Joe Haldeman: Worlds Apart; Vikings Press; New York.

It’s widely reported that in the event of a nuclear holocaust, the highly adaptive life form known by the sobriquet “cockroach” will inherit the remains. Joe Haldeman, in this science fiction sludge, posits a variation on this theme: the order Blattaria, in 2085, will include bipedal crea­tures that are now part of the Homo sapiens species. Not only will these noxious bugs have all of the qualities of the present-day roaches, but they will also have libidos that can be characterized by a Shakespearean epithet, “Goats and monkeys!” As the heroine of the tale says at one point, “What I do with my plumbing is my own business,” and the polygamous lass is not referring to matters of pipes and wrenches. Haldeman’s vision of progress is, quite clearly, regressive.