THE FATE OF THE EARTH, by Jonathan Schell. Despite Eliot's famous phrase, the world may end with a bang and a whimper. In this book--already one of the most talked about of the year--Jonathan Schell gathers and synthesizes our hitherto fragmented knowledge about the effects of nuclear war. The prospects are not cheery. Indeed, there is every likelihood that, unless steps are taken, mankind will become extinct. The interlocking consequences of mass destruction, radiation poisoning, and agricultural ruin; the breakdown of supply-lines, services, and health care; genetic mutation, losses in the ozone buffer, and psychological trauma--all these will transform every place on earth into a no-man's land of death and dying. And so Goetterdammerung, Ragnarok, Armageddon--that last battle, feared throughout the world's history--will have come to pass. Unless we act sensibly and soon. (Book World, April 18)

THE CELEBRATED, by Ivan Angelo. In this novel, intricately structured and employing all the modernist techniques, Brazilian writer Angelo conveys the trauma, uncertainty, and horror of life under an authoritarian government. A party for writers, artists, and left-wingers becomes the occasion for political repression, when all the guests are implicated in a train station riot and rounded up by the Department of Political and Social Order. And you thought Georgetown police were mean! Here is fiction for the reader who likes Puig, Infante, Fuentes and Garcia Marquez--and who does not? (Book World, April 4)

THE COLLECTED STORIES OF ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER. Those who may have put off discovering Singer now have the opportunity to mend their ways--and to discover stories that seamlessly weave folk tales, rabbinical lore, and the universal aspirations for love, security, power and transcendence. In short, the joy of all created things, a joy that is the recurrent subject of this particular singer's song. The classics are all here: "Gimpel the Fool," "The Spinoza of Market Street," some four dozen altogether. (Book World, March 28)