are within our control.