Underbug: An Obsessive Tale of Termites and Technology,by Lisa Margonelli
Are we more like termites than we ever imagined?
In Underbug Lisa Margonelli introduces us to the enigmatic creatures that collectively outweigh human beings ten to one and consume $40 billion worth of valuable stuff annually - and yet, in Margonelli’s telling, seem weirdly familiar.
Over the course of a decade-long obsession with the little bugs, Margonelli pokes around termite mounds and high-tech research facilities, closely watching biologists, roboticists, and geneticists.
Her globe-trotting journey veers into uncharted territory, from evolutionary theory to Edwardian science literature to the military industrial complex. What begins as a natural history of the termite becomes a personal exploration of the unnatural future we’re building, with darker observations on power, technology, historical trauma, and the limits of human cognition.
“A timely, thought-provoking exploration of what it means to be human, as much as what it means to be termite, and a penetrating look at the moral challenges of our ongoing technological revolution.” - New York Times
“Margonelli uses her ‘obsessive’ termite tale to open wider discussions about everything from the evolution of superorganisms to the morality of military drones. Her work represents science writing at its most enjoyable and informative best.” - Booklist