September 11, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

And you thought Los Angeles was crawling with glamorous movie stars — ha. Snakes, more like it: Real snakes, along with fires, riots, floods, killer bees, rats, droughts, earthquakes (of course), and the occasional tornado — all have conspired to make this steaming megalopolis the apocalyptic destination of choice. One trembles at the thoroughness with which Davis has sussed out the troubled topography. Mountain lions prowl the canyons, lured by unwitting campers’ potato chips! Rich people hunker down behind their privet hedges while the masses loot roach spray! And yet his trenchant map of apocalyptic pulp lit may be even more humbling. Ecology of Fear is an exquisitely attuned piece of class and racial radar. A

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