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A Natural History

Susanne Wedlich Ayca Turkoglu



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03 January 2022
Slime is an ambiguous thing. It exists somewhere between a solid and liquid. It inspires revulsion even while it compels our fascination. It is a both a vehicle for pathogens and the strongest weapon in our immune system. Most of us know little about it and yet it is the substance on which our world turns. Slime exists at the interfaces of all things: between the different organs and layers in our bodies, and between the earth, water, and air in the environment. It is often produced in the fatal encounter between predator and prey, and it is a vital presence in the reproductive embrace between female and male.

In this ground-breaking and fascinating book, Susanne Wedlich leads us on a scientific journey through the 3 billion year history of slime, from the part it played in the evolution of life on this planet to the way it might feature in the post-human future. She also explores the cultural and emotional significance of slime, from its starring role in the horror genre to its subtle influence on Art Nouveau. Slime is what connects Patricia Highsmith's fondness for snails, John Steinbeck's aversion to hagfish, and Emperor Hirohito's passion for jellyfish, as well as the curious mating practices of underwater gastropods and the miraculous functioning of the human gut. Written with authority, wit and eloquence, Slime brings this most nebulous and neglected of substances to life.
Translated by:  
Imprint:   Granta
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 23mm
Weight:   541g
ISBN:   9781783786701
ISBN 10:   1783786701
Pages:   336
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  Professional and scholarly ,  General/trade ,  ELT Advanced ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Susanne Wedlich studied biology and political science in Munich and has worked as a writer in Boston and Singapore. She is currently a freelance science journalist for Der Spiegel, National Geographic and Spektrum der Wissenschaft. She lives in Munich. Ayca Turkoglu is a literary translator from German and Turkish. She lives in North London.

Reviews for Slime: A Natural History

An enjoyably icky guide * Telegraph * Remarkable... [Wedlich] takes delight in the ooze, revels in the squidge, and brings it together in admirably well-organised form to create a rollicking read -- Cal Flyn * Prospect * Rich and strange... a deft cultural history of the idea of slime as well as an up-to-the-minute exegesis of its science * Daily Telegraph * Packed with disarming facts... Wedlich is a modest and understated guide * Spectator * [A] revolutionary reading of slime: this magical, necessary and yet disgusting substance is a cultural artefact... Thanks to Ayca Turkoglu's smooth, almost poetic translation, this innovative book shows us that, with the right guidance, it is quite possible to find wonder in this mesmeric substance -- Kate Simpson * TLS * Susanne Wedlich is your smart and genial guide through the curious realms of natural goop, how we think of it, treat it and need it. An illuminating and eloquent story of slime, it will leave you appreciating in whole new ways the sticky stuff that covers our world, inside and out -- Helen Scales, marine biologist and author of The Brilliant Abyss

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