Before the Swarm (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition
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It takes an insightful writer to capture this essence, Nicholas Griffin stays in the background and extracts the juice.
Officially Moffett is after evidence that "ants form superorganisms -colonies that effectively function as a single body." But in reality, "Ants are melodrama. You can take a box of dirt with a colony in it and stare for two weeks, until you know the ins and out of their society"
"The fact that ant society is generally dictated by hierarchy and specialization" comments Griffin, "makes it more attractive toa man who can't seem to stand either one"
Moffett, an iconoclast is a media star figure, enraging the Academia. The Universities , says Moffett, (including Harvard, who doesn't pay him a cent anymore) are "filled with nervous people". Yet he is a living proof of Charles Darwin saying that "general and popular Treatises are almost as important for the progress of science as original work".
Moffett has never taken a class in entomology. He had a lifetime problem with authority "I don't like exams. I don't like giving exams. I don't like meetings."
I recently wrote about the mathematics of miracles The story of that Mr. Griffin tells us is a history of miracles. Extraordinary miracles wake us up to the fact that all of life, down to the minute details, is one big miracle.
I must say that I do not regret my mistake. The story is fascinating and interestingly told by Nicholas Griffin writer living in New York..
And what made me glad, there are many links to books and articles containing more detailed knowledge about such topics as organization of different ant colonies, their mutual relations and, last but not least, so called super colonies - ants organizations with planetary reach and
Moffetts most interesting discovery (or rather should I say -hypotese?).
So if you are interested to know more about what happens in the grass plain under our feets, read it.
As a Literary Journalism major at the University of California, Irvine I've read and critiqued a lot of articles, books, and short pieces through the past four years. As you know, it is generally pretty easy to critique another persons work, and point out their flaws and where they could have improved. In my classes I've had a lot of experience where almost unanimously students find flaws in pieces by some of the most prestigious journalists, even on award winning pieces.
That being said, when our teacher gave us seven links to various kindle singles to read, and assigned us to pick one to download, I knew without even downloading your piece that I would like it. It wasn't the subject matter that sold me (I know nothing of ants), nor was it your subject (this was the first I've heard of him), what sold me was the short bio of you on amazon.com. Specifically the line: "Nicholas Griffin is the author of four novels and one work of nonfiction". When I read that you have previously written four novels and one nonfiction, I had a feeling that you could potentially be a master of the art of narrative nonfiction, combining fiction writing techniques with nonfiction content. Seeing that you have written novels before persuaded me to read your piece, since I knew that a piece as full and dense with research would not be boring, since you have previously mastered the effect of writing with a storyline, and would know of all the novelistic techniques used while writing a nonfiction piece.
After I read your piece, I found that I was indeed right, and through your exuberance and passion for the story I was able to find a previously unexciting topic extremely interesting.
In other pieces I've read, I have found that a lot of times journalists have a hard time balancing a narrative and a story with facts and research. It is hard for me to read pieces that have a paragraph of narrative, followed by five paragraphs of facts and research. I think that finding a balance is extremely important, and is something that you probably took into consideration while writing about ants and Mark Moffett. I think you paint a really good picture of Moffett in the piece, and show the readers his quirky character, as well as giving background to his subject of study, using the ants to build on his character and give insight to both him, and society as a whole.
I also really like the fact that you posted this piece as a kindle single. Long form journalism is being forced to move out of tradition forms that we have known for many years, and I think sites like Kindle and Byliner and Atavist really are the future for Literary Journalists such as ourselves. I think Kindle can improves their singles by adding a better description of the piece before the reader buys it, because that's what has stopped me from reading other pieces, solely because I haven't had enough information, and I don't want to waste a dollar on a piece that is different from what I thought it was. Luckily, your piece had a pretty good overview, which is another reason why I picked it, but I think it could be very beneficial for both your and Amazon's sales if a description by the author is added to the site, as well as the short "product description".