Mother Nature Is Trying to Kill You

Mother Nature Is Trying to Kill You

A Lively Tour Through the Dark Side of the Natural World

Book - 2014
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A fun exploration of the darker side of the natural world reveals the fascinating, weird, often perverted ways that Mother Nature fends only for herself.

It may be a wonderful world, but as Dan Riskin (cohost of Discovery Canada's Daily Planet ) explains, it's also a dangerous, disturbing, and disgusting one. At every turn, it seems, living things are trying to eat us, poison us, use our bodies as their homes, or have us spread their eggs. In Mother Nature Is Trying to Kill You , Riskin is our guide through the natural world at its most gloriously ruthless.

Using the seven deadly sins as a road map, Riskin offers dozens of jaw-dropping examples that illuminate how brutal nature can truly be. From slothful worms that hide in your body for up to thirty years to wrathful snails with poisonous harpoons that can kill you in less than five minutes to lustful ducks that have orgasms faster than you can blink, these fascinating accounts reveal the candid truth about "gentle" Mother Nature's true colors.

Riskin's passion for the strange and his enthusiastic expertise bring Earth's most fascinating flora and fauna into vivid focus. Through his adventures-- which include sliding on his back through a thick soup of bat guano just to get face-to-face with a vampire bat, befriending a parasitic maggot that has taken root on his head, and coming to grips with having offspring of his own--Riskin makes unexpected discoveries not just about the world all around us but also about the ways this brutal world has shaped us as humans and what our responsibilities are to this terrible, wonderful planet we call home.
Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Simon & Schuster, 2014.
ISBN: 9781476707549
Branch Call Number: 591.53 Ris
Characteristics: vii, 260 pages


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Jul 06, 2019

This is a hilarious romp through the gross, weird and down right horrifying ways Mother Nature is not a sweet loving thing. From necrophiliac frogs to zombie making wasps, this book is full of horrible and awesome stories!

Vilka Mar 09, 2018

Quick and entertaining read in conversational language, arguing against the popular romantic notion that anything that is 'natural' is automatically 'good' and humans should model their lives and choices on what is 'natural', by relating some of the unpleasant, gruesome, or even self-destructive things that different species do in nature--with the enthusiasm of a scientist who appreciates how cool these things are. Chapters are divided into stories that reflect the Seven Deadly Sins to illustrate the silliness of attributing human concepts of morality to the natural world. If you are put off by the author's description of living things as 'meat puppets' whose actions are controlled by their DNA's drive to spread, stay with it until the final chapter where, after an illuminating conversation with a colleague, he makes a rousing speech about how we as humans have the ability to think and act beyond our DNA's 'agenda' to work for a greater good--however unnatural that is.

Feb 03, 2017

This is a great book for those that don't want the all nature is wonderful side of life. There are so many animals in this book that I looked up on Google just to see what they looked like that I spent much of my time cross referencing just what the book was saying. It is not a hard book to read and it is very entertaining. The author divides it up into 7 parts for the seven deadly sins, and equates animals to them. He also interjects some of his own life and experiences with bats and nature into how different animals try to propagate their own DNA. I thought it was a great book and everyone who wants to learn about nature should read this.

Oct 29, 2016

If you believe people are simply 'meat puppets' controlled by their DNA, then this is the book for you. If not, move on...

Dec 07, 2015

Back to nature. Just like nature intended. Natural. These and other phrases sound so good, so wholesome. After reading this book, you will know the truth… nature wants you dead. It is nothing personal. Nature just wants to test your DNA. The stakes are high and the contest is brutal.
This fascinating and entertaining read is organized around the Seven Deadly Sins. Readers will learn about many odd and interesting creatures and their novel adaptations to win the battle of the fittest. Humans, too, are entered in the battle of the “meat robots” and are subject to the rules of combat. Learn about fruit-eating fish, vegetarian spiders, slugs that photosynthesize and plants that adjust their chemical defenses based on the creature eating them or more remarkably their neighbor.
If reading a book like this is too much, you might want to grab the CD. Dr. Riskin also happens to host a show on Animal Planet and his reading of his book is quite lively. Whichever format you choose, when done, you likely won’t look at the natural world the same way again. (TG)

May 11, 2015

Interesting but I found it lacking content and not completely novel in most areas.

Feb 05, 2015

It's an interesting book, but not one I'd read again or would recommend to a friend. Don't get me wrong I loved the gag-worthy stories that made my skin crawl but I found it to be very anticlimactic... The grossness which gripped me and kept me reading obsessively in the beginning soon fades and after a while I was struggling to keep my eyes open. It became boring and predictable. To be honest, and I hate to admit this for I've never been one to leave a single chapter unread, I returned this book with still two chapters to go. It's a cool concept for a book though.

Jan 11, 2015

Very interesting facts, stories and anecdotes, but using the seven deadly sins as the underlying structure is a very poor and "unnatural" choice; after all nature acts blindly and does not sin!

Jul 26, 2014


Mar 31, 2014

A very entertaining book. Some passages are literally laugh-out-loud funny. Very informative as well as Riskin talks about a number of species unfamiliar to anyone other than biologists. It's also a great argument for an appreciation of the natural world as it really is, not the Disneyfied version of popular culture. That said, as the Publisher's Weekly review mentioned, some of the writing is sophomoric (maybe it's aimed at young adults as well as adults?) & the references to physical bodies as 'meat robots' wears thin as does Riskin's constant references to his wife & baby. (You love your wife & kid, OK, Dan, we get it.) A fun read, though, overall.

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