To call David Quammen a nature writer seems somehow inadequate.
Yes, he's a whiz at crafting crisp, clear prose about the secret world of spoonworms and busting popular myths about dinosaurs and all that, but his essays go well beyond the usual Discovery Channel enthusiasms.
His inquiries into man's relationship with the natural world take us to unexpected places, from the sometimes illogical politics of science policy to the fate of the universe to why we care so much about dolphins but don't give a damn about what happens to the yellowfin tuna.
A Rhodes Scholar who moved to Montana in the 1970s, Quammen wrote the "Natural Acts" monthly column in Outside magazine for more than a decade in between novels and other magazine projects. Along with essay collections such as Wild Thoughts From Wild Places, his recent biography of Darwin has won wide acclaim. He's currently working on a book about species-jumping pathogens, including bird flu and Ebola, that promises to be as frightening as it is illuminating.
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Quammen lectures tonight at Colorado College's Cornerstone Arts Center in Colorado Springs at 7 pm; admission is free. Click here for more details.