Dylan Evans in The Guardian:
It all started with Stephen Hawking, whose first popular book, A Brief History of Time, hit the bookshops in 1988. Very soon, others (myself included) jumped on the bandwagon, and popular science soon gained its own section in many bookshops.
With the boom, inevitably, there came a torrent of rubbish. The stylistic innovations of the trendsetters soon became, in the hands of the disciples, stale recipes, recycled over and over in formulaic and uninspiring ways. Even the titles began to seem repetitive: The Panda’s Thumb, Galileo’s Finger, Einstein’s Brain … What a pity nobody had the chutzpah to write a book about Newton’s penis.
A decade and a half later, there are signs that the popular science boom is running out of steam.