Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog (“access to tools”) captured the ethos of the ’60s counterculture, arguably anticipating the internet. Brand’s current excursion into “de-extinction” is far less widely accepted as a paradigm for how the human species might thrive, or merely survive, its own destructiveness — but it comes from the same protean personality. In We Are As Gods the phenomenon of Brand — technologist, environmentalist, culture maven — emerges as a lifeforce, a God, in a way, as he works to bring the woolly mammoth, the passenger pigeon and the American chestnut back from extinction. This project, Brand imagines, can lead to the restoration of the planet, putting the most advanced biological technology at the service of nature by reestablishing keystone species, even arresting climate change. Perhaps God is indeed an intellectual gadfly, a hacker and a merry prankster inspired by LSD; and creation is the providence of mad, fearless, nonconforming, irrepressible genius.