Life on Planet Earth is not weirder than we imagine. It’s weirder than we are capable of imagining. And we’re all in it together: humans, blue whales, rats, birds of paradise, ridiculous numbers of beetles, molluscs the size of a bus, bdelloid rotifers who haven’t had sex for millions of years and creatures called water bears: you can boil them, freeze them and fire them off into space without killing them.
We’re all part of the animal kingdom, appearing in what Darwin called “endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful”. In this breathtakingly audacious book, Simon Barnes has brought us all together, seeking not what separates us but what unites us.
He takes us white water rafting through the entire animal kingdom in a book that brings in deep layers of arcane knowledge, the works of Darwin and James Joyce, Barnes’ own don’t-try-this-at-home adventures in the wild, David Attenborough and Sherlock Holmes. Ten Million Aliens opens your eyes to the real marvels of the planet we live on.
“One of the most compulsively readable, astoundingly compendious and endlessly thrilling natural histories ever written...This is a book that I will treasure for ever.”
“Ten Million Aliens will open your eyes to the animal world.”
“This is more than just a book about animals, though. Running through it are musings on everything from morality to taxonomy, anthropocentrism to art, and it's everywhere enriched by the author's curious, magpie mind, one that weaves in not just Darwin but James Joyce, Gerard Manley Hopkins and even Harry Potter. The result is a work that simulatenously demonstrates the sheer diversity, the alien otherness, of the animal kingdom, and puts us firmly in the same room: at the same table, in fact. ”
Simon Barnes is the multi-award-winning chief sportswriter for The Times. He is also a novelist, nature writer and horseman, and the bestselling author of a dozen books, including How to be a Bad Birdwatcher and The Meaning of Sport (Short Books). He lives in Suffolk with his family.