Few creatures are as universally despised as flies. Blamed for pestilence and plagues, they were publicly excommunicated from the medieval church. Beelzebub, “the lord of the flies,” was said to be the embodiment of evil, and, for centuries, flies were considered the result of spontaneous generation—the unnatural consequence of rotting meat.
Fly explores the history of this much-maligned creature and then turns to examine its newfound redemption through science. The secrets of the fly’s versatile powers of flight, Steven Connor reveals, are only beginning to be understood and appreciated. Its eyes and wings, for instance, have evolved so perfectly that they provide inspiration for some of today’s most daring technological and scientific innovations. And the humble fruit fly, Connor demonstrates, stands at the center of revolutionary advances in genetic research.
Connor delights in tracking his lowly subject through myth, literature, poetry, painting, film, and biology. Humans live in close and intimate quarters with flies, but Fly is the first book to give these common creatures their due.