Tag Archives: bestiary

Book Review #8

2 Jun

GonodactylusHB’s Note: Since this is a book review, I would like to sell some books. My wife and I are moving back to the States this summer, and I would like to unload as many of my tomes as I can before leaving. I’ll have an inventory soon. If anyone is looking for Law-, Korea-, or International Relations-themed books, both fiction and non-fiction, comment at the end of this post, or email me at josephjsteinberg@gmail.com.

If you find the prospect of encountering a Lucihormetica luckae (via SGU #411) scary but just a little awe-inspiring, you would find Caspar Henderson‘s The Book of Barely Imaginary Beings utterly rapturous. A thousand authors could probably recreate Henderson’s bestiary, itself a tribute to Jorge Luis BorgesBook of Imagined Beings, and put only a small dent in humanity’s ignorance of the worlds around them. It’s not a Disney experience.

In The Book of Barely Imagined Beings Caspar Henderson tells us that “for much of human history attempts to understand and define ourselves have been closely linked to how we see and represent other animals.” Bestiaries are not just classical or medieval works, but part of a tradition that stretches back to the cave paintings of Lascaux and Chauvet, art that is painstakingly accurate as well as possessed of great symbolic power. Inspired by Jorge Luis Borges’s Book of Imaginary Beings, he asked himself if it would be possible to create a modern bestiary that was populated not by fabled animals, but by real ones. In his introduction he observes that we have so little knowledge of most of them that, for the most part, we have “barely imagined them”.

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Today’s Kindle Sample #1

24 Jan

Pez PolloThis book – a stab at a bestiary for the Anthroposcene – in which all animals are real, evolving and in many cases threatened with imminent extinction – asks what we should value, why we fail to value and how we may change.

(via The Book of Barely Imagined Beings: A 21st Century Bestiary by Caspar Henderson)

…investigate anything… Zebrafish have recently been made to grow ‘pre-hands’ instead of fins.

And, Henderson is on Little Atoms.

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