Well before films, music, photography, and all manner of other idle pursuits took over, I found nothing more fascinating than the insects that crawl beneath my feet. When people stepped on ants – “accidentally” or with the foulest of blood-boilingly malicious intent – I yelled at them to stop (which, coming from an 8-year-old who was more often than not a wall-flower, would’ve at least surprised them). When I found my legs covered in jumping jacks on a camping trip at around the same time, my first instinct wasn’t to scream, but laugh (then scream). Books full of enlarged photos of ants fascinated me, imagining what it would be like if either I were their size or they were mine. This week’s Outside-in cinema film – Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind – then, unsurprisingly, is giving me a few decent flutters of deja-vu. And so, at least in part, I shall be departing from the Arts Collection for this blog entry to satisfy my inner child.

Searching for books on peculiar flying insects, I wound up at The birder’s bug book,  an interesting approach to entomology by way of ornithology. Parallels between Nausicaä’s central theme of inter-species conflict and co-habitation underpins this text, written in a style more fitting for holiday adventures than academic rigour.

Harvard University Press, 1998

Another tome that covered the ever bizarre plethora of the smaller (even if they sometimes seem much larger in recollection) citizens of this planet, put in the context of the other peculiarities existing alongside them, is probably the most alluring title of my find for this week: Of kinkajous, capybaras, horned beetles, seladangs, and the oddest and most wonderful mammals, insects, birds, and plants of our world.

HarperCollins, 1991

Drifting back to my present area of subject speciality, I then came upon this  lovely collection of watercolours of the homes of insects (and birds… again). Mentions of the level to which contemporary architecture has drawn from such creatures home-making habits is proof enough of the fodder for such speculative fiction as that shown this week. (How many sci-fi films can one think of that include human hives, for example?)

University of Chicago Press, 2008

Finally, though, I have to share this gem – a book ENTIRELY devoted to experimental, hyper-enlarged photography of wasps. Yeah… that’s the stuff.

powerHouse Books, 2003

This will be the last Outside-in cinema screening for the year.

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