E.O. Wilson, "Trailhead"

What happens to the colony when the queen dies.

(from The New Yorker, Jan. 25, 2010)

At first, there was no overt sign that her long life was ending: no fever, no spasms, no farewells. She simply sat on the floor of the royal chamber and died. As in life, her body was prone and immobile, her legs and antennae relaxed. Her stillness alone failed to give warning to her daughters that a catastrophe had occurred for all of them.

Even though this is a story about ant, and it seems to get into ant psychology, assigning motives and such, I can’t help but think this would work as a piece of creative non-fiction. My assumption is that at the heart of this spectacular little epic (one almost entirely lacking when it comes to individual characters) is pure science based on hardcore entomology. (The secret life of insects is a fascinating topic, and one I tried to put onto paper myself once.) And I’m right, the author is an actual biologist and a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning writer. That is a double threat.
You should read this story, so here.

2 thoughts on “E.O. Wilson, "Trailhead"

  1. Anonymous

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  2. escarp

    E.O. Wilson is fabulous. His book, “The Diversity of Life” is more approachable and engaging than a fair number of purposefully literary texts. Will definitely put this on the to-read list!


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