This is a fantastic book that I recommend to all posthumanities scholars, insect folk, and anybody interested in having their ideas of the microcosmos shaken up and repoliticised in all sorts of provocative ways. The text is very Benjaminian, at turns poetic and funny, but constellating into a radical rethink of non-human worlds. Its a book to keep delving into, being surprised by and thinking with.
I am afraid I did not read the whole of this book as it was written by an author who did not understand his subject. In one chapter on insect dispersal he cited an old text which suggested that the death of a lot of the insects was "for the good of the species". Although "for the good of the species" sounds good and is trotted out a lot it is wrong. Individual animals and plants do what is good for them. If they help a member of their family it is because they expect help from that individual in the future. They do not do what is "for the good of the species" by laying down their life as it does not help them. Selfishness rules.
In a later chapter he follows a lady who has carried out a lot of sketches of the Drosophila fly downwind of Chernobyl after its disastrous accident. She sketched a lot of eye mutations and then tried to sell that as evidence that it was because of the effects of Chernobyl. The author slated scientists as they did not accept this as evidence. The problem is that is was not evidence. There was no "control" where this means a similar study in a none effected area. Drosophila can breed like rabbits and if a few are not up to scratch it does little to reduce the parents success as they produce lots. You have to provide a study that shows what happens to the flies 1) with Chernobyl and 2) without Chernobyl before it can be used as evidence.
I stopped reading there as it was like reading a book about supermarkets written by someone who had never actually been shopping.
A truly amazing book. I had no particular interest in insects until I started reading it. very well written, very entertaining ,and full of amazing information. Did any of you know that one of the main sports in Shanghai is cricket fighting( and I don't mean test match squabbles).? A rare gem.