In 1996 I had just turned thirty. If you had told me at the time that parasites were about to become an integral part of my life for years to come, I would have said, “Oh, look at the time! I’ve got to go feed my hyrax!” and headed for the nearest restroom to scrub my hands.
But it would have been true. I just had finished my first book, and I was wondering what to write next. I had a couple vague ideas I bounced around with my agent over lunch. How about an exploration of the intersection of biology and philosophy? A blank look. How about a book about parasites? Boom: my agent sat up.
That decision led me to some interesting places: rebel-held territory in southern Sudan, a Costa Rican jungle, a salt marsh in California, and the official United States Parasite Collection. And not too long afterwards, I finished writing Parasite Rex.
The book has thrived ever since. Recently, my publisher decided to put out a new paperback edition, to celebrate the ten year anniversary of the original paperback. I’ve written an epilogue for the new edition, in which I reflect on the experience of writing–and living with–the book. It made blind dates a bit awkward, to say the least, but it also gave me a piece of tapeworm eternity: Anthrobothrium zimmeri.
This is the first time I’ve had a reissued book come out, so I’m thinking of ways to mark the occasion. (If anybody is inspired to invite me on their radio show, you know where to find me!)
Here’s one plan I have. If you’d like me to autograph the new edition, follow these steps:
1. Buy a copy.
2. Email me a picture of yourself with the new edition (it’s got “with a new epilogue” in red at the bottom).
3. I’ll reply to your email and we’ll make arrangements to send you an autographed book plate. (You’ll need to cover the cost of the plate and postage; I still have to figure out the cost, but I assume it should be in the neighborhood of $1.)
Here’s one mock-up I’ve been playing around with. Any other suggestions?
[Update: Buy link fixed.]