That is a ladybug, up close.
It is not my best photo but I wanted to post it. Why, you ask?
We think of ladybugs like they’re these cute little buggie-wuggies — and at a distance, they are. Toodling along, munching on aphids (this guy is in fact slurping up the last remains of an aphid — basically, licking his plate clean).
But look at that face.
LOOK AT THAT FACE.
JESUS GOD IN HEAVEN WHAT THE HELL, LADYBUG
And then I thought, you know what that ladybug looks like?
Snaggletooth, from Star Wars.
No, really, look.
Maybe it’s just me.
Anyway, ladybugs are super-helpful, and cute at a distance, until you look close, and then they’re a Snaggletoothed shit-show. Thus endeth the lesson, I guess?
Let’s see. Let’s bring some Invasive news, speaking of buggies.
I am told the book is selling well, and even sold out in a few stores, but of course I won’t know the reality of the book’s sales until June of 2024, or thereabouts.
One review on Amazon is titled: “Put on your shittin’ pants.” So, there’s that.
Wendig does an impeccable job blending fact and fiction as he describes invasive species and insects being used as biological weapons. This is a propulsive tale that also examines our interaction with — and manipulation of — the natural world.
…compelling, well-written, and the science (mostly about the curious habits of ants) is wholly plausible, even for folks who follow the works of E.O. Wilson. If you don’t have time to read it, expect to see it on the big screen — although reading about creepy-crawly killer ants is probably easier than watching them swarm.
(Though I’d much prefer you read it instead of waiting for the totally-not-inevitable film.)
It’s no secret that I love Chuck Wendig’s books. He’s the kind of author that no matter what he writes I’ll consume it sight unseen because I know it’ll be entertaining. He writes in a style all his own, one full of intensity and fervor, like repeated shots of adrenaline. Invasive plays extensively in Michael Crichton’s sandbox, and fans of the Jurassic Park series and The Andromeda Strain will have a lot of fun here. Prepare yourself for an awful lot of Stephen King-esque body horror, not to mention the strong scent of The X-Files.
The consultant is the lead of the story, the one who the others depend on for survival. In other words, this character is the Chris Pratt-style lead.
But in Invasive, a woman is the lead.
She’s Hannah Stander and, unlike most leads in big action movies (or even action-adventure books), she’s given a great deal of complexity. Hannah has created a specialty and a unique career for herself but she also suffers from sometimes crippling anxiety attacks. In a nice change from the usual, Hanna’s anxiety isn’t due so much to trauma as the long-term influence of her parents, paranoid survivalists. In a way, she’s chosen to believe in the future as a rebellion against her upbringing.
In short, Hannah is confident, complex and the hero of her own story.
It’s a combination I’ve rarely seen outside of romance novels. Usually, if there’s a woman in an action-adventure thriller, she’s the girlfriend or the stereotypical badass among the guys. Wendig’s tense, action-packed book treats Hannah like a full person, not a cliché.
In news unrelated to bugs, hey, I got my first Rolling Stone byline! Holy crap, who let that happen? I wrote a short thing about the sublimely boring space tourism of No Man’s Sky, a game I’m loving despite it’s many flaws. Check it out here.
And then back to the bugs for one more moment —
Reminder I’ll be at Main Point Books on 9/10, and Let’s Play Books in 9/22, and maaaaaybe I’ll be hanging with Fran Wilde on 9/27 in Rittenhouse Square, Philly, at the B&N there — details on that event incoming soon.
Don’t forget, the Invasive photo contest is ongoing — you’ve got a week left. Take a picture of the book. Send it to me. Maybe win some stuff. Do it now or I will send the ants to your house.
*shakes ant jar*
You can nab Invasive here: