Lots to relay in this issue of Friday’s Elk, including news on two books. So let’s dig in!

I’ve written a new edition of A Planet of Viruses, which has just come out. It has the same micro-format of the original edition a decade ago: twelve essays on twelve of my favorite viruses. But I’ve updated it throughout with new scientific research. Most significantly, I’ve written a chapter on Covid-19, drawing on my reporting for The New York Times over the past year.

The book also has a new look, courtesy of an old friend. When I turned ten, my family moved to the rural fringe of western New Jersey, where I didn’t know a soul. Someone told my parents that a kid like me who was always writing stories and drawing comic strips should meet another ten-year old there named Ian Schoenherr, who drew pictures of Willy Wonka and such. We’ve been friends ever since. Ian has gone on to illustrate a long string of books, while I’ve been writing others. This is the first time he has illustrated a book of mine, and I couldn’t be more pleased. You can order the third edition here.

Life’s Edge: Podcasts and More

This weekend, the New York Times Book Review put Life’s Edge on the cover, with a review from Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of Emperor of All Maladies and The Gene. It’s a career first for me, so I’m inexpressibly grateful.

The Washington Post reviewed Life’s Edge as wellwriting, “The pleasures of Life’s Edge derive from its willingness to sit with the ambiguities it introduces, instead of pretending to conclusively transform the senseless into the sensible.” 

I also had an hour-long conversation with Meghna Chakrabarti, host of National Public Radio’s On Point. Listen here. Pamela Paul, the editor of the New York Times Book Reviewhosted me on her podcast as well.

You can order the book here.

Not Missing My Shot

After writing for months about the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, it’s weirdly elating to get their messenger RNA pumped in my shoulder. Looking forward to full immunization in mid-May. 

That’s all for now. Stay safe!

You can find information and ordering links for my fourteen books here. You can also follow me on TwitterFacebookGoodreads, and LinkedIn. If someone forwarded this email to you, you can subscribe to it here.

Best wishes, Carl

Originally published April 3, 2021. Copyright 2021 Carl Zimmer.

This is a quick note to draw your attention to a piece I’ve just published that I’m very proud to share. Tomorrow’s Sunday Review in the New York Times features a long essay I adapted from my new book Life’s Edge. It’s called “The Secret Life of a Coronavirus.”

In my essay, I touch on a couple of the big questions in my book: what does it take to be alive, and what are we to make of the things that don’t quite meet our requirements? Our current pandemic is the work of one such hard case. Continue reading “Friday’s Elk, February 27, 2021”

Life Finding A Way

On a snowy February afternoon almost exactly a year ago, I took my final pre-pandemic road trip. I drove to Albany, where I met a pair of wildlife biologists named Carl Herzog and Katelyn Ritzko. Together we traveled on into the Adirondacks, stopping at the end of a road in the woods. Getting out of the car, we hiked a snow-covered trail until we reached a half-frozen stream. There we stopped to suit up in neoprene chest waders. We put on helmets, switched on headlamps, and stepped into the stream to make our way into a flooded graphite mine. 

“Tripping and falling is the biggest threat,” Herzog said as the darkness closed around us. “You don’t ever want to touch the ceiling.”

Continue reading “Friday’s Elk, February 19, 2021”