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Strange Survivors: How Organisms Attack and Defend in the Game of Life Audio CD – Unabridged, February 27, 2018
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About the Author
Eric Jason Martin is a producer, director, and voice performer based in Los Angeles. He is the AudioFile Earphones and Audie Award-winning narrator of over 200 audiobooks, including works by Kurt Vonnegut, David Foster Wallace, Karin Slaughter, and Lee Child.
- Publisher : HighBridge Audio; Unabridged edition (February 27, 2018)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1684412986
- ISBN-13 : 978-1684412983
- Item Weight : 6.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 6.4 x 1.1 x 5.3 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #7,389,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Top reviews from the United States
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The format is easy to read, even down to the font size (not too small). There are many side notes that don't distract too much, yet provide some very interesting diversions to break up the chapters. I even like the texture of the cover (a matte finish that's a bit grippy and it doesn't smudge easily).
This book is very approachable for the completely non-technical reader who has at least a passing interest in nature (say, the "Discovery Channel" audience). Do you have a teen who has a burgeoning interest in biology but finds their school textbook dry and dull? Please buy them this book. There is a good chance they will ask for more.
I read most of this book on a plane flight, and it was difficult for me to resist the urge to turn to the traveler next to me and ask "Did you know...?" But I'm not a chatty person, and in any case it didn't appear that he spoke much English.
I seek out and read many popular (and technical) science books, and I can think of many other topics that I would love to see addressed in this author's congenial writing style.
Pagan's enthusiasm for all things biological is contagious - he gets giddy about the intricacies of evolution and throws in subtle puns wherever and whenever possible.
Apart from the broad strokes of evolution and the science of survival, there are some real life examples which was what I was hoping for when picking up this book - electric eels, mantis shrimp, toxic snails and... AND.... did anyone else know that slow lorises were venomous and have caused human fatalities?!
The generous use of citations and footnotes in this book are going to be an excellent introduction for science undergrads of the future! If you want to learn about the 'why' and 'how' of survival strategies, as well as the 'what', this is the perfect choice.
*thank you NetGalley for a free copy of this book*
Strange Survivors is an excellent example of this genre I've just invented, this time focusing on how predators predate and how prey escapes. Each chapter is themed around a particular method: producing or detecting electricity, toxins and venoms, speed (less cheetahs and falcons and more the nanoseconds it takes a jellyfish to sting or the bullet-like force delivered by a mantis shrimp as it smashes a shell), and cooperation (such as slime molds banding together to form a larger organism or bees killing much larger hornets by swarming them). Pagan delivers a huge array of excellently weird biology. I don't want to turn this review into a long list of examples, so I'll restrain myself to just one, my favorite new fact: did you know that there is a genus of spiders that spit their webs at their victims, and the webs themselves contain venom!?!? If you, like me, think spitting spiders armed with sticky-venom-nets is a super cool fact, Strange Survivors is the book for you.
I do have some minor critiques. It's a fairly short book (170 pages of text), made shorter by the fact that Pagan chooses to spend the first two chapters on the basics of evolution and DNA. These chapters are well-written, but I think most of the potential audience for a book like this already has a general understanding of those topics and just wants to get to the weird biology facts. Certainly I did! Pagan also has perhaps a bit too much fondness for exclamation points, but overall I enjoyed his enthusiastic and conversational style.
I read this as an ARC via NetGalley.
Top reviews from other countries
The book was on the short side, which I think is a disservice to both the contents and the authors natural proclivity for writing. The <200 page count was teeming with information, sprinkled copiously with quirky footnotes and pop-culture references, but I could happily have sifted through another 300 pages. This is amended somewhat by a vibrant bibliography that has kept me amused for weeks.
Regardless of your experience with biology or science, if you're here and interested I would gladly recommend this book. I would also recommend pre-ordering Drunk Flies and Stoned Dolphins, which looks to be another intriguing and humour-rich book.