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June 2004

Bug Fiction

Angels and Insects by A. S. Byatt

Angels and Insects
A. S. Byatt
In “Morpho Eugenia,” the first of two novellas in this sophisticated work of historical fiction, a Victorian entomologist is taken up by his wife’s family in a way that parallels the insect social structures he studies.

Ender’s Game
Orson Scott Card
Attack by bug-like aliens turns Earth into a war zone, and Ender Wiggin is one of the young children recruited to battle school to save humanity—but at what cost?

Confessing a Murder
Nicholas Drayson
An obsessed entomologist’s search for the mythical golden scarab leaves him stranded on a tropical island. He describes the fateful events that led him there, including a quarrel with his friend Charles Darwin over natural selection.

Pest Control
Bill Fitzhugh
An idealistic exterminator accidentally becomes a mob hitman in this comic first novel. When he becomes an assassination target himself, he has armies of insects to back him up.

The Cockroaches of Stay More
Donald Harington
This clever and entertaining satire is told from the point of view of the cockroaches occupying an almost-deserted Arkansas village. Harington spoofs literature, sex, class, religion, the atom bomb, and other human foibles in this insect story.

The Snowfly
Joseph Heywood
A fisherman pursues a worldwide quest to find the mythical snowfly, the ultimate lure for trout. The quest shapes his life in unexpected ways.

The Metamorphosis
Franz Kafka
In this classic short story of human alienation, meek Gregor Samsa awakens to find himself turned into a giant insect.

The Secret Life of Bees
Sue Monk Kidd
Bee lore is just one of the many things young Lily Owen learns from a trio of eccentric sisters the summer of 1964, as she searches for the truth about her mother and confronts the racism of her Southern town.

Prodigal Summer
Barbara Kingsolver
Kingsolver’s valentine to the Appalachian countryside intertwines three love stories with an environmentalist message. A widowed entomologist is one of the characters through whom Kingsolver explores the fragile web of human and ecological relationships.

The Life of Insects
Viktor Pelevin
Pelevin satirizes life in post-Soviet Russia in this artful tale where the familiar citizens trying to get by are also, somehow, insects.

Stanley Schmidt
In this enjoyably old-fashioned science fiction novel, three people realize that a plague of tiny insects is really a nanotechnological alien invasion—but will anyone listen to them?

At Winter’s End
Robert Silverberg
After a cataclysm that destroys civilization just as the dinosaurs were destroyed, a tribe of ape-like beings emerges to take up the mantle of long-ago humanity—but so do rival beings, including an insect race.